REPORTING · 14th December 2010
Except for the Hazelton Wolverines, who are struggling this season, the three other teams in the CIHL West division are in a virtual dead heat. With the Terrace River Kings taking a recent series of defeats both the Kitimat Ice Demons and the Prince Rupert Rampage find themselves at the top of the standings. The Rampage pushed to the very top last weekend after taking another four points from Hazelton in a double header while the River Kings gave up four points to the CIHL East team, the Houston Luckies. The Ice Demons were idle on this weekend however the previous weekend they also stole 4 points from Hazelton. This series of points grabs and losses moved the Rampage to the top with 14 points and held Terrace at 12 now tied with Kitimat.
The Rampage will have one more opportunity this year to beat the River Kings, which they have been unsuccessful in doing so far this season, except for the first match, which Rupert had to forfeit due to unregistered players on the team. This game will be Friday, December 17, on home ice for the Rampage, a serious advantage having won every game at the Jim Ciccione Civic Centre.
The next day Terrace will be in Kitimat to face the Ice Demons. This decades long rivalry has gained intensity this season as the Kings humiliated the Demons at the beginning of the season, October 9, by a score of 7 to zip. It took seven long weeks before the Demons had a chance to redeem themselves and on November 27 they returned the favour, finding Terrace on a losing streak (a double header loss to Smithers) and took the Kings down another notch, 8 to 3.
Terrace and Kitimat will be the last teams to play in the CIHL West this year, Saturday December 18 in Kitimat and after the Christmas festivities, on Thursday, December 30 in Terrace.
Mathematically there is no possibility for the year to end with these three top teams tied, one will take the lead or two will be tied for the top spot.
Terrace could add 6 points to their total as they will play three games.
Kitimat could add 4 points if they win both games against Terrace.
Rupert can only add another 2 as they will only play one game, again against Terrace.
If Terrace lost all 3 games, Kitimat and Rupert would lead the division tied at 16 points leaving Terrace trailing at 12. Terrace could leapfrog the Rampage with a return to their disciplined style of play from the early season and win all 3 games pushing them to the top at 18 points. Every other combinations of wins and losses except for ‘split points games’ sees these three quality teams fighting to get to 16 points. Except for one game in the New Year, January 8 in Kitimat, the Demons vs the Rampage, these teams will not play each other again before the playoffs. The showdown begins this Friday and Saturday, get out and support your team.