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River Kings' championship dreams dashed
It just wasn’t their year. After a standout season that saw the Terrace River Kings at the top of the Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL) regular season standings, the senior men’s team lost to the Smithers Steelheads in the final game of the western conference final Sunday afternoon.
The two teams battled it out Saturday, Feb. 15 in Terrace – a must-win for the River Kings, down 1-0 in the best of three series after suffering a stunning 8-1 game one loss in Smithers Feb. 8.
And the packed house at the Terrace Sportsplex wasn’t disappointed – back-and-forth game kept the fans on their toes, going into overtime tied at five, in what might have been one of the best CIHL games in years.
The Kings’ Corey Dekelver scored at 8:32 to give Terrace the 6-5 OT win and keep their hopes alive, setting them up for a final, deciding game the next day.
Sunday’s game was physical. The Steelheads, up 2-0 at the end of the first, entered the second period with their roster severely cut, losing two players to injury and seeing two players ejected following a checking from behind call and a tussle between the two teams at the Steelheads’ bench.
But that didn’t stop Smithers from finding the back of the net – they were up 4-0 three minutes into the third – and it wasn’t until nearly 10 minutes later that Terrace was able to answer, making the final score 4-1 Steelheads, to set them up for the CIHL championship finals. Terrace goalie Garrett Muir saw 48 shots during Sunday’s game, with 37 shots on net heading the Steelheads’ way.
In the eastern finals, the Williams Lake Stampeders took two at home against the Quesnel Kangeroos to win the series. This means the Stamps and the Steelheads will meet this weekend to fight for the championship – a repeat of last season’s matchup that ultimately saw Smithers win in two games.