The ‘Roos came out of their second double header weekend of the season one up and one down against the Williams Lake Stampeders.
Going into the weekend, Brian Kozak, the ‘Roos coach, knew the Stampeders’ played the long game, pushing for the odd-man rush and adjusted the forecheck.
Friday’s game came down to the final period, when the Stampeders pulled ahead to win the game 6-4. Saturday, the ‘Roos turned the tables, winning 5-4 in overtime.
Though the first game was a loss, Kozak was happy with the ‘Roos performance.
“You never like to lose, but when the players play that hard, you can’t fault them,” he said.
The Stampeders opened the scoring very early, scoring within the first minute of play.
Nick Tomassetti responded at 3:59, keeping the game even.
Both teams continued to hustle, with good chances on both sides, but it was Williams Lake who would make good when Matt Lees found the back of the net at 11:57.
Lees’ goal pushed the Stampeders into first going into the second, until Paul Girodat caught a pass from Matt Stang which he turned into a short-handed goal at 7:33.
Waylon L’Heureux followed up two minutes later to net one of his own as the ‘Roos pushed ahead.
Tyrell Lucas tied it back up for the Stampeders with his second of the night as the second continued to heat up.
Curtis Gassoff took advantage of a power play opportunity to push the ‘Roos ahead at 15:31, but the Stampeders’ Brent McIsaac found the back of the net three minutes later when the ‘Roos were shorthanded, leaving the game tied going into the third.
In the third, the ‘Roos pushed, reaping some good chances which they were unable to capitalise on, including a penalty shot and a pretty breakaway, both of which Stampeders’ goalie Justin Foote stopped.
“We had the chances to put that game away, we just didn’t execute it,” Kozak said.
Jassi Sangha put the Stampeders ahead at 13:44.
The ‘Roos couldn’t make anything happen, so, with one minute left, Kozak pulled Ryan Manderson for the extra man.
A couple good opportunities followed, but it was Sangha who scored to put the ‘Roos in the ground at 6-4.
Saturday, the ‘Roos were back in Williams Lake with something to prove. And though it took more the 60 minutes, they proved it, taking the 5-4 win.
Kozak’s new forecheck started to pay dividends on Saturday as the ‘Roos took control over the first, outshooting Williams Lake 12-4.
Nathan Zurak scored within the first minute to start the ‘Roos out on the right foot. At 11:23 Francis Johnson tied it up.
In the second, the ‘Roos were inundated by penalties. Zurak scored again early in the second before the ‘Roos hit a wall of four straight penalties that had them short handed for much of the rest of the period.
During the roll of power plays for Williams Lake, Tyler Fuller scored seven minutes into the period, followed by Dave Gore’s power play goal with just over seven minutes left.
With less than a minute left, Sangha took advantage of the off-balance ‘Roos and pushed another one in to put them ahead 4-3.
The ‘Roos recovered during the intermission and came out swinging in the third.
Halfway through the period, David Gore evened it up. Ten minutes of struggle later, neither team had scored, pushing the game into overtime.
Cory Graboski, in his first game with the ‘Roos, found the back of the net to give the ‘Roos the overtime victory.
The ‘Roos finally come home this weekend, with another rematch against the Stampeders, followed by their first game against last year’s champions, the Smithers Steelheads.
Saturday’s game starts at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays starts at 1 p.m.