The Roos played their final two home games of the regular season over the weekend, and for all the fans in attendance, the home team did not disappoint.
The first matchup saw the Roos take on league leaders, the Terrace River Kings, on Saturday night at the West Fraser Centre.
These two teams came out firing. The River Kings opened the scoring with a powerplay goal early in the first period, but it didn’t take long for the Roos respond. The home team took control of the offensive ice, as Eric Galbraith and Nick Tomassetti each scored, while their defence shut down the visitors’ attack, and goaltender Brandon Peacock stood tall, stopping everything that came his way.
The Roos had their foot on the pedal in the second period, and all Terrace could do was buckle up and watch the game from the passenger seat, as the home team scored five unanswered goals. Cam Graham scored once, while Lane Vandewetering and Galbraith each netted a pair. As the hats flew onto the ice for Galbraith’s hat trick a few of the Terrace defenders may have been seen hiding in their own headgear.
The visiting team was able to add two goals to the scoresheet in vain in the third, while Payton Schaefer added the cherry on top to the Roos’ 8-3 victory, leaving little doubt as to who the real kings in Quesnel were on Saturday.
The second matchup of the weekend saw the hometown Roos take on the second team in the standings, Prince Rupert Rampage, in a Sunday afternoon game.
This game was physical from the first whistle. Both teams showed up ready to hit the ice and each other, as no free puck went unchallenged and no check unfinished.
The Rampage scored the lone goal of the first period, as Austin Weir snuck one of the 19 shots on goal for the visiting team in the period past Roos netminder Brandon Peacock.
The Roos would not sit idly by as Peacock held down the fort. The hometown offence peppered Rampage goaltender Kieren Sharpe with an unbelievable 27 shots but was unable to solve the talented pad-stacker through the opening 20.
The Roos would come out of the locker room with a laser-like focus, winning the puck possession battle and stifling the red-hot Rampage.
The hometown squad was finally rewarded for its offensive efforts, scoring not once but twice, as Roos captain Alessio Tomassetti would capitalize on a powerplay to tie the game, and Braiden Epp’s tally would get the home team a 2-1 lead after two periods.
The Rampage would regain their composure in the third, as Tyler Ostrom found the back of the net early, tying the game up.
The Roos would continue to pressure, as Tomassetti scored his second of the game, but the home team’s lead was short-lived again, as Rampage captain Kory Movold scored the equalizer less than a minute later.
The two teams would battle hard for the remainder of the third period, and the energy in the arena was electric. As regulation time ran down, an audible gasp could be heard from the hometown crowd as each of the Roos’ 18 shots headed towards the visiting goal.
However, it would be the Rampage who knocked the wind out of the hometown sails, as Ostrom scored his second of the game, sealing the 4-3 victory for Prince Rupert.
Some drama erupted in the final minute of play, as the Roos pulled their goalie and with the extra attacker on the ice rang the rubber off a post, sending it quickly back into play as the referee signalled “no goal.” Many in attendance would swear they had seen the puck sail over the goal line and strike the centre post of the Rampage net, but, alas, this battle of two tremendous teams was not meant to see overtime.
When asked about how his team prepared for this weekend’s double header, Kangaroos captain Alessio Tomassetti said he and his team knew they had to bring everything they had to the arena and leave it all on the ice against these two talented teams.
“We talked about it before Saturday’s game, that we had to come out and work hard, use our speed and skillset to beat Terrace,” he said. “If you don’t outwork them, you don’t win. We showed we have a team this year that can win it all again.
“On Sunday, we came out with the same mentality. We worked hard and put a lot of pucks on net. Sixty-two shots their goalie saved. We could have ran away with it, but sometimes you run into a hot goalie. Everyone thought we tied it up late, but the refs seemed to disagree. We will regroup, have a couple of hard practices and be ready to roll against the Stamps on Feb. 1.”
The Roos’ final game of the regular season will be against their rivals to the south, the Williams Lake Stampeders, on Saturday, Feb. 1 in Williams Lake.