The Smithers Steelheads remained atop the Central Interior Hockey League’s East Division over the weekend with an 8-6 win over Hazelton, but the undefeated Quesnel Kangaroos are hot on the fish’s tails just two points back.
The win in Hazelton improved the Steelheads’ record to 5-1-0-0. Quesnel, with wins over Kitimat and Terrace Nov. 12 and 13 are now 4-0-0-0 with two games in hand.
The Wolverines took control early in the game with two goals by Sean Maktaak and Sebastien Pare before the 10-minute mark in the first period. Just 10 seconds after Pare made it 2-0, Michael Lynch responded for the fish with an unassisted mark.
By the end of the first period, Smithers would be on top 3-2 on goals by Kodi Schwarz from Brendan Moore and Brendan Devries from Lynch.
Early in the second frame, Hazelton drew the game even at 3-3 when Emerson Hrynik snuck one past Steelheads goaltender Nick Garcia at just 0:19 seconds. Over course of the second and third periods, Smithers would pull ahead only to see the Wolverines claw back to tie the game again.
Halfway through the third period, the teams were knotted at six goals apiece, Smithers on the strength of Devries completing a hat trick with an additional marker by Graham Fast.
Scoring for the Wolverines included two by Tanner Wort and the sixth by Scott Docherty.
Devries was not done, however, adding his fourth before Moore hammered in the proverbial final nail in Hazelton’s coffin at 18:52.
Although the Wolverines’ record is now 1-4-0-1 for just three points on the season, they remained in third place in the west division after the winless Kitimat Ice Demons got crushed on the road by Quesnel (12-1) and Williams Lake (14-7).
Undefeated Prince Rupert remains at the top of the west division with a 5-0-0-0 record and tied with the Steelheads for the league lead with 10 points, but a game in hand.
Terrace is just two points back with four wins after taking its first two losses of the season on the weekend against Williams Lake (10-7) and Quesnel (5-4).
Both the Wolverines and Steelheads are back in action this coming weekend with Hazelton at home hosting Kitimat and Smithers in Fort St. James to take on the Nechako Northstars.