The Smithers Steelheads dropped their first game of the season, losing 9-4 to the Terrace River Kings over the weekend.
The River Kings took control scoring three goals in the first and piling on three more in each period after that.
Head coach Tom DeVries said the River Kings pushed hard to take an early lead.
“They got an early lead, we came out flat footed and they got a 3-1 lead right off the bat,” he said. “We had some opportunities early in the game to keep the game close but they just kept coming back with another goal.”
The Steelheads tried to fight their way back with Randall Groot, Mark Arnold and Cole Hasell picking up a goal each.
The limited amount of players was also an issue.
“We only had enough players to [ice] a team [with] two lines, we couldn’t use a lot of energy,” said DeVries.
“We had a lot of chances to score, a lot of opportunities, we just couldn’t capitalize.
“Otherwise, I thought we played pretty well. We had a few new guys in the lineup, a few Houston boys and a couple of guys from midget,” he said.
Centre Brendan Devries, who played his first game of the season, also scored a goal and an assist against the River Kings.
“Our line worked out pretty well, we made some good plays and felt pretty comfortable out there,” he said.
“We ended up having a two on one and the defenceman went right to Adam and I think he passed it across to me and I made a move to the back end and kind of caught the goalie off guard and put it in the net.”
The team was also noticeably short on defencemen with only Devon Booth and Devon Hayhurst while forwards Groot and Arnold helped out on the back end.
“I did better as the game went along, but it was tough,” said Groot, who played defence a bit last year.
He admitted the toughest part of patrolling the blueline was reacting to the other team.
“It’s easy as a forward to step up and try and make a hit or pinch, but when you’re playing short-handed like that you have to give them ice and make them dump it in or cough it up,” he said.
There was no relief for goaltender Steve Andrade either, with no other goalie he was forced to play the entire game.
However, DeVries said the backup goalie played well under the circumstances.
Despite the loss, the team is putting this game behind them and looking ahead to the rest of the season.
“It was our first game of the year, it will work itself out. We’re not too worried,” said Groot.
“There are lots of games left in the season.”
The Steelheads will face off against the Lac La Hache Tomahawks on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Lac La Hache.
The first home game is on Oct. 18.