Stamps take game one of semifinal

The Williams Lake Stampeders will look to close out its best-of-three Central Interior Hockey League East Division semifinal Saturday night in the lakecity against the Burns Lake Braves.

The Williams Lake Stampeders will look to close out its best-of-three Central Interior Hockey League East Division semifinal Saturday night in the lakecity against the Burns Lake Braves.

Williams Lake took game one of the series this past Saturday in Burns Lake, 6-5, in a penalty-riddled affair.

The two teams tallied a combined one hour and 27 seconds of penalties in the contest (29:13 for Williams Lake and 31:14 for Burns Lake), while three Stampeders and two Braves received game misconducts for fighting.

Penalties appeared to dictate the score early on, also, as first-period penalty trouble allowed Williams Lake to jump out to a first-period 3-1 lead. David Wilejto (1-3-4) opened the scoring for the Braves four minutes into the frame, beating Stamps goalie Justin Foote, before Nathan Zurak (1-1-2) put the Stamps on the board on a shorthanded marker.

From there, Williams Lake’s Jeff Gagnon (1-1-2) gave his club the lead, before Francis Johnson (2-0-2) put his club up 3-1 on the power play heading into the second frame.

Burns Lake clawed back to within one 2:16 into the second when Matt Matus (1-0-1) added another power play marker. Late in the period Williams Lake’s Christopher Bohlin (1-0-1) lit the lamp to restore the Stamps two-goal lead heading into the third period.

By the end of the second Burns Lake’s Rylan Stanyer and Daniel Konkin, and Williams Lake’s Jared Kohlen, Matt Lees and Jason Wright had all been ejected from the game with fighting misconducts.

Tempers calmed down in the third period where just two Williams Lake minor penalties were assessed.

Striking first were the Braves, however, when Steve Wilejto (1-1-2) capitalized on the power play to make it 4-3.

From there, Paul Girodat (1-0-1) and Johnson scored less than two minutes apart to give the Stamps a 6-3 lead.

Burns Lake would apply pressure for the remainder of the contest, lighting the lamp twice near the midway point of the frame, with goals from Guillaume Pelletier (1-1-2) and Josh Weber (1-0-1), but fell just short of sending the game to overtime.

Foote stopped 38 of 43 shots in the win for Williams Lake, while Wes Hart turned aside 41 of 47 shots in the losing effort for the Braves.

The other East Division semifinal saw the Smithers Steelheads take a 1-0 series lead over the Houston Luckies Saturday after a 3-0 win.

In the West Division semifinals the Prince Rupert Rampage snatched up game one, 9-5, from the Hazelton Wolverines, while the Kitimat Ice Demons beat the Terrace River Kings, 5-3.

Williams Lake will meet the Braves for game two this Saturday, Jan. 29 at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex. Game time is 7:30 p.m. If necessary, game three will go Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in Williams Lake.