A nail-biting home game opener saw the Omineca Ice lose by one goal in their first home game of the season against the Quesnel Kangeroos on Sunday October 9.
Quesnel opened up the scoring with a goal from Joel Boyetchko in the second minute of the first period. Five minutes later, the Ice answered with two goals, the first from Cam Kilbreath assisted by Mike Corby and Jeremy Kuharchuk, the second from Tyrell Turgeon assisted by Justin Barderson.
The Ice looked confident as they entered the second period and Rylan Stanyer made it 3 – 1 for the Ice with a goal after four minutes assisted by Tyrell Turgeon and Justin Barderson.
With seven minutes to go in the second period Quesnel tightened the scoring gap with a goal from Rigby Burgart bringing the score to 3-2 for Vanderhoof for the start of the third period.
Two quick goals from Quesnel after nine minutes in the last period saw them take the lead, with the Ice unable to come through with a fourth goal for a draw.
Both teams were pretty evenly matched in the number of penalties with a total of 12 for the Ice and 13 for the Kangeroos.
Omineca Ice coach Chris Reed says a weak defense let the team down.
“It was a good game … I thought we ran out of gas at the end there,” he said.
“We’re missing our two best defense men tonight – our forwards were good I thought but our defense was really weak in this game.”
After a large number of losses last season, Omineca Ice coaches say they have worked hard to put together a stronger team this year, with lots of new players.
“We’ve rebuilt this team but it’s going to take some time to get going,” said coach Jim Reed.
“But we have a good strong young team this year and our discipline is much better than last year for sure,” he added.
The Omineca Ice played their first game of the season in Quesnel on October 1, losing another tight game, 5-4 to the Kangeroos.
A cross-divisional game was scheduled on the evening of October 8 against the Prince Rupert Rampage but it was cancelled at the last minute when the Rampage were unable to get a team together. Vanderhoof gained two points for the cancelled game by forfeit.
This weekend the Ice head to away games in both Terrace and Hazelton.
The next home game will be on Saturday October 29 against the Lac La Hache Tomahawks and October 30 against the Terrace River Kings.
“It’s going to be quite a winter … and we will get wins,” said Chris.
“But it would be nice if the fans came down and watched us play because the team is a lot better this year … it will be a good season – I guarantee it.”