REPORTING · 14th March 2011
Kitimat Ice Demons prevail 8-5 in final game over Williams Lake Stampeders to take fourth Coy Cup title in six seasons
The Kitimat Ice Demons put the icing on the cake in Prince Rupert on Saturday, March 12, after an up and down CIHL season. They beat their nemesis, the Williams Lake Stampeders, 3-0 in the round robin and 8-5 in the final, to win their fourth Coy Cup, (the B.C. Senior Men's AA provincial championship) in six seasons.
For the two teams it was a reversal over the 2008-9 season, when the Ice Demons won the CIHL playoff championship and the Rio Tinto Alcan Cup, but lost to the Stampeders in the Coy Cup in Terrace B.C. It was the Stampeders then who went on to win the provincial championship Cup. This season, the Demons lost the CIHL championship and won the Coy.
The CIHL final, game three of the best of three series, was played in Williams Lake and the Denons lost it by only one goal, in a 7-6. Just over a week later the two teams faced one another again in the opening game of the Coy Cup in Prince Rupert.
The Ice Demons broke a scoreless game with five minutes to play in the third period, scoring three times in less than two minutes, sending the Stampeders – frustrated – back to the dressing room. Goals were scored by Daniel Mayer (Craig Hewitson, Blaine Markwart) on the power play, at 14.18 (with Phil Simoes in the box for slashing); then 30 seconds later, by Derek Wakita (Jeff Baker) and finally by Blaine Markwart (Wade Masch, Craig Hewitson), at 16.03.
Kitimat, with this first win over the Stampeders, added to it with a 3-2 win over the host Prince Rupert Rampage. The defending champion Powell River Regals then toppled the Demons, 5 to 3. After all the Round Robin games were played three teams; the Demons, the Stampeders and the Regals,each had two wins and the BCAHA rules were applied to break the tie. The Regals had a win over the Rampage and the Demons, while Williams Lake beat the Regals and the Rampage. After the goals-for and goals-against formula was applied. Kitimat earned the coveted bye in to the final by the narrowest of margins.
Thus, Williams Lake lined up against the Regals in the semi-finals Friday night to seek a spot against the Demons in the final. They succeeded with a stirring second victory over the 2010 champs, shutting them out 1-0 in the first 3-0 in the second before the dam burst in the third as the very-physical Regals rallied to close the gap first 4-3, then 5-4 with two shorthanded goals. Powell River then gave it the last ditch effort by pulling their Goaltender for six attackers and the Stamps scored an empty-net goal, with just under a minute remaining taking the second spot in the final with a 6-4 win.
In the final game the Ice Demons took the offensive early scoring twice in the first period on goals by Daniel Mayer (Jeff Baker, Doug Higginson) and Jeff Mildenberger (Craig Hewitson). However, the Demons lost defenseman Jeff Baker just six minutes in when he suffered a painful groin injury that forced him to leave the game. Williams Lake expended major effort, out-shooting the Demons 9 – 8, but found goaltender Jamie Moran playing at his very best with energetic defenders and back-checkers. In the second period the pressure from Williams Lake continued, but the Demons went ahead 3 – 0 on a backhanded skipper shot by Ben Rego (Ian Coleman) that eluded Stampeder goaltender Justin Foote.
Down by three, the Stampeders upped the pressure and finally got the puck behind Moran off the stick of Gilbert Robbins (Jeff Gagnon, Brent McIsaac) and surged back with a second, to make it a one goal lead (3-2) when the Demon defence lost the puck behind the net and Wilfred Robbins finished the play, with assists to Francis Johnson and Robin Gilbert.
The Ice Demons immediately pushed back and restored a two goal lead with young defenseman Kyle Madsen (Daniel Mayer) hammering a hard point shot behind Foote
to make the score 4-2.
Then with under two minutes left in the second, Terry Whelan added a pretty goal as he finished off a great tick-tack-toe passing play with Derek Wakita and Ian Coleman, who each earned assists on the play.
That's how the teams went to the second intermission, with the Demons leading 5-2, knowing Williams Lake could pull a couple of irons out of the fire for dramatic third period goal outbursts.
And it looked like maybe Williams Lake could pull it off again. They closed in the score with two early goals in the third period. The first on a power-play goal by Jeff Gagnon (Paul Girodat, Gilbert Robbins) at the 213 mark of the period and then, one minute later, a controversial after-the-whistle goal. It appeared as if the puck was pushed across the line after the whistle but Referee Korey Martens conferred with his linesmen and awarded the goal, much to the consternation of the Demons' bench and the crowd.
Despite Kitimat complaints the goal stood. The Demons players then rallied hard and goaltender Moran put up the wall and there was no further scoring until 14.28 when a fast up-ice clearance by David Venman, from inside the Demons' zone, sent Craig Hewitson in alone on a breakaway on Justin Foote. The centre made no mistake and restored the Demons lead at 6-4. Just 38 seconds later Kory Finn put the knife into the wound for Williams Lake, when he tipped a Rob Lafferty shot past Foote; 7-4.
Although Robin Gilbert (Francis Johnson, Wilfred Robbins, scored for the Stampeders under a minute later, the die was cast and Blaine Markwart finished it off with an empty net slap shot goal with an assist going to Ian Coleman making the final score; 8 to 5.
The win was very satisfying for the Ice Demons, especially after the one-goal loss in the CIHL playoff final along with the illness of their head coach Danny Baker. Baker was replaced as coach for the Coy Cup competition by Mike Steponavicius. Baker came on to the ice and was saluted as the Coy Cup gold medals and the Cup itself was presented to Derek Wakita by BCAHA Senior Hockey representative, Mike Fraser.
Jamie Moran earned player of the game for the second time in the week.
The host Prince Rupert Rampage put on a good show for the Coy Cup but were disappointed by the level of local support after the Rampage was eliminated Wednesday night.
A large contingent of Kitimat fans arrived for the Saturday night final and gave the Ice Demons great support throughout the game.
A great crowd came up from Kitimat to support the Demons including Levi Hewitson, appropriately dressed for the occasion. Levi was also on the ice for the Cup presentation.
The victorious Kitimat Ice Demons posed for a team picture after winning their fourth Coy Cup in six years
As BCAHA rep, Mike Fraser readies to present the Coy Cup to Demons' captain Derek Wakita, assistant captain Jeff Mildenberger holds up the championship banner with injured assistant captain Jeff Baker
Game star, Ice Demons goaltender, Jamie Moran was interviewed for video by local sportscaster Mike Sidhu.