It happened in the blink of an eye.
The puck had barely been dropped before Kootenay Ice forward Jaedon Descheneau broke into Lethbridge Hurricanes territory, split the defence and slid the overtime winner past goaltender Zac Robidoux, vaulting the Ice to a 6-5 triumph.
“[Luke Philp] made a good play protecting the puck off the face-off and brought it over, kind of tried to go into their zone but got held up,” Descheneau said after the win. “I went over to help him and luckily the puck came to me. When I got it, their [defencemen’s] gap wasn’t very good so I had a lot of space to try to do something and luckily I was able to get around their ‘D’ and slide it through the five-hole.”
It took Descheneau a mere 10 seconds to score Saturday’s game-winner, a stark contrast to his team’s losing streak that seemed to have stretched on for ages.
Descheneau’s eighth goal of the year prevented an eight-game losing skid for the Kootenay Ice, whose overtime defeat of the Lethbridge Hurricanes was the team’s first victory since a 1-0 shutout of the Regina Pats Oct. 17.
“It’s huge. Right now we’re just taking it in, but one game’s not going to do anything for us,” Descheneau added. “We need to roll here. We’re going to have a good week of practice and get things going next weekend. A couple wins next weekend would be huge for us to get ourselves back in the mix.”
The 19-year-old winger finished the night with a goal and two assists.
Despite the jubilation following the game, the win didn’t come easy for Descheneau and the Ice.
After opening up a four-goal lead before the mid-mark of the second period, the Ice surrendered five consecutive goals to the Hurricanes, including three to overage forward Zane Jones.
Jones was discarded by the Everett Silvertips early in the season, traded to the Hurricanes for a fourth-round bantam pick. The 6-foot-3 winger carried the Hurricanes on his back Saturday night, capitalizing three times in a span of 9:47 during the second period.
Forward Taylor Cooper capped the visitors’ offensive storm with a third-period goal after being left completely alone on the doorstep of Wyatt Hoflin’s crease.
The marker turned Western Financial Place into a library as the 2,113 in attendance were silenced.
“We need to not get ahead of ourselves,” said forward Levi Cable. “When we had the 4-0 lead, we need to keep our D-zone and not just worry about the offensive zone. We’ve got to worry about the defensive zone first and then offense will come.”
With 1:34 to play in regulation, the hosts were on the receiving end of a two-man advantage after defenceman Andrew Nielsen hauled down Austin Vetterl in the slot. With Hoflin on the bench for a sixth attacker, defenceman Rinat Valiev unloaded a cannon from the point, which caromed off the back boards to Cable who managed to bank it past Robidoux to force overtime.
“It actually was another lucky one,” Cable said with a laugh. “It just ended up going off the goalie’s back, off the post and in. Fortunate for that bounce, but glad it went in.”
The veteran forward earned his third of the season Friday night with another double-bank shot that victimized Rebels goaltender Rylan Toth after first hitting iron.
Cable, a 20-year-old native of Hudson Bay, Man., opened the scoring with a first-period tally and finished the evening with two goals and an assist.
Hoflin turned in a 17-save performance and collected his first assist of the year on Cable’s opening goal.
At the other end of the rink, Zac Robidoux stopped 31 of the 37 shots he faced.
Ice forward Luke Philp and defenceman Rinat Valiev tallied three-point nights with a goal and two assists each.
The win boosts Kootenay’s record to 4-13-0-0, while Lethbridge falls to 5-9-2-1.
Next up, the Ice host the Edmonton Oil Kings (9-5-0-2) Friday, Nov. 7. The Hurricanes look towards the Swift Current Broncos (10-7-0-2), who visit Lethbridge the same night.
Notes: F Tim Bozon, F Jon Martin, D Tyler Martin and D Tanner Faith all missed the game due to injury, leaving the Ice to skate one player short of a full bench. Faith was banged up following a fight with Rebels defenceman Devan Fafard late in Friday’s 7-3 loss…F Sam Reinhart was not available for Saturday’s tilt and is expected to join the team this week…