The Williams Lake Stampeders blasted themselves into the top spot of the Central Interior Hockey League East Division after picking up a pair of wins against divisional opponents Friday and Saturday.
Friday, the always tough Quesnel Kangaroos rolled into town, only to be stopped dead in their tracks by a 6-1 thumping from the Stamps.
Francis Johnson (2-0-2) led the way with two goals, including a shorthanded marker in the third period, while Andrew Fisher (1-1-2), Nathan Zurak (1-2-3) and Jassi Sangha (1-3-4) also contributed on the scoreboard. Stamps netminder Justin Foote turned aside 33 of 34 shots in the winning effort, while Ryan Manderson was handed the loss for Quesnel.
Williams Lake general manager Kelly Kohlen said the team did a good job of playing a disciplined game, despite a handful of penalties near the end of the third period.
“When we stay out of their style of hockey we always seem to come out ahead,” Kohlen said. “They tried to get us in the last three minutes there but the buys were disciplined.”
The following night Williams Lake travelled to Lac La Hache to take on the Tomawhawks who, up until Williams Lake’s Friday night win, were tied with the Stampeders for first place in the East Division.
A few injuries in Friday’s game against Quesnel left Williams Lake with just a 14-man roster in Lac La Hache Saturday. That said, Williams Lake was able to squeak out a 6-4 road win over the Tomahawks.
“We managed to beat them, and we had the right players,” Kelly said. “It was a good game. Lac La Hache played well.”
Nathan had a five-point night potting a goal and adding four assists, propelling him into the top spot in the CIHL scoring race with 13 goals and 11 assists for 24 points in 12 games. Both Jassi Sangha and Ryan Conlin added a pair of goals versus the Tomahawks, while David Gore added a single. Scoring for the Tomahawks were Kevin McNab, Robin Gilbert, Wade Balbirnie and Drew Rose. Both goaltenders were sharp, with Foote and Tomahawk’s netminder Willie Sellars each stopping 30 shots.
“Ryan Conlin played really well scoring the two goals, and that line with Jassi, Dave Gore and Mike Kohlen was good, too,” Kelly said.
With the pair of wins Williams Lake improves to 8-3-1 while the Tomahawks at 6-5-1, sit four points back of the Stamps in second. The Kangaroos, at 4-6-1, occupy the last spot in the East Division.