The Kootenay Ice had a great road first period on Wednesday night, but couldn’t see the game through to a full 60 minutes.
In Regina for the first time this season, for their second game against the Pats, the Ice were denied a third straight win by a more complete opponent who won 5-1.
“We came out pretty good, [but] we made a [few] too many errors,” said Ice forward Alec Baer after the game. “[We] gave up some odd-man rushes and they capitalized on their chances.
While the first five minutes were fairly even, with both teams exchanging rush chances, the Pats started to take control after a series of power plays.
The Pats had three man advantage chances in the opening 15 minutes and generated pressure, but were foiled by their former goalie prospect Kurtis Chapman, and a smart Kootenay penalty kill.
Despite outshooting the Cranbrook visitors 15 to 9 in the first period, the Pats let in the first goal of the game, three minutes before the first intermission.
Finding a loose puck in the neutral zone, Colton Kroeker skated down the wing and shot a puck that bounced off goalie Max Paddock’s pad straight to Alec Baer.
The goal gave Kroeker his team-leading 18th point in 16 game and pushed his scoring streak to six straight games.
The 1-0 lead was short lived after the break, however, and four minutes into the second period, Robbie Holmes threw a puck in front of the net that connected with Cale Fleury’s skate and beat Chapman.
The unlucky bounce for Kootenay was quickly followed up by an odd-man rush that pinned Ryan Pouliot, as the lone defender, against four speedy Pats attackers.
Opting to shoot, Holmes once again beat Chapman but was stopped by a post before Jake Leschyshyn batted in the rebound.
Soon after, a freshly healthy Sam Steel was given a pass in front of a yawning Ice cage but somehow hit the far post. Moments later though, Leschyshyn added an insurance goal with a perfect snapshot off a partial break.
With a comfortable 3-1 lead, Regina continued to outplay Kootenay for the rest of the period and finally scored again in the latter stages as former Ice forward Tanner Sidaway found Koby Morrisseau near the slot and the 17-year-old ripped in his first goal of the year.
Sidaway, who was traded from the Ice with a draft pick almost a month ago in exchange for Jeff de Wit, had two assists in the Pats win — his first two points for his new team.
Although the Ice had a bounce back period to end the night, after switching goalies and giving newly-acquired Duncan McGovern his first action, the team failed to convert any goals and let in a power play marker to Dawson Davidson in the final three minutes of the contest.
Overall, the Ice were outshot 42 to 23 by the Pats, and failed to convert on both their power play opportunities. Chapman made 24 saves on 28 shots during his time in net and McGovern made 13 saves on 14 shots, while also picking up two penalty minutes.
“I thought we played a really good, smart road game in the first period and got pucks behind their [defence] and managed the puck [well] at the blue line,” said head coach James Patrick. “In the second period, some bad habits came out and [we didn’t have] very good support in the defensive zone.”
With the loss, the Ice dipped back below .500 and have a record of 7-8-1-0 as they finish up their road trip in Brandon on Friday and Saturday. Boasting a 9-5-0-1 record, but entering with a two game losing-streak, the Wheat Kings will no doubt still be a formidable challenge.
“We just have to be a little bit better [next game],” Baer said. “We can’t get down on ourselves if [our opponent] gets a goal or two… in the end [though], we need to score more. It’s hard to win games with only one goal.”
Following the three-game game road trip, the Ice return to Cranbrook, but don’t play until Friday, November 10, in a home game at Western Financial Place against the Prince Albert Raiders.
ICE CHIPS: The Kootenay Ice were missing two players to injury and one due to an international commitment. Defenceman Loeden Schaufler remained out with an upper body injury, which is projected to last another four weeks, and Jeff de Wit is still one-to-two weeks from recovering from a lower body injury. Peyton Krebs, meanwhile, is in Dawson Creek, B.C., competing with Team Canada Red at the World U-17 Challenge Cup.
Kootenay 1 0 0 – 1
Regina 0 4 1 – 5
1st Period-1, Kootenay, Baer 5 (Kroeker), 16:28. Penalties-served by Sheen Ktn (too many men), 3:19; Bodak Ktn (holding), 8:30; Taphorn Ktn (slashing), 13:06; Schioler Reg (charging), 18:36.
2nd Period-2, Regina, Holmes 4 (Zamula, Sidaway), 4:12. 3, Regina, Leschyshyn 3 (Holmes, King), 4:59. 4, Regina, Leschyshyn 4 (Schioler), 6:49. 5, Regina, Morrisseau 1 (Sidaway), 16:30. Penalties-No Penalties
3rd Period-6, Regina, Davidson 5 (Smart), 16:57 (PP). Penalties-Mahura Reg (holding), 4:59; McGovern Ktn (hooking), 16:14.
Shots on Goal-Kootenay 9-4-10-23. Regina 15-13-14-42.
Power Play Opportunities-Kootenay 0 / 2; Regina 1 / 4.
Goalies-Kootenay, Chapman 4-4-0-0 (28 shots-24 saves); McGovern 0-0-0-0 (14 shots-13 saves). Regina, Paddock 3-3-0-0 (23 shots-22 saves).