The ‘Roos faced a tough weekend, a double header on the road, starting with the unbeaten Smithers Steelheads, followed by a Sunday game against the Omenica Ice.
The ‘Roos notched one in each category, keeping the gap close in the loss and wide in the win.
The ‘Roos faced off against Steelheads Saturday night at The Pond in Smithers.
“We were a little short-handed but the guys played really hard,” assistant coach Bob Marsh said.
Smithers came out fast in the first, peppering Ryan Manderson, the ‘Roos goalie, with 23 shots over the course of the period.
Manderson did a solid job in net keeping the score down, until a hooking penalty had the ‘Roos down a player, which the Steelheads took advantage of, a theme which continued throughout the night.
The Steelheads’ Ian Smith put the puck behind Manderson at 4:21 to put Smithers ahead in the game.
After that stumble, Manderson kept the goal puck free.
At the other end of the ice the ‘Roos couldn’t put anything together, tossing the puck towards the net only ten times over the 20 minutes.
The third saw more activity on the scoreboard.
The ‘Roos, anxious to not be left behind, were the first to put numbers up in the second. Levon Johnson managed to crumble Mike Wall, the Steelheads goalie, at 3:16, putting the ‘Roos on even footing.
The goal gave the ‘Roos steam.
A mix up on the Steelheads bench put too many men on the ice, which netted the team a bench minor and opened up ice for the ‘Roos to sneak ahead.
At 6:06, Justin Fulton took advantage of the penalty and gave the ‘Roos the first taste of the lead.
Sixteen second later, Daniel Hills put in the ‘Roos third of the night, giving the ‘Roos that dangerous two goal cushion.
The Steelheads’ Adam DeVries started the Smithers comeback with eight minutes left of the first, taking advantage of the ‘Roos penalty handed out to Devon Whalen for tripping.
The Steelheads then went looking for the equalizer, which the ‘Roos kept firmly out of their reach until the closing minutes of the second.
Smithers’ Darryl Young scored an unassisted goal with 15 second left in the second to even up the game going into the third.
The first half of the third kept the crowd on edge, without either teaming breaking the stalemate, despite a couple ‘Roos penalties.
The Smithers gave up no such chances to the ‘Roos, keeping their play disciplined.
On the ‘Roos third penalty, Lane Perry finally found the way past Manderson, giving the Steelheads the lead with just over half the period left.
The ‘Roos couldn’t make any magic in the last minutes of the game and ended by taking Manderson out of the net for the extra skater, which resulted in a goal in the last minute, as the Steelheads’ Spencer Brooks put the puck in the empty net to give the Steelheads a 5-3 cushion the ‘Roos couldn’t get back in the last thirty seconds.
The four penalties really hurt, said Marsh, and are something the ‘Roos focusing on decreasing.
Sunday in Vanderhoof was a different story altogether, with the ‘Roos coming down hard on the Omenica Ice.
The ‘Roos dominated the first, putting them well in the lead after 20 minutes.
Korban Paine netted the first goal at 16:48, followed by a second for Dan Hills just over a minute and a half later.
The back-to-back early goal gave way to more even play, with no more goals until deep the closing minutes of the first when the Ice’s Kalen Bird found the back of the net at 3:31.
The one goal gap was short-lived, however, as the ‘Roos Billy Ferster rendered the previous goal moot with a goal of his own less than half a minute later.
Joel Boyetchko ended the period with another goal for the ‘Roos with just under two minutes left.
The second was all ‘Roos, with no Ice skater able to find a way past Manderson. On the other end, however, the ‘Roos offence continued to rack up goals.
Dan Kirkham got the first of the period, not three minutes in.
Just past the 13 minute mark Curtis Gassoff netted on of his own and then Hills found his second of the night at the before the ten minute mark.
The third found the ‘Roos backing off, which the Ice tried, and failed, to capitalize on.
The beginning of the period looked good for the Ice as Cole Prince finally solved Manderson before the first minute was up.
That, however, was only matched in the very last minute of play, with assistant captain David Gordon netting the Ice’s third and last of the game to put the score at 7-3 in favour of the ‘Roos.
After the weekend, Marsh was happy with how the team is playing.
“They’re starting to buy into the systems we’re coaching out on the ice,” he said.
The ‘Roos are back home after Christmas, on Sat. Dec. 29, facing off against the Williams Lake Stampeders.