The Kootenay return from the land of living skies winless in five tries following a 5-2 loss to the Saskatoon Blades Wednesday night.
“Our performance was embarrassing,” said Kootenay Ice head coach Ryan McGill over the phone following Wednesday’s loss. “Zero execution, no attention to detail, no internal competitiveness and not much else I can say other than that.”
McGill’s frustrations with his team’s performance in Saskatoon are nothing short of a carry-over from Tuesday’s 3-2 loss in Prince Albert.
Just as they did in Prince Albert, the Kootenay Ice jumped out to an early lead in Saskatoon.
Just as they did in Prince Albert, the Kootenay Ice coughed up the lead in Saskatoon, surrendering two points to the opponent.
Zak Zborosky opened the scoring less than 90 seconds into the first period in Saskatoon, with River Beattie and Austin Vetterl collecting helpers. Exactly 30 seconds later, the Alex Forsberg was there to tie things up for the Blades.
At the midpoint of the opening period, Ice forward Jaedon Descheneau scored his sixth goal of the season and 200th point of his WHL career to give the Ice a 2-1 edge. Less than five minutes later and the Blades had drawn even yet again courtesy of defenceman Isaac Schacher. The native of Kimberley, B.C. fired a point shot found that found its way to the back of the net, tying the game 2-2.
If Wednesday’s contest wasn’t frenetic enough at that point, Forsberg tallied his second of the night with less than three minutes to play, putting the Blades in front for the first time on the night. It was all the hosts needed to secure two points over the sagging Ice.
“We’re going to continue to teach. We’re teaching the right way,” McGill said. “It’s [the players] making the decisions. They want to make the wrong decisions. We’re teaching the right systems. We’re teaching the right way. Proven to be successful. They choose not to do the right way right now. I’ve got to find a different way to get through to them to get them to do it the right way.”
Cameron Helbig doubled the Blades lead with a power-play goal in the second period before Josh Uhrich put the game out of reach with a third-period goal.
Keelan Williams earned the start in net for the Ice, and has been almost customary this season, the Kootenay crease was home to plenty of rubber Wednesday night. Williams faced 40 shots from the Blades stopping 35.
Nick Amundrud turned in a star performance at the other end of the rink, making 31 saves between the pipes for Saskatoon.
The five goals scored by the Blades represent the biggest offensive output for Saskatoon thus far this season. The Blades previous season high for goals in a game came Oct. 18 in a 6-4 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings.
The Ice get back onto the bus and return to Cranbrook today, with practice slated for late afternoon at Western Financial Place. The focus turns immediately to Friday’s visit from Jake Virtanen and the Calgary Hitmen (6-4-0-0).
Notes: F Tim Bozon missed his fourth game due to a lower-body injury, but was on hand to conduct the ceremonial opening puck drop. Bozon spent nearly a month at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon while battling meningitis. The crowd of 3,498 gave Bozon a standing ovation when he stepped onto the red carpet…D Rinat Valiev missed his 12th game with a lower-body injury…F Jon Martin missed his second game with an upper-body injury…F Austin Wellsby was a healthy scratch…