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CONTRIBUTION · 4th January 2010
Allan Hewitson
Ice Demons clinch 2009-10 regular season title with two resounding wins over undermanned Omineca

The Kitimat Ice Demons clinched the ‘Lightening Cup’, the CIHL regular season championship, with two home ice wins over an under-manned Omineca Ice team, Saturday and Sunday, in Tamitik Arena. Demons won 10-3 on Saturday night before 900 fans, and 7-0 Sunday. The two wins gave the Demons 25 points for the season to date, with two remaining dates against the Terrace River Kings; Friday in Terrace and Saturday at home.

The Ice Demons nearest rivals in the West Division, the Smithers Steelheads, rounded out their season’s 16 games on Saturday, with a 9-4 road win over the Burns Lake Braves, to give them 24 points, to finish second in the Division.

On Saturday, the Ice arrived late at the arena due to slippery roads, but managed to open the scoring on a power play goal early in the first period by Phil Simoes, who tallied a hat trick, one in each period, in a losing cause.
The Demons, showing some playing cohesion rust from a long competition layoff since Dec. 5, rallied quickly to tie the game with a goal from Greg Sabey, assisted by Ian Coleman who was playing his first game since late November.

Demons took a 2-1 lead to the first intermission on a Geoff Moran snap, assisted by Doug Wilson.

In the second period the Demons tightened up their loose defensive play, but still allowed the Ice to tie the game at 2-2, on Simoes second goal, assisted by Chris Fitzpatrick.

Three more Demons goals established Kitimats dominance at 5-2 before the end of the second period, on scores by Terry Whelan (assists by Jeremy Brady, Jeff Mildenberger), Jonnie Aiken, who unleashed a hard shot to the top corner, over Paul Simoes’ shoulder (assists by Daniel Mayer, Jeff Baker), and a power-play goal by Geoff Morgan (assists by Derek Wakita, Blaine Markwart).

The tiring Omineca team was too shorthanded to offer much to fight back with as Demons scored five more times in the third on goals by Derek Wakita (Dave Venman), Daniel Mayer, (Jeff Baker, Dave Venman), Nick Markowski (Jeremy Brady), Nick Markowski again (Geoff Morgan, David Venman) and Jeff Mildenberger, (Geoff Morgan, Jonnie Aiken) . Simoes tallied again for his hat-trick goal to make the score 8-3, with assists to Derek Little and Chris Fitzpatrick.

A fight between Greg Sabey and Nolan O’Brien, with 2:50 gone in the third, left the Ice even more shorthanded although Kyle Boudreault had been ejected from the game for the Demons with 10 minutes gone in the first period.

Ice Demons had 47 shots in the game against a total of 12 by Omineca.

On Sunday, the shooting gallery continued with the backup goaltender in net for the Omineca Ice. The two teams played a fairly even first period with Demons scoring the only goal of the frame, by Greg Sabey (Jeremy Brady, Dave Venman). But things opened up a bit more in the second as the Demons began to skate. They picked up goals from Jeff Baker ( Brandon Wakita, Jonnie Aiken) and Geoff Morgan (Jeff Mildenberger, Jonnie Aiken).

In the third Backham saw a total of 20 shots, letting in four goals; Daniel Mayer, (Dave Venman, Derek Wakita), Greg Sabey, (Jeff Mildenberger, Dave Venman), Daniel Mayer (Jeff Mildenberger, Dave Venman) and finally from Ian Coleman (Derek Wakita).
Jamie Moran earned his third shutout of the season as he stopped all 16 Ice shots, while Backham gave up seven goals on 54 shots.
Demons had two minor penalties and the Ice one in a quiet game.

In other games Saturday night the Smithers Steelheads ended their season with an 8-4 win over the Burns Lake Braves to end their regular season. The Houston Luckies pounded the Terrace River Kings 9-2 to take sole possession of first place in the West Division with 18 points. Two points behind are both the Burns Lake Braves (with a game in hand) and the Williams Lake Stampeders.

This division may see some changes next weekend when Williams Lake hosts Burns Lake for a pair of games and Houston visits the Ice in Vanderhoof for a pair. In the west the Prince Rupert Rampage will be in Hazelton for an important Saturday night game. A win by Hazelton would clinch them a playoff spot against the Ice Demons in the first round, while a loss and two wins by Terrace in their final two games, also against the Demons, could snatch the playoff spot from the Wolverines.