The Kangaroos came out of the weekend unbeaten but plenty bloodied after a double-header of overtime wins that put them on top of their division.
“To beat two of the top teams in the other division, now that everyone’s found their rhythm – that’s something,” coach Brian Kozak said.
The Luckies and the Steelheads are first and third, respectively, in their division.
It’s the second back-to-back weekend for the ’Roos and marks a four game win streak for the Quesnel team.
Short on defence on the road, Kozak juggled Matt Stang and Curtis Gassoff, who played exceptionally well in the new role, to the back and made due without a back up goalie for the weekend.
The ’Roos started their weekend in Houston, facing off against the Luckies for the first time, beating them 6-5 in OT.
The first period was close, with the ’Roos playing a very structured game, according to Kozak.
Nearly doubling the Luckies shots on goal, 15-9, the ’Roos managed to slide on past the Luckies ’tender to put them in front going into the second.
The second, however, didn’t look so good for the Kangaroos.
“We got and little aggressive a gave them opportunities to score,” Kozak said.
The Luckies caught up to the ’Roos in the second, scoring four goals to the ’Roos three, sending both teams into the third tied at four a-piece.
In the last period, the ’Roos settled down to play a structured, disciplined game once again.
The Luckies stepped up once again and took the lead, 5-4 in the third. It was looking bad for the ’Roos as the clocked ticked down, but with 1:25 left in the period, Tyrell Turgeon put the puck in the back of the net, tying the game at 5-5 and forcing a five-minute period of OT.
Early in OT, Turgeon buried the puck again, securing the win for Quesnel.
Kozak was happy with the players performance, saying they learned from their mistakes, changing the game play to come back in the third.
Sunday, the ’Roos headed to Smithers, but left their luck behind.
“It was one of those games where nothing was working for us,” Kozak said.
Less than one minute into the first, the Steelheads scored when a pass bounced off one of the ’Roos skates and made it past goalie Ryan Manderson. The goal set the tone for the first two periods as the ’Roos played it simple and tried to not make mistakes.
The Steelheads were ahead 2-0 after the first and kept the momentum in the second, out scoring the ’Roos in the period, 3-2, to give them a comfortable cushion going into the third.
But after a difficult 40 minutes, the Kangaroos weren’t dismayed as they talked strategy between periods.
Coming out in the third, the ’Roos started to fight back, but some bumping by Steelheads players erupted in a fight, with captain Waylon L’Heureux dropping the gloves against the Steelheads’ Phil Morrison.
The bout of on-ice pugilism energized the ’Roos, leading them to make a run of four unanswered goals to take the lead for the first time in the game.
Put back on their heels, the Steelheads pulled their goalie and managed to tie it up, pushing the game to overtime.
The ’Roos continued to push the Steelheads through the first four minutes of the over time period when Joel Boyetchko caught the Steelhead defence in the neutral zone preparing to switch lines. He poked the puck to Rigby Burgart for a two-man breakaway that ended the game with the 7-6 final.
Currently, the ’Roos sit at the top of the league, with 16 points, but at 12 games played are also up three games on the rest of the league.
To make up for that plethora of games, the ’Roos will spend this weekend resting and allowing the rest of the league to catch up.
The Kangaroos come home again Nov. 30 to play against the Lac La Hache Tomahawks.