It was an exciting start for hockey fans when the Williams Lake Stampeders, having not played a CIHL game for over a year, scored just moments into their home opener against the Quesnel Kangaroos Saturday night (Oct. 16).
The quick start wouldn’t be enough for the Stampeders, though in the end, as Quesnel overcame the deficit and won 5-4 on the strength of a third period Marshal Brown goal.
Stampeders coach Cody Tent was not disappointed in his team’s efforts.
“I think we played really good,” Tent said after the game. “We’ve got a lot of young players coming up and a lot of these guys have never really played together before.”
The team started to find its groove, he added.
“Unfortunately hockey is a game of balances, we took a bad one at the end and we ended up losing this game. I think that we are going to come back strong and we’re going to have a really good year this year.”
Tent started coaching last year, but with the COVID-19 postponed season the team only had four exhibition games.
“We are on game number five here under my belt, and we are really excited about the season and getting it going.”
Kangaroos coach Harley Gilks thought after taking a year and half off of hockey the game turned out to be OK.
“Definitely some rough spots on both sides of the ice there — we’ve got a bit of sharpening up to do for sure.”
Kangaroos player Justin Fulton was injured and taken off the ice during the third player.
“He’s a pretty tough kid, he doesn’t usually go down so for him to be carried off like that, I’m hoping it’s nothing crazy.”
Kurtis Bond got the Stampeders on the board in the first minute of the game, assisted by Kaleb Boyle. Lane Wycott doubled the home team’s lead, assisted by Wilf Robbins. Nick Tommasettie assisted by Marshal Brown and Justin Fulton were able to score before the end of the period to tie the game.
Only the Stampeders scored a goal in the second period, a repeat performance by Bond, assisted by Boyle.
The Kangaroos scored just 30 seconds into the third period to tie the game at three, at the hands of Alessio Tommasettie, assisted by Draper, followed by a fourth goal for the team at the ten minute mark by Nick Tommasettie, assisted by Fulton.
With only 7:30 minutes left in the game, Boyle scored the Stampeders’ fourth and final goal, assisted by Chad Wilde, only to be countered a few minutes later Kangaroos Brown, assisted by Patrick Brady giving their team the lead and final goal of the night.
Williams Lake First Nations Chief Willie Sellars was between the pipes for the Stamps, and later called the loss ‘heartbreaking’ but that it was good to have hockey back.
With proof of vaccination and face masks required, a crowd of 344 people took in the game, with many participating in the puck toss, 50-50 draw and enjoying the opportunity to see a live game.
Prior to the home opener, Janna Gertzen, who is in charge of sponsorships and marketing for the Stampeders, said everyone was excited to have hockey back.
“Hockey is just a big part of our lives in Williams Lake in the winter so it will be nice to get a little bit back to normal.”
The next game for the Stampeders is against the Terrace River Kings on Saturday, Oct. 30 in Terrace and on Sunday, Oct. 31 against the Wolverines.
The Kangaroos will be in action on Saturday, Oct. 23 inside the West Fraser Centre.