The Quesnel Kangaroos finished the regular season Saturday, Feb. 1 in the same way they are hoping they’ll start the CIHL playoffs — with a win in Williams Lake.
The away game started a little shaky for the Roos, as the Stampeders were able to set off the red light before many fans had taken their seats, scoring the first goal of the game just 43 seconds into the period.
The Roos weren’t about to let this game get out of hand, as they responded quickly, with Lane Vandewetering scoring just 34 seconds later off of a pass from Eli Jarvis, silencing the home crowd.
The two teams would battle hard for the remainder of the first. Eric Galbraith would bury a Alessio Tomassetti pass to add to the Roos’ tally, giving the visiting team a 2-1 lead halfway through the first. The Stampeders weren’t ready to roll over quite yet, as they added a goal late in the period to tie the game 2-2 going into the second.
The second period saw the Roos take control of the game, only allowing the home team to take five shots on goal. Roos captain Alessio Tomassetti earned his team-leading 22nd point of the season, scoring on a helper from Braiden Epp and giving the visitors a 3-2 lead.
Epp would add another point to his scoresheet, scoring to give the Roos a two-goal lead halfway through the second, with the assists going to Ryan Reynolds and Eric Galbraith.
Williams Lake wouldn’t completely disappear into the shadows, as they scored late in the period to cut the lead down to one, threatening a comeback in the final 20.
The Roos were on the puck as soon as it dropped in the third, and before the home team fans could put on their rally caps, Galbraith netted a dagger in their hearts, scoring less then a minute into the period, assisted by Bryan Allbee.
The Stampeders would add one more goal to the books in vain, bringing the final score to 5-4 for the Roos, who simply outworked their opponents throughout the game, outshooting the Stampeders 47-28.
The Roos finished the season in third place in the CIHL with an 8-8 record and will now face their rivals from Williams Lake in the first round of the playoffs. Quesnel has beaten Williams Lake four out of the six times they met during the regular season and is currently on a three-game win streak against the Stampeders.
“Confidence going into round one is high,” said Roos captain Alessio Tomassetti. “We have a great team and everyone is hungry to win, and it’s shown down the stretch and the last game as well.”
The Roos will look to continue that streak as they head to Williams Lake to play the first game of a best-of-three playoff series Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Cariboo Memorial Complex, a building in which they won every game they played this season.
The second game will be Saturday, Feb. 15 at home in Quesnel, and Game 3, if needed, will be a home game for the Roos, on a date yet to be determined.