The Hazelton Wolverines will be going into Prince Rupert this weekend one game down in their three-game playoff series.
In a hard fought battle at the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre (USRC) Saturday night the Rampage edged the home team 3-2.
The first period saw only one goal by the Rampage’s Mitch Truefit. That would be matched by the Wolverines’ in a fight-ridden second period by Rob Raju.
The frame saw several fights ensue for a total of 66 minutes in penalties including three 10-minute misconduct penalties.
The period would also see all of the rest of the scoring in the game, although neither team managed to connect on the power play despite there being eight of them.
Truefit put the Rampage back on top at 7:19, followed just 21 seconds later by Judd Repole to add to the lead.
The Wolverine’s Drew Rose brought the home team back to within one late in the period assisted by Gary Gladue and Tyson Ghostkeeper, but that was the end of the scoring.
In addition to being scoreless, the third period was also penalty-free.
The arena was packed to the rafters and to its maximum seating capacity of 500 on Saturday night. Member of Parliament for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, Taylor Bachrach was among the enthusiastic fans.
Hazelton head coach Al Tolmie said the team has not played together regularly since 2012 and are thrilled to be in the playoffs.
John Olson from Sik-E-Dahk, waving a “Go Wolverines” sign with his daughter Eden Rose, couldn’t remember the last time a CIJL playoff game was held in Hazelton.
Game two and three (if necessary) of the playoffs will be in Prince Rupert next weekend.
Elsewhere in the CIHL, Kitimat defeated Smithers Friday night in Kitimat to tie up the last playoff spot. The celebration was short-lived however as they were soundly defeated 5-2 the following night by the first place Terrace River Kings.
In the East Division final, the home team Quesnel Kangaroos beat the Williams Lake Stampeders to take a 1-0 lead in their best of three series.
Files from Christine Añoneuvo