The Smithers Steelheads have moved on to the final round of CIHL playoffs after dominating the Kitimat Ice Demons 5-1 Saturday night.
They now face off against the Williams Lake Stampeders in the championship final.
As has been in the case in most of the Steelheads’ playoff games so far, special teams played a big role in the team’s success.
The Ice Demons spent more time in the penalty box in this contest and it cost them as the Steelheads scored three of their five goals on the powerplay.
Steelhead forward Lane Perry played a big role in ushering the Ice Demons to the penalty box as his in-your-face style seemed to get under the Kitimat player’s skin.
“Not too many teams that we play against like me,” Perry said.
“I’m always in the way.
“It’s not how I approach the game but that’s how it turns out.
“I’m a competitive guy and I like to get in their faces and play with emotion.”
Despite controlling much of the play throughout the opening minutes of the first and having a number of solid scoring chances, Kitimat opened up the scoring with a powerplay goal of their own at 11:28 of the first period.
The lead held throughout the period, but Smithers outshot the Ice Demons badly in the first 17-4.
“We came out hard and they were kind of flat and never really came around,” Randall Groot said.
At about three minutes into the second period, just off a too-many-men penalty, Adam DeVries scored on a fast break off feed from Darryl Young and Ian Smith to tie the game at one.
The Steelheads never looked back after the tying goal.
About four minutes later, Randall Groot took a couple of whacks at the puck while sitting on the Kitimat doorstep to get one past the goalie to make it 2-1.
At 3:34 left in the second, Darryl Young fired in a one-timer off a feed from Ryan DeVries to increase the lead to two goals and with just 51 seconds remaining in the period, Adam DeVries netted one to make it 4-1 heading in to the final period.
After two, the Steelheads outshot the Ice Demons 31-10.
In the third, Smithers kept the pressure on but played more of a defensive-minded game to maintain their lead.
With only 18 seconds in the game, Randall Groot scored his second of the contest to carry the Steelheads on to a 5-1 victory.
“We’re playing the best hockey we have been all year,” Groot said.
Game one of the SMP Cup final goes Saturday night in Williams Lake.
To find success in the final, Perry said the team has to stay out of the penalty box, but still play tough.