In a battle of the Central Interior Hockey League’s top-two titans, the Williams Lake Stampeders marched away the victors Saturday night over the Prince Rupert Rampage.
The tightly-contested affair saw both teams deadlocked at 3-3 at the end of the second, before Williams Lake pulled up a pair of goals, then added two empty-net markers, in a 7-4 win.
“It was just a really good game,” said Williams Lake Stampeders general manager Mike Yonkman. “It was a hard-fought game both ways and we just kind of outlasted them. They played hard, and so did we.”
Heading into Saturday night’s clash at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, both teams sat atop the CIHL standings with 6-1 records.
With the win, Williams Lake now moves into sole possession of first place in the CIHL standings.
“It was a tough last few minutes of the game,” said Prince Rupert Rampage head coach Roger Atchison. “We were in a pretty good battle there and then the wheels kind of just fell off for us. We were getting frustrated and couldn’t score, and we were pressing, and then they got a couple good bounces and that’s the way she went.”
Williams Lake got on the board first when Justin Bond — one of Saturday night’s featured players alongside his brother, Kurtis, who were greeting fans and signing autographs following the game — lit the lamp just three minutes into the contest. After the goal, fans littered the ice with toques and toys on what was the Stamps’ Toque and Toy Toss Night, with proceeds from the event going to the Boys and Girls Club of Williams Lake and District.
Justin Bond and Kurtis Bond, Saturday’s featured players, sit down for a first-intermission interview
Prince Rupert would notch two unanswered goals from Judd Repole and Koltin Chasse to take a 2-1 second period lead, before Justin added his second of the night with just under six minutes remaining in the period to tie the game at 2-2. From there, Cole Morris would give the Rampage a 3-2 lead, before Colten DeFrais sent the Stamps into the third and final period with a 3-3 tie.
Stamps’ Colten DeFrais ties the game at 3-3
Scoring at even strength in the third period for the Stamps were Danny Merth and Richard MacDonald, while DeFrais and Kurtis tallied empty netters for Williams Lake.
Stampeders’ netminder Willie Sellars picked up the win between the pipes for the hometown side.
Williams Lake now has a 7-1 record on the season and sits two points up on the Rampage (6-2), however, while the Stamps have Sunday off, Prince Rupert plays in Quesnel against the CIHL’s third-place Kangaroos.
“We’ve had some good games so far this season,” Yonkman added of how competitive the league has been. “This was a good night, and we’ve also been competitive with Quesnel and Terrace, so it’s been a really good year.”
Williams Lake’s next action is against the Kangaroos in Quesnel on Saturday, Nov. 24.