From one streak to the next, the Kootenay Ice seem to enjoy going about business in bunches.
After dropping seven consecutive games, the Ice have rattled off three wins in a row following Saturday night’s 3-2 shootout victory over the Swift Current Broncos.
“We got key guys back into the lineup. We were kind of playing short-handed before,” said Kootenay Ice forward Jaedon Descheneau Saturday night. “Once we get a full lineup, we’ve got a good team. We’re going to be fine. It was a tough start, but I think things are turning around. We still need improvement. We weren’t our best today, but we still got two points and that’s all that matters.”
After watching eight shooters go ahead of him, the 19-year-old St. Louis Blues prospect beat Broncos goaltender Landon Bow, the reigning CHL Goaltender of the Week, with a low wrist shot to put the Ice ahead for the first time in the skills competition.
“I just wanted to move the puck and make a couple fakes to see what [Bow] did,” Descheneau added. “He gave me an option to go to that side of the net. I happened to pick the spot I wanted and got lucky.”
That left the fate of the game in the hands of recently-acquired Broncos’ forward Carter Rigby, who air lifted a shot high over the glove of Wyatt Hoflin, sealing the outcome.
Descheneau found the scoresheet with an assist in regulation, setting up linemate Luke Philp for his sixth of the season, opening the scoring in the first period.
Coda Gordon responded less than three minutes later, drawing things even after 20 minutes.
Tim Bozon continued to show confidence in his return the lineup, as he put the hosts back in front a little more than two minutes in the second period.
After taking a feed in the low slot from centre Sam Reinhart, Bozon worked his way across the top of Bow’s crease, patiently out-waiting the sprawled Swift Current puck-stopper, before roofing his second of the season and second in as many nights.
The Broncos, powered by the strength of Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Dillon Heatherington, were able to keep the Ice captain corralled for most of the night. The helper on Bozon’s second-period goal was all the Sabres prospect could muster after bursting back onto the WHL scene with a dominant two-goal performance Friday against Edmonton.
Broncos captain Colby Cave, a former Kootenay Ice draft pick, knotted things 2-2 with a power-play tally less than two minutes into the final period, sending a wrist shot between the arm and pad of Hoflin.
After drafting the North Battleford, Sask. native with the 13th overall selection in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, the Ice packaged Cave with four other players and three bantam draft picks in exchange for forward Cody Eakin Jan. 9, 2011.
Eakin, now a member of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, contributed to Kootenay’s 2011 WHL Championship.
Despite Descheneau’s shootout winner, the game hung in the balance after Gordon scored on the Broncos’ first attempt against Holfin. With Glenn Gawdin missing on his attempt and Bozon and Reinhart coming up empty, Luke Philp was on the hook to keep the game alive.
Philp looked calm, cool and collected as he skated in on Bow and fired a low wrist shot through the Broncos keeper. After Jay Merkley missed in response, Descheneau took the stage and the rest is in the books.
“The key is to have something set in your mind with what you’re going to do,” Philp said of his composure. “It works for me. The more I think about it, the more I stress out. You’ve just got to kind of set yourself with one move.”
Prior to Saturday’s win over the Broncos, the Ice bested the Lethbridge Hurricanes 6-5 in overtime Nov. 1 to start off this modest three-game winning streak. Wedged between the extra-time victories is Friday night’s 4-3 regulation triumph over the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Between the pipes, Hoflin made 27 saves for the win, while Bow turned aside 30 shots.
The Ice wrap up a six-game home stand Friday, Nov. 14 when the Calgary Hitmen return to Cranbrook. The last time the Hitmen visited Western Financial Place, they laid a 9-2 licking on the hosts.
“[We need to] be consistent with our game,” Descheneau said. “[Against Edmonton Friday night] we played a great game. We were in their zone all game, kept pressure, passes were on the tape all the time and moving the puck quick. If we do that all the time, no one can beat us. We’re a fast team with lots of skill and good goaltending. If we follow the game plan and do the little things [head coach Ryan McGill] tells us to do, we’ll be fine.”
Notes: After the game, the Ice announced F Jared Legien had been assigned to the Moose Jaw Generals of the Saskatchewan Midget Hockey League. The move leaves the Ice with 23 players on the active roster (2G, 7D, 14F). In 13 games, the 2013 ninth-overall bantam pick tallied one assist and a minus-5 rating. He posted 13 goals and 30 points in 43 games during the 2013-14 season with the Generals. Legien was a healthy scratch Saturday against Swift Current…F Jon Martin (upper body), F Kyle O’Connor (lower body) and D Tanner Faith (upper body) all missed Saturday’s game due to injury…F Austin Vetterl dressed in his 150th game as a member of the Kootenay Ice…After 2,307 fans showed up to see Sam Reinhart’s debut, another 2,243 took in Saturday’s shootout win…