Tensions ran high against the Steelheads and the River Kings with a total of 68 penalty minutes handed out to the teams on Saturday.

Steelheads stop River Kings comeback

The Smithers Steelheads defeated the Terrace River Kings 5-3 in the team’s home opener last weekend.

The Smithers Steelheads defeated the Terrace River Kings 5-3 as tensions ran high between the rivals in the team’s home opener last weekend.

The Steelheads came out strong scoring three goals in the first.

Defenceman Ian Smith, who played his first game of the season, opened the scoring at the 12 minute mark. Cole Hassel added to his point tally, scoring with a pass from Brady Taekema and Anthony Shepherd, while forward Brendan DeVries netted another just 44 seconds after at 10:02.

“Everybody did really well. We got some key goals early in the game,” said head coach Tom DeVries. “They were putting the pressure on, they had a few power plays early. It was a really good game.”

Smith stepped up with several big hits in the first, setting the tone early.

“I was just trying to get involved and get in the play and a hit or goal gets you into the game pretty quick,” said Smith.

In the second, tensions were high as a line brawl broke out in the Steelheads’ end with Randall Groot, Devon Hayhurst, and Kyle Thibeault receiving five-minute penalties and game misconducts.

With a minute left in the second, Cole Hasell received a roughing penalty resulting in a five-on-three power play for the River Kings.

They capitalized with 10 seconds left on the clock with Josh Murray squeezing one past netminder David Little.

In the third, the River Kings piled on two more at the 14:53 and 3:09 marks. But it was DeVries’ empty netter and third of the night that sealed the deal.

Saturday night’s hat trick was DeVries’ second in as many games.

The rookie credits his success to good old fashioned luck.

“Playing hard and shooting the puck when I have my chances. I have lots of good luck,” he said.

In this third start, Little also had a solid performance stopping 42 of 45 shots on goal, while River Kings goaltender Patrick Leal saw less action with 26 shots.

“What I’ve seen — the difference last night from the first two games, is an improvement big time. I’m impressed,” said DeVries.

It was a heated game between the Northwest rivals with a total of 35 penalty minutes dolled out to the Steelheads and 33 minutes to the River Kings.

But DeVries said it’s all part of the game.

“There’s always [tension on the ice], but it’s a good rivalry between Smithers and Terrace,” he said.

The next game is Saturday, Nov. 8 against the River Kings in Terrace.