A total of 94 seconds was all the Kootenay Ice needed to blow things open en route to a 5-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes Tuesday night.
“Territorially in the second period, we had the advantage. I know from the shots it looked tight, but it wasn’t,” said Kootenay Ice head coach Ryan McGill over the phone from Lethbridge Tuesday night. “We did a good job of managing the puck and not giving it away. If you did time of possession, I’d say we did a good job of that.”
Forward Tim Bozon tied a Kootenay Ice record by scoring the fastest road goal in franchise history eight seconds into the third period.
The record was originally set Dec. 18, 1998 by Steve McCarthy in Red Deer.
Bozon’s power-play tally stood as the eventual game-winning goal, putting the Ice ahead 3-1 in a game they had largely controlled despite the tight score.
“You score eight seconds in [to the third period] on the power play, that pretty much solidifies it right away,” McGill said. “It just breaks their confidence.”
Bozon’s tally gave the native of Valbonne, France, his 12th goal in as many games, dating back to a hat-trick against the Edmonton Oil Kings Jan. 22.
“His teammates [are] getting him the puck,” McGill said. “It’s not all Tim. Collectively, the group has done a good job of getting him the puck in the areas and he’s shot the puck.
“When he’s getting opportunities to shoot the puck he tries to get it away quick. His teammates are getting him the puck so that’s a good sign.”
After Bozon gave the Ice a two-goal lead, only 86 seconds elapsed before Troy Murray extended the advantage to 4-1.
Matt Alfaro scored his second of the night with a power-play goal 7:08 into the third period, giving the Ice a commanding 5-1 lead.
Hurricanes forward Mike Winther responded with his second of the night to round out the third-period scoring.
After the two teams battled to a scoreless draw through the first half of the game, Ice veteran Austin Vetterl started the festivities midway through the second period with his 10th goal of the campaign.
Alfaro and Winther exchanged goals as the two teams went into the second intermission with only one goal between them.
Alfaro finished the night with two goals and an assist, tying a career high for points in a game.
“We need second and third effort around the net,” McGill said. “Both [Alfaro’s] goals were scored within 10 feet of the net . That’s what has to happen. He has to use his big frame and do that consistently and he did it tonight.”
With one goal and one assist, Murray also produced a multipoint night.
Ice forward Jaedon Descheneau provided helpers on both power-play markers.
Goalie Wyatt Hoflin made 17 saves for his 28th win of the season.
The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Ice. Inconsistency has mired the team all season long.
“We kept our shifts fairly short. We needed to be competitive in every situation and managed the puck properly,” McGill said. “When you do that, the game’s easy. We have to understand that, going into Friday against a team we need to stay ahead of [the Oil Kings], we need to play the exact same way. That’s how you develop consistency. You make sure you’re doing things the right way every shift by being focused and making sure that everybody going out on the ice is on the same page within themselves.”
Tuesday’s road victory boosted the Ice to 29-27-1-1, two points ahead of the Edmonton Oil Kings (26-26-4-2) for the first wild-card seed in the WHL’s Eastern Conference.
Looking the other direction, the Ice trail the Red Deer Rebels by seven points for third in the Central Division.
Next up, the Kootenay Ice return home to host the Edmonton Oil Kings Friday night at Western Financial Place.
Notes: The Kootenay Ice scratched D Bryan Allbee, D Dylan Overdyk, F Ryan Chynoweth, and D Tanner Faith (shoulder, four to six months) Tuesday night…
Video highlights: Kootenay Ice 5 at Lethbridge Hurricanes 2 (Feb. 17, 2015):