CONTRIBUTION · 11th January 2010
After a horrendous season, a last place finish that left them dead last and the only team out of the CIHL playoffs, the Terrace River Kings ended the season with two weekend losses; in Terrace 7-4, on Friday night and 4-2 in Tamitik in Kitimat on Saturday night.
Terrace ended the season as they usually do, in a barrage of flying fists. There were five fights in the last game, including four of them in the final 20 seconds just after Ian Coleman had settled the issue with an empty net goal.
It seemed all combatants were willing and ready to drop the gloves as players had been challenging each other all night long after the usual bitter Kitimat-Terrace rivalry.
On Saturday, the Demons were even more dominating than usual as the defense helped protect back-up goalie, young Selkirk Botrokoff, making his first CIHL game start and registering the win. The league’s top goaltender, Jamie Moran, obligingly sat in the back-up spot for Botrokoff who faced a total of 18 shots. Botrokoff give up a goal in the second period and a 2nd goal late in the third period. He had to make some fine saves in the third as Terrace played for a little pride after a slow, futile start. At the other end, the Ice Demons peppered Terrace goaltender Brad Norwood with 46 shots total, as he had one of his better outings.
Demons scored with the first shot of the game from Brandon Wakita (Kory Finn, Jon Aiken) and nine minutes later Terry Whelan finished off a tic-tac-toe play with Blaine Markwart and Jeff Mildenberger.
Demons made it 3-0 in the second on a power-play goal by David Venman (Mildenberger and Brandon Wakita.) Terrace finally got on the board when Tristan Murray found room to put a shot behind Botrokoff just past the midway point of the period.
That was all the scoring until the third when Coby Johnson slid an innocent looking sharp angle shot into the crease that fooled the young goalie (unassisted).
Terrace seemed to take heart and put on a more determined effort, but the Demons frustrated them with puck control and when Norwood was pulled in the final minute for an extra attacker, Ian Coleman put the final nail in the coffin with a nice point shot into the empty cage.
There had been an in-play fight between Demons Kyle Boudreault and Kings Ryan Watson in the second period that ended up with no conclusion and both were ejected.
As the teams lined up for what was expected to be the final face off, after Coleman’s goal at 19.48 of the third, several players dropped the gloves one after the other, for four short battles, that kept the officials on the hop.
First Kings Tristan Murray and Kory Finn tussled, then while Demons David Venman and Kyle Leblond went at it, with Venman doing the most damage, Greg Morgan of the Demons was challenged by Coby Johnson and they had a spirited fight that wound up with the officials dragging Morgan off the top of Johnson after both got a couple of licks in. To finalize matters, just as the puck was ready to be dropped with three seconds left, former teammates in Kitimat, Ian Coleman and Tyler Daum (Kings) wrestled one another to the ground. Then everyone politely shook hands and went home. Total penalties were Demons, 105 minutes, Kings, 98 minutes. The fans roared throughout.
On Friday night it was much the same situation. Kitimat brought a short bench due to missing working players (Terry Whelan, Greg Sabey, Jeff Baker) and iced only four defensemen.
Terrace tried a hard hitting game and Kitimat threw a few back. But Terrace was more on the receiving end on shots on goal, especially on the frequent penalty kills – with Kitimat registering a total of 46 shots to 32 by the Kings.
It was close after one period at 1-1, with both goaltenders wondering how they were scored on. Brad Norwood never saw the first actual shot of the game by Jonnie Aiken – a low knee-high rocket that just went in the net. That came at 2:12 into the game. Assists went to Jeff Mildenberger and David Venman.
Steve Cullis (Kyle Holtom, Derek Jurista) tied the game only a minute later after a Demons giveaway in the Terrace end and a weird bounce from behind the net got trickled over Brett Vilness.
Both goalies made up for the early goals with some really great saves throughout the remainder of the period but the Demons opened it up in the second taking the score to 3-1 on goals by Blaine Markwart, Derek Wakita) and Jeff Mildenberger (Blaine Markwart, Derek Wakita.)
Steve Cullis, with his second goal (Holtom) gave the Kings some momentum, which was eradicated by Brandon Wakita (Derek Wakita, Jeff Mildenberger) who made it 4-2 and then, at the end of the second period a nice goal by Daniel Mayer (Derek Wakita, Blaine Markwart) made it 5-2, Demons.
It looked as if the Terrace team had lost it for a while in the third and were just running at bodies as the Demons made the score 7-2 on goals by Blaine Markwart, (Jeff Mildenberger, Geoff Morgan) and Ian Coleman (Daniel Mayer), but Terrace got it together as the four man defense tired a little and Kitimat took some reaction penalties.
Terrace scored two quick goals by Dave Redpath (Tristan Murray, Kyle Holtom) and Brad Owen with a tap-in rebound on a shot by Codey Latimer, with a second assist to Derek Jurista - but that was the end of the scoring as the Demons tightened up the defense and Terrace failed to keep their emotions under control, taking five minors in the last 12 minutes as did the Demons who picked up exactly the same number of penalties.
Kory Finn was handed a major penalty and a game misconduct for a hit from behind, but then Dave Redpath jumped Finn and both were also was banished for fighting.
Demons just controlled the puck and played out the final minutes.
Terrace gave Brad Norwood a break by letting Patrick Leal play the last two thirds of the third period right after the Coleman goal.
Total Penalties - Demons 26 minutes, Terrace 43 minutes, with the 10 minute game misconduct.
Prince Rupert took two points in an exciting and close 4-3 shootout win in the first game of a double header, to clinch third place in the Western Division and earn the right to meet second place Smithers Steelheads in Prince Rupert on Jan. 16.
In other games the Houston Luckies got one hand on first place as they tallied their 20th points of the season in an 8-4 win over the Omineca Ice in Vanderhoof while the Williams Lake Stampeders kept their hopes for first place alive for at least one more day as they spanked the Burns Lake Braves on home ice, 9-2, for sole possession of second spot in the Division. All six teams play the second half of their double headers today (Sunday).