The Smithers Steelheads are four games into an undefeated season, after wins at home at the Smithers Civic Centre Arena over the past two weekends.
Two weeks ago, on the Sunday of the Thanksgiving weekend, the Steelheads played in what looked like shooting practice against the Lac La Hache Tomahawks, one of two new teams in the Central Interior Hockey League this year. Despite their smaller roster – 13 players to Smithers’ 20 – the Tomahawks played hard to the bitter end. The previous evening had seen Smithers take a win over the Williams Lake Stampeders.
The one-sided afternoon contest started with a four-goal first period, with Ian Smith, Stu Barnes, Rob Miller and Matt Arnold all racking up points. Miller and Smith both also added assists. The second period was a quieter affair, with only one goal from Barnes despite 10 minutes of penalties handed to Lac La Hache.
The Steelheads picked up again in the third, adding three more goals for a final score of 8-0. Miller added two more assists, while Adam DeVries and Russ Blanchard picked up a goal each, and Barnes completed a hat trick before the final buzzer sounded.
Last Saturday, the Steelheads faced local rivals the Houston Luckies in Smithers. Although Houston’s Brandon Ophus scored one on Steelheads goaltender Michael Wall, Ryan DeVries, Blanchard and Tyler Pederson all scored goals to give the home team the lead.
In the second period, Miller and Randall Groot each added points to give Smithers a 5-1 lead. The third period was a bit closer, with Derek Dinelle scoring a pair of goals for the Luckies; however, Smith and Daryl Young added two more points for a 7-3 Steelheads win.
The Smithers Steelheads are now in first place in the CIHL’s Central Division, with only the Quesnel Kangaroos and the Kitimat Ice Demons running undefeated as of press time. The Steelheads have a week off, then will head west for games in Kitimat on Oct. 29, and Prince Rupert on Oct. 30. The next home game will be Friday, Nov. 4, at 8 p.m., against the Hazelton Wolverines.