The Quesnel Kangaroos followed their 2019 playoff protocol and came out strong early against the Terrace River Kings in Game 1 of the Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL) playoff finals on Saturday (Feb. 23).
“We got off to a good start again, which we seem to be doing all playoffs,” says Roos forward Justin Fulton. “We got a goal right off the hop and started rolling from there.”
The Quesnel squad led 4-1 after the period and added a pair in the second, leaving the Terrace Sportsplex with a 6-2 victory and giving them a chance to clinch their first CIHL playoff title at home this weekend.
Alessio Tomassetti and Tommy Grant each netted a pair of goals, while Chad Kimmie and Justin Fulton added singles to pace the Roos, who are now 3-0 in the playoffs.
As important as it is to mention the guys who scored, anyone who watches hockey knows there is a lot more that goes on to create energy for the top lines.
“We have a pretty deep team all through, from lines one through four,” says head coach Harley Gilks. “Our third-line guys (Curtis Gassoff, Jonathon Belyan and Brady Godsoe), they don’t have a lot of points, but the chances they get and the work ethic that they have is phenomenal.
“They’re game changers, that’s for sure.”
Netminder Brandon Peacock also drew praise from his coach and teammates.
“He is always standing on his head,” says Fulton. “He’s a big part of our success this year.”
“The way he can stop that puck and see the ice is insane,” the head coach says.
Even though they were on away ice, Tomassetti says some Quesnel fans made the eight-hour drive to cheer them on.
“That’s a long way,” he says, “And it just shows the great support we get. We really appreciate it.”
The fan support should build up even more momentum when the Roos play Game 2 this Saturday ( Mar. 2).
“We’re pretty pumped,” Fulton says. “We’re expecting to see the barn pretty packed. It’ll be cool if we can win it at home. It seems every game we get more and more fans, and it really helps us out.”
Coach Gilks says it was all anybody could talk about on the ride home.
“Everyone’s eager to see a crowd that’s going to come out and help us win this thing.”
The Roos will take every bit of help they can get as the River Kings have their backs to the wall and will be intent on putting forth a strong effort in the next game.
“They’re a good club too,” says Gilks. “So with them needing these wins, no matter what, they’re definitely going to come ready to play.
“But we’re going to keep doing everything that we’re doing as of right now.”