The Steelheads faced a disappointing loss this past weekend against the Williams Lake Stampeders in the first game of the SMP Cup final, however it’s not dampening their spirits as they prepare to take on the Stampeders at home in only a few short days.
At the first step on to the ‘fish tank’ bus, the Steelheads were feeling loose and ready for the task at hand. After a team meal and warm up session at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Center the Steelheads came out flying, a technique that has found them sound success this season.
Exploding out of the gate, they quickly took dominance over Stampeder territory early in the game. However, this was a much different game than the Steelheads have been use to lately. So far in the playoffs the Steelheads have been blowing the competition out of the water though with the Stampeders it’s turning into a different story. Both teams are skilled and have the drive to win, so it will be a gritty battle to the end.
The first period was scoreless. Each team found numerous chances but neither team could finish. Smithers netminder Mike Wall, and Williams Lake goaltender Justin Foote were outstanding, rejecting 43 and 35 shots respectively.
Crushing hits and flaring tempers made this by far the best game of the season so far.
The second period had a bit of a slow start for the Steelheads, who were trapped behind the blue line for most of the period which lead to a Stampeder goal at 5:49 into the second.
“They’re out there communicating with each other really well,” said head coach Tom DeVries during the second intermission. “They’re staying positive and very excited for the third period so hopefully good things will happen and we’ll get a goal.”
Despite the fact that they didn’t achieve that this game they are very optimistic about the next two games at home.
Toward the end of the game tensions were running high, as the Steelheads pulled Wall in the dying seconds of the game to try and break one through. Coming up short the Steelheads lost their first game of the 2011-2012 season 1-0, ending their unbeaten streak and posting a 22-1 record by the end of the game.
“We got unlucky in a few places. We played really well, we’re not down on ourselves for the way we played, not like last year when we stunk the building,” assistant caption Ryan DeVries told The Interior News.
“We feel good, it’s best of three for a reason and we feel we out played them for the most part and we’re feeling confident coming home and taking two in a row in our own barn.”