Final score: Williams Lake 11 Burns Lake 3
Stamps on to East Final
Was a very unexpected finish to the first round series saturday night between the Braves and Stampeders.
Expecting the Braves to come out with a strong start, knowing there backs were against the wall the Stamps were very prepared for this game. It started out quickly for Williams Lake as a shot on the games first shift went post and in by Wilf Robbins getting the 600 fans in attendance into the game early. Ten minutes and two goalie substitutions later the Stamps led 5-0 on goals by Paul Girodat, Francis Johnson, Gilbert Robbins and Wilf Robbins 2nd. It was a very unfortunate start for the Braves whom I'm sure talked about getting a quick start and did the right things to prepare for the game, but everything just seemed to go against them in the first ten minutes and when your seasons on the line and your down five-bagel off the bat, frustration has a definite way of creeping into your game. Shots in the first were 23-6 Stamps.
Starting the second on a power play the Stamps were able to quickly strike as Wilf Robbins extended the lead to 6 just 17 seconds into the period and completed his hat trick. From that point on the outcome was clearly a formality. Dan Konkin (BL), Wilf Robbins (WL), Josh Weber (BL), Gilbert Robbins (WL) amd Justin Weber (BL) would all find the twine before the period ended sending the teams to the rooms with the stamps maintaining their 5 goals lead.
After a pretty eventless 10 minutes to start the third tempers would start to heat up as Brent McIsaac and Kenneth Schmidt would drop the gloves in a pretty eventless scrap, and with the game winding down the Weber brothers would let the frustration of being eliminated get to them as they started seeking dance partners. Knowing nobody could fight back with under ten to go the Stamps were forced to grapple, hug and cover up as the two Webers jumped Matt Lees and Gilbert Robbins. This is where the game misconduct rule is a HUGE failure in senior hockey. Being forced to cover up and not defend yourself while being jumped and punched for no reason is not okay. Lees and Robbins did the right thing knowing their team needs them next weekend, but had they decided to just defend themselves they would have been suspended for a playoff game... complete b.s. This rule has to be changed for next season. After that the Stamps ended up on a 5 on 3 to finish the game and scored 3 times. Glen Camille, Francis Johnson and Paul Girodat finished the scoring for the Stamps in an 11-3 win.
Overall the series was hyped to be the best match-up of the first round, but in reality the Stampeders depth was just to substantial for the Braves to overcome. On the small rink in Burns the Braves crash and bang style was effective and kept them in the game with a chance to win, but on the bigger ice in the puddle they really had no answer for the higher skilled Stampeders, although a better start could have changed the way this game was played. Definitely a big congrats to the Braves on a really solid year that had some people on here talking Rio Tinto Cup around mid season, it was just an unfortunate ending to finish with a performance that they know is not indicative of the team they have.
As for the Stamps... They will start the second round in Williams Lake against the Smithers Steelheads before returning to the Pond the following weekend in which will certainly be an excellent series between two highly skilled clubs. These teams have only met once before in the playoffs and the heavy under dog Stampeders were able to sweep the Fish on their way to the clubs first and only Coy Cup in 2009. Should be a dandy this year.