The line of Greg Nickel, Jassi Sangha and Tyrel Lucas combined for 16 points Saturday, leading the Williams Lake Stampeders to a 9-6 home-ice win over the Lac La Hache Tomahawks in its Central Interior Hockey League season opener.
On a night when close to 800 fans packed into the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex — many travelling from Lac La Hache to watch the game — Williams Lake held it together facing pressure, protecting a 6-2 lead heading into the third period long enough to thwart a late Tomahawks surge.
Nickel lit the lamp three times and chipped in three assists to cap off a six-point performance in his first ever CIHL game, while Sangha setup five markers of his own and added a goal midway through the first period. Lucas, meanwhile, recorded a hat trick and assisted on Nickel’s first goal.
Also scoring for Williams Lake in the win were Nathan Zurak (1-1-2) and Jose Reyes (1-0-1).
For the Tomahawks it was Wade Balbirnie leading the charge with two goals and an assist, while Kevin McNab (2-0-2), Drew Rose (1-1-2) and Wilfred Robbins (1-2-3) provided offense in the losing effort.
The Stampeders peppered Lac La Hache netminder Willie Sellars with 41 shots on goal in Saturday’s contest. At the other end of the rink Williams Lake goaltender Justin Foote saw 38 shots fired on net.
The Tomahawks opened Saturday’s game scoring two goals on its first three shots before Williams Lake took control notching six unanswered goals through 40 minutes of play. The Tomahawks stormed back in the third period, but ran out of time in the losing effort.
In total, 68 minutes in penalties were recorded in the contest — 29 minutes for Lac La Hache and 39 minutes for Williams Lake.
In other action around the CIHL the Kitimat Ice Demons opened its season with two wins at home. The Ice Demons doubled the Terrace River Kings 6-3 on Saturday before thumping the Quesnel Kangaroos 7-3 on Sunday.
The Stampeders continue its season this weekend, Oct. 12-13, on the road for a two-game set against the Terrace River Kings.
For a complete Williams Lake Stampeders season schedule visit the newly-designed www.wlstampeders.com.