REPORTING · 25th September 2011
The Kitimat Ice Demons hosted a successful Northern Challenge Cup going two and zero with a well-earned win in the Northern Challenge Cup final, 6-3, over the Smithers Steelheads in Kitimat Saturday night.
Goaltending and speed was the difference as the Ice Demons got to Mike Wall early, then ran up a 5-0 lead using the big ice very well, especially in a dominating second period, before the Steelheads launched their own version of push back in the third period.
But it was too little too late, as David Venman, hit for Kitimat's 6th goal into an empty net to stop the Steelheads' third period momentum, in the final minute.
Overall the Ice Demons played very solid hockey with a lineup missing at least seven of their regulars, behind sterling goal tending from Brandon Highton and Kollin Alderman.
Kitimat led 1-0 at the first intermission on a goal by Brandon Wakita (Jacob Perierra, Terry Whelan) and then extended that to 4-0, at the end of the second period as first Highton and then Alderman kicked out everything Smithers threw at them.
Shots were Kitimat 9 and Smithers 11 in the first, Kitimat 14, Smithers 12 in the second.
Second period Demons' goals came from Derek DeLisser (Kyle Boudreault, Nick Markowsky), Brandon Wakita (Terry Whelan, Adam Buick) and Terry Whelan (David Venman) with a high corner rocket no goaltender could have stopped.
Jacob Pereirra made it 5-0 (Terry Whelan, Jeff Mildenberger)and the game seemed out of reach.
The Demons relaxed and allowed a push back by Smithers that saw them score three times in seven minutes, on goals by Curt Dekens (Ian Smith, Stu Barnes), Darren McMillan (Jared Sketchley, Stu Barnes) and Ryan Devries (Stu Barnes) - but Jacob Perieira was stoned by Wall on a breakaway and then David Venman, off a faceoff by Derek Wakita angled a long shot into the empty net with just 22 second remaining for a 6-3 finish that was closer than the Demons expected after scoring their fifth goal.
Shots in the third period were Kitimat 11 and Smithers 14.
Kitimat vs Terrace
In their Friday night game, the Ice Demons The Kitimat Ice Demons, with a fairly veteran lineup, looked better prepared for the new season as they rolled over a Terrace River Kings team with a lot of new young faces in the opening game of the Ice Demons Northern Challenge Cup.
But Terrace still managed to put the puck in the back of the Kitimat net four times, and showed a good level of energy and opportunism. Demons led 2-1 at the end of the first period on goals by Jeff Mildeberger (shorthanded, unassisted) and Terry Whelan (Ian Coleman) while Nathan Soucie had his first of two and the games, assisted by Joel Findlay. Soucie (Josh Murray) netted his second to tie the game at 2 - 2 early in the second.
Kitimat regained the lead for good with two goals, just 13 seconds apart, as Kyle Boudreault beat Patrick Leal (with assists to Nick Markowski and newcomer Derek DeLisser, followed after the next face-off by returning vet Scott McGregor (Jon Aiken, Jeremy Brady)scoring his first of two on the night. Ten minutes later Blaine Markwart and Craig Hewitson teamed up for a passing play that was finished off by winger Wade Masch with a tap-in behind ‘mid-way changed’ goaltender Steven Krupop. Skylar Andrews scored a third goal for the River Kings with three minutes left in the period. Jamie Moran played the first half for Kitimat and Brett Vilness brought it home. All four goaltenders made some exiting saves.
Early in the third Scott McGregor added his second goal (Jeremy Brady) before Blaine Markwart snapped home Kitimat's seventh goal (Wade Masch, Jeff Mildenberger).
The game evolved into up and down play, with Derek Jurista getting the River Kings back into the game 7 - 4, before Jonnie Aiken blasted his first of the game with just over two minutes left to play, assisted by Jeremy Brady and Scott McGregor, whop had a three-point night, with two goals and an assist.
All in all, with over some 600 in attendance and a packed beer gardens, the tournament got off to a good start, Friday night.
Smithers vs Rupert
Smithers Steelheads in the double header game Friday were not as convincing as they hoped to be in 4-0 win...over a short-handed Prince Rupert Rampage squad that filled out its playing roster with a couple of Kitimat rookies pickups, winning 4-0, but with two late goals making the advantage look a bit better than it was.
Both teams played it a little scrambly in the first period in particular as players began getting used to the ice again. Timing was off and passes were bouncing around. There was no score at the end of the first period, although Mike Wall was a lot less busy in the Smithers net than his counterpart at the other end.
Early in the second period Cody Kringer (Bobby Smith) put the Steelheads on the board.
Wall stopped a deke attempt on a Rampage penalty shot as the second period followed the pattern of the first, allowing Smithers to take their 1-0 lead to the second intermission.
Former Hazelton Wolverine addition Stu Barnes got assists on two setups in the third period, with Matt Arnold scoring at the 1.24 mark and Adam Devries at 13.38. Jared Sketchley finished off the scoring with two minutes left in the game when he shot a long one that skipped past the Prince Rupert goaltender, Dan Lorette but it was an easy cover he would have wanted to try again on. Overall both teams showed a lack of playing time and cohesion, but the main impression of the Steelheads was that they may be a bigger, better team than last year.