With their screaming fans behind them, in a foreign rink, the Smithers Steelheads finally hoisted the Coy Cup high over their heads in a stunning 3-1 victory over the Kitimat Ice Demons.
Coming off the most successful regular season in franchise history, the Steelheads will also be adding another championship banner to the Civic Center rafters after traveling to the Tamitik Arena in Kitimat for the five-day tournament.
Now, forever marking their names in the chapters of Senior Mens AA provincial hockey.
“Coming here to play top-notch hockey and we never lost a game, it’s fantastic. The guys were excited all week,” said Steelheads head coach Tom DeVries.
“It’s not easy to win here. When you get to the final games, it’s just not easy. Even when we’re ahead 3-0, and then they score one, panic starts to come into your mind.
“They’ve always had a good team but never won, so it’s pretty exciting for them.”
After fighting tooth and nail in the first period, Steelheads forward Matt Arnold came up with the first goal of the night in the final minutes of the period. Then as they continued to put the pressure on, Mitch Pederson, at the buzzer, fired another one in to make it 2-0 heading into the second.
Half way though the second a third goal from Smithers seemed to have the Ice Demons on the run. However, early in the third the Ice Demons didn’t give up the fight in front of Mike Wall and finally pushed one home to make it 3-1. Though their efforts were futile. By the end the Steelheads had a strong grip on the Coy Cup and they weren’t about to let it slip away.
The Steelheads finished the regular season with a perfect 18-0 record.
They then continued on to complete the post season with a 24-1 record after winning the SMP Cup for another first.
This heavy momentum carried them to Kitimat, where, after three hard fought periods of hockey, came out on top as champions. A status that has been nine years in the making.
“This is my fourth year on the team, we finally got the monkey off our back,” said Randell Groot. “We’ve been exited in the second round of the playoffs every time. This year, you know we handily went through with Terrace and then had a good three game series against Williams Lake, so that gave us confidence.
“The playoffs really meant nothing.
“Everyone’s on the same level come day one here and we were fortunate enough to get up to a first, convincing win over Quesnel and we took it from there. We came back and showed some character and beat Kitimat. We got the bye and then we did it again with a 3-1 win I think we did it pretty convincingly.”