The Williams Lake Stampeders will need back-to-back road victories next weekend to bring home the Central Interior Hockey League playoff championship.
The Stamps were edged 6-5 Saturday night in Williams Lake at the hands of the Terrace River Kings, whose Ben Reinbolt notched the overtime winner just over three minutes into overtime in game one of the best-of-three series.
Williams Lake dug itself a hole early in the contest, as Terrace marched out of the gates to go up 2-0 just three minutes into the contest with goals from Luke Walker and Nick Homeniuk. Terrace would add another tally from Reinbolt late in the frame to carry a 3-0 lead into the second period.
The Stampeders would narrow the deficit in the second with goals from Danny Merth, Kurtis Bond and Jassi Sangha, but Terrace would light the lamp two more times in the period to command a 5-3 lead heading into the third period.
There, Williams Lake continued to apply pressure in the River Kings zone. Wilfred Robbins dangled through the Kings’ defence with under five minutes to play to put the Stamps’ within one, before Stu Sasges pounced on a loose puck in front of the Terrace net to tie the game with under two minutes to play and force overtime.
Those heroics were short lived, however, as Terrace’s Reinbolt blasted a shot from the slot just under three minutes into overtime to fool a screened Foote, giving the River Kings the 6-5 win.
Game two and, if needed, game three are slated for next Saturday and Sunday in Terrace, before both teams will be back in action in Williams Lake at the end of March to compete for the Coy Cup Senior Men’s ‘AA’ Provincial Championship.