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CONTRIBUTION · 28th January 2010
Allen Hewitson
Itís Demons v Steelheads and Stampeders v Luckies in CIHL divisional finals, this Saturday

Despite one upset win by the Ominea Ice over the Houston Luckies, last Saturday night in Houston, the CIHL Divisional semi-finals all wound up as expected, with the Luckies, the Kitimat Ice Demons, the Williams Lake Stampeders and the Smithers Steelheads all moving to the division finals.

However, this is where the tough will really have to get going and these are expected to be a challenging set of best-of-three playoffs. Last yearís defending Rio-Tinto Cup champions, the Kitimat Ice Demons, maintained their long winning streak, which began October 7, with a second runaway victory, 9-0, over the short-handed and over-matched Hazelton Wolverines. The Demons took the playoff round 2-0, having defeated the Wolverines 7-1 in Hazelton.

In the other West Division semi-final, the Smithers Steelheads, also dispatched the Prince Rupert Rampage, in its first playoff run, in two games also. Steelheads won the away portion of the playoffs 5-3 in Prince Rupert Jan. 9 and polished off the Rampage in two, getting out to an early lead to win 6-4 on home ice.

In the East Division, after winning the opening game 13-1 on Vanderhoof ice, the division-winning Houston Luckies took too much for granted Saturday and were surprised as the Omineca Ice put in a much better effort and won the second game 4-2, as former Quesnel junior Dustin Robin, popped a hat trick. But the Omenica surge didnít last through Sunday as the Luckies buckled down to work, scoring five unanswered goals to eliminate the Ice, with a dominating 64-shot attack.

In the other East Division match-up, the Burns Lake Braves were probably unlucky to get to game three as they extended the Coy Cup champion Williams Lake Stampeders into overtime. After both teams were knotted at 5-5 at the end of three periods, the overtime was exciting, but Paul Girodatís goal at the 6.16 mark allowed the Stampeders to breathe a sigh of relief and send the Braves back to Burns Lake, saying ďwhat if...Ē

So Saturday will see the Kitimat Ice Demons, looking for, and likely to experience, a much more difficult game against the Steelheads in Smithers. The Steelheads will be looking for their first win over the Ice Demons this season and thatís likely a sore point with Smithers. Last season, Smithers played in the East Division and were ousted in the division final by the Williams Lake Stampeders, who subsequently lost to the Ice Demons.

In the East Division it will be the Houston Luckies, as division winners, traveling to Williams Lake in what is expected to be another ďanybodyís- gameĒ event.

Both series could easily be best of three.