The Quesnel Kangaroos faced off against the Smithers Steelheads on Sat. Nov. 30 and the Hazelton Wolverines on Sun. Dec. 1 during a double header home-stand at the West Fraser Centre this past weekend.
The first matchup saw the Kangaroos put an early goal on the board as Lane Vandewetering scored in the first minute of play.
For the rest of the first period, however, the Steelheads dominated the puck possession and were basically able set up shop in the Kangaroos zone, outshooting the home team 19-4. Despite the impressive efforts of Kangaroos goaltender Brandon Peacock, the Steelheads managed to tie the game up heading into the second period.
The mood on the ice had changed as the puck dropped to start the second period. Both teams seemed to come out of their locker rooms angrier, champing at the bit to get a piece of their opponents.
The game got fast, and physical.
No goals were scored in the second, but the fans in the stands were treated to some exciting back and forth hockey.
The Kangaroos came out in the third looking and playing like the stronger team.
Keith Leadbeater was able to put the go-ahead goal on the board for the home team, followed not long after by what would turn out to be the game-winning goal for the Kangaroos, scored by team captain Alessio Tomassetti.
The Steelheads were able to put one more goal on the scoresheet late in the third but it was too little too late: the Quesnel Kangaroos were the more dominant team, winning the game by a final score of 3-2.
The second matchup of the weekend saw the Kangaroos taking on the Hazelton Wolverines in an afternoon game at West Fraser Centre.
Both teams had played the night before, therefore stamina would play a key part in the outcome of the game.
The Kangaroos hit this ice looking strong, with an early goal from defenseman Adam Chapman. The lead was short-lived as Wolverines defensemen Drew Rose would put his name on the scoresheet 11 seconds later.
Although the score was tied 1-1 at the end of the first 20 minutes, the home team had outshot the visitors 12-1 and looked like the more dominant force on the ice.
The second period played out like a former Hockey Night in Canada host’s straight-to-VHS movie.
The “Rock ‘em Sock ‘em” style hockey was set off when Wolverines defensman Liam Dodd took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty almost immediately after the puck dropped.
The period would see eight penalties called, although, that number could easily have been higher. The Kangaroos still led the time of possession battle with more then double the amount of shots on goal of their opponents (24-10). However, the Wolverines would capitalize on one of their three power plays in the period, taking the lead in the game 2-1.
The third period would see the Kangaroos run out of gas. Fatigued and unable to sustain the all-out attack they had pushed for in the first 40 minutes, the home team were trapped in their own zone for most of the period. The offence was only able to muster three shots on goal.
The Wolverines took advantage of their down-and-out opponents, putting six points up on the board including two short-handed goals. The Wolverines would win the game with a final score of 8-1.
Anyone at the game could tell you the final score in this game was not a fair evaluation of how hard the Kangaroos played for two-thirds of the contest. One thing is for sure, the next time the Hazelton Wolverines come to town, the West Fraser Centre will be packed full of fans anticipating a rowdy rematch.
Currently sitting in third place in the CIHL with a record of 4-5, the Quesnel Kangaroos will look to bounce back in their next game against the Williams Lake Stampeders on Dec. 14 at home in the West Fraser Centre.