Offering everything from frayed tempers to trickle-in goals and triumph held to the final seconds, Thursday night’s Crossfire game was worth the months-long build up.
Coming off their first win over the Stylers, one of the best teams in the league, the Crossfire had something to prove to the Quesnel crowd on Thursday, which they did, logging their second win of the season with a 10-9 win over the Devils.
Pat Gibbs, one of the founding players of the team, was happy to finally see the fruits of the team’s labour.
“It feels good. It feels damn good,” he said.
“It’s been coming together for a while and now we’re finally getting results.”
The Crossfire took control of the scoreboard early. They were in good shape, controlling the ball and keeping the pressure on the Devils for the first period, allowing only one goal, and netting five before the pressure boiled over.
With less than two minutes left in the first, a couple of rough checks and some choice words had almost all the players on the floor paired off. Eight of the players, four from each team, ended up rolling on the floor, or swinging wildly at their opponents heads.
Once the players were calmed down (no easy feat for the two refs) an early intermission was called to sort and hand out penalties. After the ten minute intermission, penalties were handed out, with six game misconducts, along with several other lesser penalties, for the Crossfire. The Devils got off a bit easier with single game misconduct handed to one of the fighters and various other penalties.
The Crossfire nearly killed the half-period power play the handed to the Devils after the brawl. Goaltender Ryley Cooper made some quick saves during the penalty kill to keep the Crossfire on top. One minute before the last penalty came off, the Devils score, to put the game at 5-2.
It was in the later half of the second the Devils started to make their presence felt. After the ten-minute mark of the second, the Devils started to claw their way out of the hole they had dug for themselves. The last ten minutes became a more even game, with plenty of scoring chances, more of which the Devils capitalized on.
At the end of the second the Devils were on their way back to seriously challenge the Crossfire, down only three points with the score sitting at 7-4 for the Crossfire.
In the third, the game was tense enough to pull the fans forward in their seats.
In the first eight minutes, the Devils made a mad dash, catching up with the Crossfire. The game was teetering on the edge, victory was only a point away for each. Both teams fought hard to put the ball past the tenders, but it was a chintzy goal that broke the tie and pushed the Crossfire into the lead. The Crossfire had made their play, and were headed back to their own end, except for one of the players who had been slow to get up after a Devil’s knee fuond his back. All eyes were on that action as the ball bounced its way past the goaltender’s foot, spurred on by one of his own.
Back ahead now, the Crossfire succesfully pushed forward to get a cushion goal. However that pillow was taken away three minutes later. With two minutes left in the game their lead was removed.
The last two minutes ticked down as both teams fought hard for a win. The hometown crowd perched on their seats, eagerly watching every movement of the ball.
With less than a minute left, the Crossfire called a time-out. After the rest, the seconds ticked down. 40. 30. 20.
And 19.1 seconds before the end of the game Cameron Braun put the ball in the net to cement the Crossfire’s second win.
This win leaves them tied for last with the Mackenzie Lumberjax. However, the playoffs are still in sight. With some hard work, and a couple of victories over the Lumberjax in their double header this weekend, the Crossfire can slip into a playoff run.
The Crossfire play their final three games of the regular season this week. All three of their last games will be played at the Twin Arenas. Thursday they play the Stylers at 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday they play a double header against the Lumberjax. The Saturday game starts at 8 p.m. while the Sunday game starts at 11 a.m.