Stamps take game one of east final

The Williams Lake Stampeders will look to close out its best-of-three Central Interior Hockey League East Division final against the Smithers Steelheads next weekend in Smithers.

Williams Lake Stampeders goaltender Justin Foote positions himself for a shot from Smithers Steelheads’ forward Darryl Young during game one of the Central Interior Hockey League East Division final Saturday night in Williams Lake. The Stampeders won 8-4 and will play to close out the best-of-three series next weekend in Smithers.

Williams Lake Stampeders goaltender Justin Foote positions himself for a shot from Smithers Steelheads’ forward Darryl Young during game one of the Central Interior Hockey League East Division final Saturday night in Williams Lake. The Stampeders won 8-4 and will play to close out the best-of-three series next weekend in Smithers.

The Williams Lake Stampeders will look to close out its best-of-three Central Interior Hockey League East Division final against the Smithers Steelheads next weekend in Smithers.

The Stampeders came out on the winning end of an 8-4 contest in the lakecity Saturday night in game one, using an early 6-1 lead to take the wind out of the Steelheads’ sails.

Despite being outshot 36-26, Stampeders’ head coach Kelly Kohlen said his club did a good job of capitalizing on Smithers’ mistakes and putting pucks in the net.

“We were going to the net,” Kohlen said. “He [Smithers’ netminder Jamie Deba] was putting out rebounds and we were capitalizing on it. They out-played us that first part of the first period but we out-chanced them and capitalized on their mistakes.”

Deba made five saves on 10 shots before being pulled near the five-minute mark of the second period, when backup Tyler Perreault entered the game in relief.

Deba’s counterpart, Justin Foote, was solid — stopping 32 of 36 shots on the night.

“Justin played well,” Kohlen said. “He kept the pucks out when he had to.”

Williams Lake opened the scoring just 36 seconds into match as Stuart Sasges put his club on the board.

Smithers answered back just under three minutes later when Randall Groot put a hard slap shot from the slot past Foote.

From there, however, Jeff Gagnon and Curtis Gassoff each lit the lamp for Williams Lake to make it 3-1 heading into the break.

In the second, Williams Lake continued to build on its lead.

First, Glen Camille made it 4-1, before Gagnon potted his second of the night and Francis Johnson netted a breakaway goal to give his team a commanding 6-1 lead going into the final frame.

The Steelheads weren’t about to lie down, however, as the visiting club showed flashes of its first-place regular season form in the third period.

Ryan Devries found the twine for the third period’s first goal, picking up a loose puck that had deflected off a skate to slip one past Foote.

Five minutes later, Jason Wright extended the Stampeders’ lead back to five goals, before Darryl Young and Eric Smith each tallied markers to put the Steelheads behind 7-4 with just under eight minutes remaining.

Matt Lees added an empty-net goal for the Stamps to round out the scoring in the contest.

Game two of the series will be played next Saturday in Smithers, where Kohlen said his club hopes to close out the series and advance to the CIHL playoff final.

“Wednesday night we’re going to practice on the smaller ice surface here because that’s what they have up there,” Kohlen said. “We’ve played up there, we know what they’re like. One thing we need to try to do is concentrate on getting a few more shots on goal.

“If we stick to our game plan of shooting the puck and going after rebounds we’ll be successful.”

Game three of the series, if necessary, will be played Sunday afternoon in Smithers.