Williams Lake Stampeders give fans a Friday night barn burner

Young Williams Lake Stampeders fans reach out in hopes of a fist bump as players return to the ice after a break. The Stamps battled the Quesnel Kangaroos in Round Two of the CIHL playoffs March 4. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Young Williams Lake Stampeders fans reach out in hopes of a fist bump as players return to the ice after a break. The Stamps battled the Quesnel Kangaroos in Round Two of the CIHL playoffs March 4. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
The Williams Lake Stampeders battle the Quesnel Kangaroos in Round Two of the CIHL playoffs March 4. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)The Williams Lake Stampeders battle the Quesnel Kangaroos in Round Two of the CIHL playoffs March 4. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake Stampeders goalie Ryan Balbirnie stays calm under pressure during Round Two of the CIHL playoffs March 4 against the Quesnel Kangaroos. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Williams Lake Stampeders goalie Ryan Balbirnie stays calm under pressure during Round Two of the CIHL playoffs March 4 against the Quesnel Kangaroos. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
The Williams Lake Stampeders battle the Quesnel Kangaroos in Round Two of the CIHL playoffs March 4. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)The Williams Lake Stampeders battle the Quesnel Kangaroos in Round Two of the CIHL playoffs March 4. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake Stampeders goalie Willie Sellars gives away T-shirts to fans while his team is in the dressing room between periods during the CIHL playoffs March 4 in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Williams Lake Stampeders goalie Willie Sellars gives away T-shirts to fans while his team is in the dressing room between periods during the CIHL playoffs March 4 in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
The Williams Lake Stampeders battle the Quesnel Kangaroos in Round Two of the CIHL playoffs March 4. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)The Williams Lake Stampeders battle the Quesnel Kangaroos in Round Two of the CIHL playoffs March 4. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

The feeling in rink one was electric Friday night as the Williams Lake Stampeders took to the ice for game one of a best-of-three, round two CIHL series versus the Quesnel Kangaroos.

With a cheering section from Quesnel, and the rest of the 668-person crowd at Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex comprised of loud, dedicated Stamps fans, the night was exactly what everyone needed after two years of COVID restrictions.

The Stamps did not disappoint, playing a physical, back-and-forth game with lots of heart.

Even with an outstanding effort from goaltender Ryan Balbirnie, who took 47 shots on net, the Kangaroos proved to be a tough match for the Stamps, losing 7-5 after pulling the goalie in the final seconds.

The Roos would ultimately finish off the series on home ice Saturday night at the West Fraser Centre in a 6-1 rout.

“We had hard-fought battles,” said Stamps general manager Cody Tent after the Saturday night game.

“Just couldn’t really put the puck in the net tonight [Saturday], so it ended a little earlier than we’d like it to. The game last night in Williams Lake was a nice barn burner-type game, and that’s what we expected coming in against these guys because they’re a good hockey team.”

With files from Rebecca Dyok

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