Kootenay Ice goaltender Payton Lee watches as Ice forward Barrett Sheen guards Swift Current Broncos forward Tyler Steenbergen on a wrap-around attempt during their game on December 14

Kootenay Ice goaltender Payton Lee watches as Ice forward Barrett Sheen guards Swift Current Broncos forward Tyler Steenbergen on a wrap-around attempt during their game on December 14

Broncos hand Ice fourth straight loss

The Kootenay Ice lost 5-2 to the Swift Current Broncos to continue their losing skid.

“Here we go again.”

That was the cry of a woman in the back corner of Western Financial Place as the Swift Current Broncos scored to make it 4-2 over the Kootenay Ice at the end of the second period.

Her exasperation rang out across the building and expressed the feelings of the majority of the 1,506 fans around her, as well as the 20 Kootenay players on the ice.

The Ice ended up losing the game 5 -2, and have now lost their past four games. It was the second night in a row that they haven’t picked up a point and they’ve been bested by three goals or more.

“I thought we were good for the first ten minutes,” said head coach Luke Pierce, following the disappointing night. “We need to find a way to capitalize on teams a little better than we did [tonight] … we gave [the Broncos] an opportunity to get back in the game.

“They’re a team that plays quick. They pressured hard — much like we’re asking our guys to do — they just did a way better job of it.”

After a very tough start against Kelowna on Saturday, in which the Ice dug a 3-0 hole for themselves in the first period, Vince Loschiavo opened the scoring just 35 seconds in against the Broncos.

The feisty forward let a wrist shot go from the top of the circle that beat Travis Child for his 11th goal of the season. Although Loschiavo has now scored in each of his past six games — with seven goals and two assists in that time frame — he’s still not satisfied with the level he’s playing at.

“[Matt] Alfaro and [Zak Zborosky] have been playing really well and [on my goal, Zborosky] made a great forecheck, I got the puck and was lucky to get it in,” he said. “It’s obviously nice to contribute offensively, but the bottom line is that we have to start winning … I feel like I have more to give. In these past few games I don’t think I’ve been at my best.”

While a pair of Broncos’ goals from Conner Chaulk and Ryan Graham in the second half of the period took some of the wind out of the Ice’s sails, the top-line of Alfaro, Zborosky and Loschiavo cashed in again with Alfaro tipping in a goal less than a minute and half before the intermission.

“For the most part, they’ve been very good [and] I thought as a line they went toe-to-toe with their top line,” Pierce said on his top three forwards. “That’s certainly not our issue — production from our guys that are supposed to produce is there — it’s the rest of the group that needs to find ways to contribute to our game and not just offensively.”

After starting out strong again in the second period, the Ice lost their handle at the end of the second and let in goals to Tyler Steenbergen and Cole Johnson before heading to intermission.

In the third frame, Aleksi Heponiemi put in a double insurance marker for the Broncos to effectively end the game. Despite letting in five goals, Payton Lee made 38 saves and was once again one of the team’s brightest stars, making numerous difficult stops.

“I carry a lot on my shoulders [in these situations],” Lee said on the negative outcome. “I’m an older goalie and one of the leaders on this team, so when we lose it’s my fault.”

While Barrett Sheen ensured that his team left swinging, participating in a spirited fight with Kade Jensen to end the night, it was a somber postgame atmosphere.

“I thought we didn’t have our best practices this week, [we struggled] executing passes and [were] going through the motions,” Loschiavo said on potential factors in their loss. “We have to practice how we play because it’s going to translate into our games. If guys don’t care, it’s going to show in the game and that’s partially what happened tonight.”

Pierce agreed that their practices haven’t been at the level they need to be, but also felt that his team needs to be more supportive of one another if they want to be successful.

“We’ve tried to keep our atmosphere as light as possible around our room and the guys seem to enjoy being around each other, which is a positive,” he said. “But we’ve got to translate that into games and I think we’re still too critical of each other as teammates.”

Pierce also recognized that a lot of credit for the outcome of the game had to go to the Broncos. Swift Current outshot Kootenay 43-23 and scored all five of their goals at even-strength.

“[We] have to give our opponent some credit. I thought they changed their game drastically after the timeout in the first,” he said. “We didn’t respond well enough. We got back on our heels [and] instead of pushing back, we sat there and took it.”

The Ice now have their sights set on the weekend. They play the Kamloops Blazers at home on Saturday and then travel to Calgary on Sunday to play the Hitmen before getting a week off for the Christmas holidays.

Although the Blazers will be playing their sixth of a seven-game road trip at Western Financial Place, and are without all-star goalie Connor Ingram, who has been selected to Canada’s World Juniors team, Pierce knows it will still be a very tough match.

“[The Blazers] are a good hockey team,” he said. “They could be playing their fourth in three days and they’d still be a tough team to play.

“They work extremely hard and [their backup goalie Dylan] Ferguson was the [WHL] goalie of the Week last week, so there’s nothing about their trip or the absence of Connor Ingram that will make them an easier team to play… we’re going to have to be ready for [that game].”

According to Pierce, the last two games before their break are vitally important.

“You don’t want that week [off] as a coach or a player to be one where you’re still mad about the way you finished,” he said. “You want to go home and talk to your family about how excited you are about the way you’re playing [and that] things are going good.

“We hope our leadership can find a way to push our guys.”

At the end of the day however, both the coach and players alike are still trying their hardest to keep things enjoyable. For Pierce however, maximizing fun isn’t something you can do without giving the game your all.

“At the end of day, the foundation of the game is fun. That’s what the game was created for, so that people would enjoy it,” he said. “It’s not fun, it’s not enjoyable when you can’t have success, but really hard work becomes enjoyable and that’s where your fun will start.

“You’ll start to see yourself get better [and] see your teammates have success and that’s what makes the game fun.”

Puck drop for Saturday’s contest is at 7 p.m. It’s the only time this year that the Ice will face off against the Blazers.

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read