Terrace River Kings are shooting into round two of playoffs against Smithers this Saturday, Feb. 13, after a solidly conquering Prince Rupert Rampage 7-2 last weekend, Feb. 6.
They played a very strong, aggressive, and physical game, said coach Rob Findlay.
Prince Rupert led into the game with the first goal a few minutes into the first period.
The period continued with lots of back and forth, and six penalties on either side.
But the River Kings took the game in the second, dominating the ice and landing five goals.
First was scored by Josh Murray, and then the Kings landed two nearly back to back – first by Liam Albright and the Ben Reinbolt on power play.
Towards the end of the second, Brett Donnie topped it off with two more.
In the third period, Tristan Murray landed the sixth goal for the Kings just over a minute in. Halfway through, Ben Reinbolt scored the seventh and final goal for the Kings. The Rampage kept up their play and made a final goal two minutes later, and the game ended on a 7-2 win for the Kings.
Findlay said the River Kings dominated because they put it all on the line.
“They outworked them, they outshot them. I think what made the difference was the work ethic, and putting their bodies on the line. They were really being aggressive, being the first guy to the puck all the time,” Findlay said.
“They wanted to win. They REALLY wanted to win.”
The other key that earned the Kings their win was goaltending from the Kings’ Patrick Leal.
“Patty played really well… He made some key saves to keep the momentum going,” Findlay said.
The win, combined with the first 5-2 win against Prince Rupert on Jan. 30, finished off the first best-of-three playoff series.
The River Kings are now launching into the second round of playoffs against Smithers, who beat Kitimat Ice Demons 9-4 and 6-2.
The first game is in the Terrace Sportsplex at 8 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 13. The second game is in Smithers at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20, and if there is a third game it will be 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, in Smithers.
Findlay says it will be tough series, and the key for the River Kings is playing all-out like they have been doing in playoffs so far.
“Take every shift as your last shift and give it all out there,” Findlay said of what the River Kings need to do this Saturday.
The Smithers strength is scoring, with a couple of players at the top of the league for goals scored.
“They’ve got a more talented team, but I believe if we work as hard as we did in these last two games, we should do just fine,” Findlay said.
“Their goal tending is good, but I don’t think it’s as good as ours. It’s kind of an offset: they’ve got better scorers, our goaltending will be better.”
The winner of this best-of-three game series will face off against the top team of the eastern division, either Williams Lake Stampeders or Quesnel Kangaroos, who are battling it out over the next two weeks.