After a less-than-ideal start to the season, the Quesnel Kangaroos feel like they are finally starting to click.
The results of their cohesion were on full display at the Cariboo Memorial Complex Saturday night (Oct. 19) as they eked out an exciting 6-5 victory over their rivals, the Williams Lake Stampeders.
The Roos had some phenomenal performances out of their squad.
Player of the game Lane Van De Wetering scored a pair, including the go-ahead goal with seconds left in the third period. Teammate Eli Jarvis also potted two in the early going, while team captain Alessio Tomasetti scored to tie the game in a short-handed situation.
Paul Girodat also scored for the Quesnel squad.
“It was a huge win for us in the standings,” says Tomasetti. “The boys rallied back in the third after a hard-fought game.
“Everyone stepped up and the new guys know what it takes to win every game now, which should get us rolling.”
Club president Tyler Coleman says the atmosphere on the bus down to Williams Lake set the tone for the game to come.
“Everybody was in a great mood,” he says. “There was a lot of laughing and smiling and the fellas were just feeling it.”
The defending Central Interior Hockey League champs were able to keep worries at bay after starting their season off with a 1-3 record, including a season-opening loss to the Stamps.
They began by going up by two goals early after a pair of markers from Girodat and Jarvis.
“The boys were playing really well in the early going,” says Coleman. “They were firing on all cylinders as they wanted the win bad.”
After the first period, Williams Lake managed to half the lead, but the Roos were still feeling good about the start.
The second turned out to be a back-and -forth affair, with the Stamps using some Roos penalties to take a 4-3 lead in the contest.
After another goal to start the third, the home team was up by two with 10 minutes to go, and the Roos were in danger of falling to 1-4 on the season.
“It was a really gritty third period,” says Coleman, “and the guys were really pushing hard.”
Van De Wetering managed to pull the squad within one, and then Tomasetti scored a short-handed marker to steal back the momentum.
With one minute to play, Coleman says coach Harley Gilks called a timeout.
“He set up a beautiful faceoff play,” Coleman says with some glee. ” We ended up having Lane circle wide out, come up the blue line with speed, and the puck popped out.
“He got it, took off like a bullet, came in, deked out [Stamps goalie] Willy [Sellars] and back-handed it under the crossbar with 15 second left to make it 6-5.”
Coleman says the team’s success can be traced to finally figuring out some decent lines.
“It’s taken a little bit to figure out that chemistry and get the right lines set up, but now that we have something that works, we should do well,” he says.
The president says discipline will be necessary to continue the momentum.
“As a team, there are some penalties that we don’t want to take,” he says. “When we’re in the road, we need to keep our heads about so the refs aren’t controlling our fate.”
The next match up for the team will be a showdown with the Kitimat Ice Demons at home on Nov. 2.