It was close. It’s been close. During these playoffs, the ‘Roos have lived in close, have made a living room there and gotten comfortable and once again, the ‘Roos manage to squeeze close into a harrowing win.
“It was quite the game,” acting-coach Bob Marsh said.
That’s just what they did this weekend in their first game against the Williams Lake Stampeders which means they lead the series and maybe things won’t get as close this time.
7-6. That was the win. Thirteen goals scored and a one point spread for the last ten minutes of the game. The raucous crowd was in it, full of nervous energy; Bob Marsh was behind the bench doing his best to keep any one from stalling out; and every player was pushing hard but not too hard lest they get a penalty.
Nervous times out there on the ice.
The beginning of the game, however, was something different.
“We came out strong,” Marsh said.
Even so, it took the ‘Roos just over six minutes of intense play before Harley Gilks go his first of the night with the help of Joel Boyetchko and Curtis Gassoff.
They held the lead for another eight minutes, until Jassi Sangha put one past Ryan Manderson to tie it up, setting the tone for the game.
But after a relatively slow start on the scoreboard, the ‘Roos were ready to light it up and put two in during the sixteenth minute of play, with Gilks netting his second of the night, and Gassoff credited with the helper,. Rigby Burgart got his first of the night, and second of the period, with Justin Fulton getting the assist.
The Stamps’ Nathan Zurak put an end to the roll before it got out of hand, late in the period, making it a one goal game with less than two minutes left in the period.
Not thirty seconds later Tyrel Lucas brought the game to an even score, with help from David Gore and Darcy Flaherty.
Coming into the second, Justin Fulton sparked a run of goals less than thirty seconds into the period, netting the first goal of the period at 24 seconds with the help of Burgart.
Gilks was next , putting in his third of the night at 8:51 to give the ‘Roos some breathing room, with Gassoff and Boyetchko getting the nod for the assist. Matt Stang, with Paul Girodat, gave the ‘Roos enough rope with another goal at 9:36.
And, much like in the first, the Stamps pushed back, lead by Zurak, who got his second and third of the night in the last five minutes of the period. He netted the first at 15:52, with Francis Johnson assisting and the second a minute and a half later on the power play, with Andrew Fisher and Tyler Fuller getting the nod for the assist.
At the end of the second. The ‘Roos were back where they shine, in the midst of a battle.
The third opened up with the ‘Roos back in the fight and with that energy pushing him, Matt Powell scored just less than two minutes into the period, with help from Gassoff and Gilks.
Seeing their chance to win swiftly fading, Williams Lake’s Matt Lees put one in at the halfway point of the period, with help from Nathan and Andrew Zurak to make it a one goal game once again. This time, however, the ‘Roos weren’t going to let the Stamps come back, killing a penalty and keeping the Stamps goalless when they pulled their goalie.
It wasn’t for lack of trying the Stamps couldn’t score, however, with 48 shots on net, Manderson saw a lot of action in the crease, but blunted the impact with some great saves.
This weekend, the ‘Roos will take the fight to Williams Lake for their second and (hopefully not) third game of the series.
The ‘Roos hope you can join them on the road to cheer them on in Williams Lake this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. A third game, if necessary, will take place in Williams Lake at 1 p.m.
In the other series, the Smithers Steelheads play the Terrace River Kings. Smithers currently leads 1-0.