It was David and Goliath on ice Saturday, as the ‘Roos fell to Lac La Hache 6-2.
After winning seven games straight (nearly half their season), and having not seen a loss in front of their hometown crowd, the Kangaroos were looking mighty, marching their way to the top of the standings, but, as fans of the story know, even a small boy and a rock can fell the mighty at the right time.
“That streak, when it breaks, sometimes it’s a team like that,” coach Brian Kozak said.
If Lac La Hache was David, then Tomahawks goalie William Sellers was the stone, making 60 saves on 62 shots, including an amazing kick save that stopped a ‘sure thing’, and leading Lac La Hache to victory.
It started out fine for the ‘Roos. Matt Stang was the first to put a numeral up on the board, getting his goal in early, just over a minute into the game, with the help of Matt Powell and Curtis Gassoff.
The ‘Roos continued to push the Tomahawks, but a combination of bad bounces and Sellers conspired to keep the ‘Roos from doing anymore harm.
After six minutes of play, Lac La Hache tied it up on a wrist shot from Donovan Nicholas.
Riley Ferster answered two minutes later for the ‘Roos, finally sliding the puck past a prone Sellers after half a minute of bad bounces and good saves.
But the lead didn’t stay for long, as Robin Gilbert put two past Manderson late in the period to put the Tomahawks up one going into the second.
The period ended with all the players on the ice taking part in a shoving match that refs managed to stop from becoming a full blown dust-up.
Midway through the intermission, a fire alarm chased the players and crowd out of the arena as they waited for the fire chief to check the building. The building was verified not on fire and the game resumed.
After the pushing and the false fire, the game was delayed, but fans returned from their sojourn outside ready to watch some hockey.
The Tomahawk’s Kevin McNab was the only one to post a goal in the second grabbing a rebound and flinging it past Manderson. The goal came just after the three minute mark and one second after Stang hopped out of the penalty box.
While an uneventful period on the scoreboard, the penalty box saw plenty of action as the game started to get rough.
In the third, the ‘Roos strayed from their team game and suffered for it, while the Tomahawks played a defensive game to keep the score low.
Lac La Hache played their plan perfectly, frustrating any chance the ‘Roos had until a bad pass in the neutral zone gave the Tomahawks a three on none, which they capitalized on to put another goal on the board.
Kozak pulled Manderson in the last three minutes of play, but a face off in the neutral zone turned into a weak shot that rolled all the way into the goal, sealing the ‘Roos fate.
Kozak was disappointed with the way the Kangaroos played, but said Lac La Hache played a great road game.
“Overall, we ran into a hot goaltender and strayed away from the ‘Roos game,” Kozak said.
Kozak hopes the loss will push the players back together again, teaching a lesson in humility and keeping the team first.
He’ll test that theory against Cariboo Rivals and number two team in the league, Williams Lake on Jan. 11 and the Terrace River Kings, tied for third in the league, Jan. 12.