The ‘Roos impressed with their home opening weekend, winning a tough couple of games.
Saturday, the Kangaroos surpassed last year’s Coy Cup winners, the Williams Lake Stampeders, 7-5, cheered on by a large, loud crowd.
Justin Fulton, spurred on by the crowd, had the magic touch, assisting on the first couple of goals before netting five of his own. Not a puck went in the net that Fulton didn’t have a stick on.
“It was the first home game so I wanted to go hard for the crowd. Everything was going my way, my line mates were feeding me. Everything went well,” Fulton said.
It was the third game in a row the ‘Roos played the Stamps, which they came out of even, with a loss and a win in a couple even games.
“They’re a good squad. They’ve played together for so many years, and the games are so tight, they could go either way, so to beat them back to back, it’s good,” Coach Brian Kozak said.
The game opened slowly, with the ‘Roos in particular having a hard time getting into gear. Tyrell Turgeon opened up the scoring at mid-point in the first.
In the second, the ‘Roos capitalised on a four minute major early in the period. Cory Grabovski netted one before Fulton started his scoring streak on the same power play.
The Stamps dominated the rest of the period, aided by the ‘Roos infatuation with the penalty box. Nathan Zurak scored the first for the Stamps, followed by a power play goal midway through the period.
Fulton broke up the Stamps’ streak seven seconds later with a shorthanded goal, but the Stamps weren’t done, with Jassi Sangha netting a power play goal and Brent McIsaac netting two, one power play and one even handed, putting the ‘Roos down going into the third.
In the third, Fulton hit the gas, scoring three for a hat trick on the period, including a pretty goal handling his way through a couple defenders before flicking it up and over Williams Lake’s goaltender Justin Foote’s glove.
And through it all, the ‘Roos go the support of their fans for the first time this year.
“The crowd was fantastic, just awesome,” Kozak said.
Foote faced 27 shots, while Quesnel’s Ryan Manderson turned aside 28 of 33 in the winning effort.
Sunday, the ‘Roos hosted last year’s league winner, the Smithers Steelheads, winning in overtime, 3-2.
Manderson faced 49 shots over the course of the contest, keeping the ‘Roos in despite some very tense moments in his crease.
“A lot of shots, a lot of action There was a big flurry there. Blood gets pumping pretty good,” Manderson said.
The Steelheads were down to two lines on the road and were successful in keeping the pace of the game down and choosing their chances.
The slow and steady Steelheads kept the game to 0-0 until the final seconds of the Third, when Rigby Burgart was able to take advantage of a power play, knocking in a rebound to open up the scoring.
As the clock wound down the Steelheads, wound up in an effort to finally find a goal, but Manderson stayed strong, standing on his head to keep the ‘Roos up.
Fulton got his sixth of the weekend a couple minutes later, putting a lot of pressure on the Steelheads.
With less than four minutes left, Jeff DeVries scored bringing the Steelheads to within a point and pushing the game into over drive.
As the clock ticked down the Steelheads threw the rest of their energy into getting the tying goal. The ‘Roos were back on their heels but not letting anything through until the ‘Roos’ Joey MacDonald took a penalty with just over two minutes left. Then David Gordin got a game misconduct for checking from behind.
The Steelheads pulled their goalie for a two man advantage and with eight seconds left, in a scrum in front of the net, Ian Smith got his stick on a puck Manderson couldn’t get his glove over and pushed it in forcing the extra period.
The last push took most of the Steelheads energy.
Less than three minutes into OT Tyrell Turgeon left the puck for Alessio Tomassetti, who took a quick wrist shot past goalie Tyler Perrault to clinch the win.