The Prince Rupert Rampage chased the Kitimat Ice Demons from behind in a season home opener, ultimately losing 7-4 on Oct. 16.
The Rampage fell behind early after the Ice Demons scored within the first two minutes, followed by a second goal before the end of the first period.
“It didn’t go the way we wanted it to go, I know that, but you know what? Kitimat came here, and they were hungry. They played hard, and we just got a step behind early,” Roger Atchison, Rampage coach, said.
However, the Rampage did not count themselves out and hit the ice fighting back in the second period to tie the game two-a-piece. Staying strong, the Ice Demons continued their offensive onslaught scoring up 5 - 3 by the end of the second.
In the third period, it looked like a possible come-back for the home team when they came out firing to cut their opponent’s lead to one goal.
The hosts continued to hound their opponent’s defence through the final period. As time quickly ticked away, they pulled their goaltender with the Rampage aiming to overtake their opponents late in the third. However, an empty-net goal and another puck in the back of the wrong net ended the Rampage’s first game with a loss.
The season home opener was the first competitive hockey game in more than 18 months since the global pandemic shut down organized sports across the nation.
“We just got to knock some rust off and be better. There are lots of little mistakes — and not necessarily mistakes, just the puck’s not bouncing our way, and we paid. Every time we made a mistake, it was in our net,” Atchison said.
“The guys have been practicing, but to step on the ice in a big game in front of your crowd, they were just a little stressed, under the gun and didn’t play like they normally should.”
The game was held in a memorial tribute to the late Rupert Rampage team trainer Jules Robinson and dedicated to the Every Child Matters movement.
Rampage players wore commemorative orange jerseys in solidarity with the movement as well as memorial patches for the beloved team trainer.
The Rampage will next host the Hazelton Wolverines on Oct. 23 at Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.
Norman Galimski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View