Tuesday, October 06, 2009

How about the Rampage....

The 2009-10 CIHL season is underway and the local member of the loop has already featured its first home stand of the year, splitting a pair of games at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre with the Hazelton Wolves. Saturday night the Rampage provided a convincing win and entertaining game for the home crowd, while Sunday saw them lose a heartbreaking match in a shootout.

The Prince Rupert Rampage are entering their second year in the Central Interior league and there are high expectations that they may begin to show some progress now that they are more familiar with the rigours of the travel and the competition in the eight team circuit.

Their games have quickly become a favourite event in the community with the Civic Centre frequently jammed to capacity for home games, the team is also finding that their efforts are becoming the Monday morning talking points for many Rupertites, who can wait to share some of the details of the weekend action.
You can check out the action through the year as the Rampage work their way through the 2009-10 schedule with playoff ambitions on their minds no doubt.

The local media outlets have been quick to focus in on year two for the Rampage, below are some of the items we have come across in recent days.

Rampage takes three from Hazelton
By Patrick Witwicki
The Daily News
Monday, October 5, 2009

A year ago, the Prince Rupert Rampage would have welcomed a three-point weekend with open arms, as the team struggled for wins in its first season of existence.

Fast forward to the current 2009-10 C1HL senior men's hockey campaign, and while the Rampage opened the season with a win and a shoot-out loss against Hazelton this past weekend at the Jim Ciccone Arena, one could sense that the Rampage were not overly happy at blowing a 3-1 lead to fall 4-3 in a Shoot-out to the Wolverines Sunday afternoon.

Especially after winning the home opener Saturday night by a score of 10-3. The win and the shoot-out loss gave Rupert three points to open the season, while Hazelton gets two.

"(Saturday night) we were a little more polished with crisper passes, and people in the right places," said Rupert's newest player, Rob Millar. "I think we were all a little bit guilty (on Sunday) of thinking it would be a lot easier."

Hazelton won the game in a shootout, as they went a perfect three-for-three on Rupert netminder Keith Movold.

Rupert's final shooter, Brett Stava, missed the net on his deke, allowing Hazelton's Captain Stu Barnes to get the shoot-out winner, as he slid the puck past Movold.

"We've got three skilled guys, so we hope to win it in the first three," said Hazelton coach Richard Simm.

As it turned out, special teams _ and the haunting presence of a former Rampage player - were the determining factors Sunday afternoon.

Leading 3-2 after two periods, the Rampage were handed an early two man advantage, but were unable to beat the Hazelton keeper, Cody Smith, who was outstanding on the afternoon, kicking out 42 of 45 shots he faced.

"Sometimes, everything works welI and other days, it doesn't," said Rampage coach Frank Pyde.

Millar added: "That was probably the TSN turning point there ... five-on three, you should have more chances."

Hazelton then received a power play of their own, and made no mistake, as Phil Morrison blasted home a shot from the point, set up by Al Tolmie and Barnes to make it 3-3.

"We just worked-.a little harder," said Simm.

"We laid back a little, and didn't forecheck as hard (as Saturday)."

Later that period, however, Movold robbed former Rupert Rampage player Curtis Cardinal on the doorstep. Rupert's Chris Woodrow then broke in all alone on Smith, but was stopped, and then he missed a wide-open net on the rebound with the goalie still out of position.

''I'd say we took the play to them, but when a goalie gets hot like that, the longer it stays close, there could be one little bounce," said Millar.

After an impressive performance Saturday night where Rupert dominated from start to finish, the Rampage came out rather slowly on Sunday, despite opening the scoring on an early power play, as Trent Davis fired a shot home. A power failure delayed the start of the game by an hour.

But Cardinal - who was officially given his release by the Rampage on Friday which allowed him to suit up for Hazelton - responded by beating Movold off a partial breakaway midway through the first period to tie it at 1-1.

"He said he was a little rusty because he hadn't played, but he looked good," said Simm "He brings a lot of enthusiasm into the dressing room."

Pyde added: "If I could've traded him, I would've kept him. But I'm not going to stop him from playing."

The goal was also short-handed, and seemed to set the tone for an afternoon where Rupert's special teams struggled.

Rupert went 2-for-9 on the power play, while Hazelton was slightly better at2-for-7.

The Rampage were rather quiet in the second period, up until Millar scored off a set-up from Dan Wright. Barely three minutes later, Woodrow tallied on a power play, firing a rebound upstairs to give Rupert a 3-1 lead, but penalty trouble for the Rampage would follow.

This eventually led to the Wolverines scoring a power play goal of their own with just over a minute left in the second period, as Tolmie fired a shot past a screened Movold.

Rupert unofficially out-shot Hazelton 45-25 in the contest.

"The difference was Hazelton played a little better than they did (Saturday)," said Pyde.

"(Saturday night), everything we threw at the net seemed to go in, and (Sunday), their goalie played well. One of the problems we had - nobody was in the front screening him."

Saturday night was a different story, as the Rampage dominated from the opening whistle.

Rupert led 3-0 after one period, after goals by captain Colt Stava, Chris Brlecic and Greg Sheppard.

But the wildest minute of the entire weekend came in the final minute of that first period, as both teams enjoyed a breakaway, but could not score highlighted by a huge poke-check by Movold on Cardinal in close.

But not to be outdone, Hazelton's Cory Croft came up with the save of the weekend when he robbed Brlecic off a two-on-one with only 2.1 seconds left on the clock in that opening stanza.

"We kind of left him out to dry there on Saturday," said Simm.

"But steady goaltending ... that's all you need."

The Rampage then made it 4-0 when Millar scored a short-handed marker.

Hazelton briefly made things interesting by scoring two goals by Matt Wolfenden and Matthew Ranahan both assisted by Cardinal - to make it 4-2, but Aaron Armstrong retaliated by deflecting home a shot from Jeremy Boot.

Less than 30 seconds later, Millar completed the hat trick to make it 6-2, and the rout was on. Rupert led 9-2 after two, and coasted to the 10-3 victory.

Rupert's next game is on the road, as they travel to Terrace to take on the winless River Kings Saturday night. Terrace lost their home opener to the Kitimat Ice Demons Friday night by a score of 6-0, and while the River Kings played a better hockey game in Saturday's rematch down in Kitimat, the Ice Demons won that game too 6-4.

Rupert's next home game will be Sat. Oct. 17 against Kitimat.

No comments: