A second round classic against the rival Terrace River Kings will start Saturday in Terrace after the Smithers Steelheads won both games against first round challenger Kitimat.
Smithers slayed the Ice Demons 6-2 Saturday at home to cap the series.
The Steelheads built a 4-0 lead less than a minute into the second period. But before the team could call it a night and start making Super Bowl plans, Kitimat made a game of it and threatened to force a deciding game three on Sunday.
A pair of goals, including a power play goal with 27 seconds left in the second period and the Steelheads’ second-leading scorer Adam DeVries out with a game misconduct for checking from behind, put the Ice Demons within two heading into the third.
Smithers had to kill a penalty early in the third before potting two more to give themselves some breathing room and letting the defence and goalie David Little do the rest. But they did have a couple breakaways shorthanded in the game.
“We killed that off and got the next two goals, which was just a relief because they were kind of itching at us. Any lucky goal can get in there and anything can happen then,” said head coach Tom DeVries outside a relieved home team dressing room.
Taking care of Kitimat in two games was important for a lot of the players, according to the coach.
“All the players like that because everybody wants to watch the Superbowl,” laughed DeVries.
The next opponent is the rival Terrace River Kings. The Steelheads will head to Terrace to open round two on Saturday.
“We always have great battles with Terrace,” said DeVries.
Terrace got to the second round by dispatching the Prince Rupert Rampage in two straight.
Terrace and Smithers had the top two defences in the Central Interior Hockey League during the regular season. Both only allowed 48 goals in 16 seasons.
“As a team you always want to improve defensively but, in general, we’ll just keep the ball going and hope for luck,” said the coach.
The Steelheads will continue rotating goalies and start Keano Wilson for game one.
Game two is back in Smithers.