The Quesnel Kangaroos beat the Williams Lake Stampeders 8-2 to take game one of the 2018-19 CIHL playoffs Saturday (Feb. 9).
The Roos wasted no time in the road game held at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex in Williams Lake, exerting pressure on their rivals from the puck drop and racing to a 4-0 lead before the first period was halfway finished.
They added another before the period was over to take a commanding 5-0 lead into the second frame.
While the Stamps showed signs of life in the middle stanza by potting a few goals, they were unable to carry the momentum into the third, where the Quesnel squad netted a trio to put the game on ice.
Tommy Grant and Pual Girodat both lit the lamp twice for the Roos, while Justin Fulton, Cam Graham, Curtis Gassoff and Brady Godsoe each netted singles.
Grant says it was nice to go down there and get a win in the first game.
“We came out and got a goal on the first shift and it kind of snowballed from there,” he says of the team’s strong start.
“It just seemed like everybody was really ready to go and excited.”
He admires the team’s ability to keep the pressure on in the final period.
“We kept playing through it and didn’t give them much of a chance to come back.”
When asked to comment on the squad’s chemistry, Grant is quick to respond.
“It’s been a huge difference this year having so many local guys, and then the guys we’ve brought in from out of town have fit in really well, so it’s probably the most tight-knit group that I’ve been a part of.”
Enthusiasm has also been a constant throughout the season.
“I think we have such a younger group, and they bring so much energy to some of us older players who’ve been around a little longer,” says Grant.
He says the team can’t wait for the home game this Saturday (Feb. 16).
“I think we’ll really feed off the crowd,” Grant says.
“Coming back here with a one-game-lead to the fans who have been so good – especially when we’re playing Williams Lake – is a big inspiration to us. Everyone knows how much it means to the city.”
Chad Kimmie, who had two assists in the game, is equally pumped.
“Williams Lake’s not an easy place to go on the road, so to get that win and have a chance to clinch it at home is an awesome feeling,” he says.
Kimmie says the keys to success are fairly simple.
“If we can repeat the full 60 that we did this weekend, we’ll be just fine,” he says. “ I think it comes down to making sure we get some bodies out at practice this week and making sure everybody’s heads are in the same place.”