The Williams Lake Stampeders are one win away from a berth in the Central Interior Hockey League final.
The local senior men’s hockey club scored five unanswered goals Saturday night in Quesnel in the third period to notch a 9-5 come-from-behind win over the Quesnel Kangaroos in game one of the second-round playoff series.
Williams Lake trailed 5-4 heading into the third period before Williams Lake’s Matt Lees tied the game, potting his third goal of a four-goal, five-point night.
Just over six minutes later Gilbert Robbins would light the lamp for the game winner before Lees, Nathan Zurak and Stuart Sasges twisted the dagger deeper on a frazzled Quesnel squad.
In total, the Kangaroos piled up 20 penalty minutes in the contest — doubling their opponents’ penalty minute total. Williams Lake Stampeders general manager Don Hanson said penalties and special teams were the difference.
“It was a good game on both sides, really,” Hanson said. “They started getting chippy, though, and started taking too many penalties and that was it for them. It was close until the third and then we kind of ran away with it.”
Shots in the game favoured Williams Lake, who outshot the Kangaroos 30 to 23.
Williams Lake’s Justin Foote backstopped the win for the lakecity club, while Ryan Manderson was handed the loss for the ‘Roos.
Scoring for Quesnel were Paul Girodat (2), Justin Grouette, Justin Fulton and Rigby Burgart.
At the game on Saturday, more than 1,000 fans attended. Hanson said he would love to see the same support from the community in Williams Lake this weekend when the Kangaroos visit for game two and, possibly, game three.
“They have super crowds up there,” he said. “We’d love to get it packed [here]. We go up there and they’ve got 1,000 people hooting and hollering at us. They’re drawing 1,000 plus and we’re getting 300.”
The series is scheduled to resume next weekend in Williams Lake for game two of the best of three series at the Cariboo Memorial Complex. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Game three, if necessary, goes Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the Cariboo Memorial Complex.
In addition to the normal ticket sales time the Stampeders will be selling tickets in advance for the game on Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex ticket booth.