Goaltender Declan Hobbs makes one of his 39 stops with forward Matt Fonteyne (#17) coming in hot Tuesday at Western Financial Place. Despite Hobbs’ stellar efforts

Goaltender Declan Hobbs makes one of his 39 stops with forward Matt Fonteyne (#17) coming in hot Tuesday at Western Financial Place. Despite Hobbs’ stellar efforts

Hobbs’ stellar showing not enough as Silvertips blank Ice

Rookie goaltender Declan Hobbs did everything in his power, but it wasn’t enough as Everett Silvertips shutout Kootenay Ice

When a goaltender backstops his club to a shutout victory, it usually goes without saying he was the better of the two guardians in the game.

While Carter Hart made 16 stops to guide the Everett Silvertips (11-5-0-1) to a 2-0 victory, rookie goaltender Declan Hobbs stole the show as he did everything in his power to give the Kootenay Ice (4-16-2-0) an opportunity to halt a three-game losing streak Tuesday night against the Everett Silvertips.

“Declan Hobbs gave us a chance,” said Luke Pierce, head coach of the Kootenay Ice, Tuesday night. “Our goalies have been so good.

“That’s a good hockey club [Everett] and they had four power plays in the first period.

“It’s not easy for a goalie to get in there and get peppered like that. But he understands what we’re trying to do as a team. He knows where he needs to look to be at.

“If we had a whole bunch of guys up front and in our ‘D’ core who had his work ethic, I think we’d be in a different position at this point.”

Hobbs, 17, turned aside 39 of the 41 shots directed his way, including all 18 in the first 20 minutes of play.

“Honestly, for me, I’d rather have a lot of shots in the first period than having no shots,” Hobbs said Tuesday. “I get a better feel for the puck. It gives me a better feel for the rest of the game. I didn’t mind it at all. Once I made the first few saves in the first period, I sort of got in my own groove and did what I could.”

Hobbs was in a groove, without a doubt. By the time the final buzzer sounded, the only thing the Saskatoon product didn’t do was score a goal — something he most definitely cannot be blamed for.

Skating in their first of four Central Division road games, the Silvertips came out firing in the first period, helped largely in part by four man advantages as Cale Fleury, Roman Dymacek and Tanner Lishchynsky — on two separate occasions — found their way to the sin bin.

While Hobbs was the busiest and arguably the best goaltender throughout, Hart’s shutout was certainly earned as the two netminders went save for save for much of the night.

Named WHL Goaltender of the Week on Monday, Hart showed why late in the first period.

Hit with a long lead pass from Fleury, Dymacek broke down the left side before flashing a quick-release shot for the home team’s first good scoring chance of the night. Calmly, Hart was there to negate the opportunity and the two teams headed into the dressing room scoreless.

Early in the middle period, Ice forward Shane Allan broke in 2-on-1 with Jared Legien for another great Kootenay scoring opportunity.

Legien, 17, got off a quick one-timer that Hart managed to get cross-crease on to preserve the scoreless affair.

With time winding down in the second period, it looked as though both squads might be headed to the final 20 minutes of regulation with goose eggs on both sides of the scoreboard until Matt Alfaro drew a questionable high-sticking penalty with 5:10 to go.

Short-handed for the fifth time, Hobbs made a calm blocker stop on Silvertips forward Graham Millar halfway through the Everett power play.

Moments later, Austrian import Dario Winkler snapped a quick shot from on top of the circle. After ricocheting off Hobbs, the post and back off the Ice goaltender, the biscuit found a way into the basket, trickling across the goal line for a 1-0 Silvertips lead after 40 minutes.

Like on so many other occasions this season, the Kootenay Ice found themselves heading into the third period down but not out — completely within reach of a win.

But like on so many others before it, victory was not in the cards for the Ice Tuesday night.

The stingy Silvertips shut things down in the defensive zone during the third period, outshooting the host Ice 10-4 over the final 20 minutes of play.

Lishchynsky made his third trip to the penalty box with seven minutes remaining in the third period and Silvertips captain Dawson Leedahl capitalized to put the visitors ahead 2-0.

When the final buzzer sounded, the Silvertips win boiled down to two things: a 2-for-6 conversion rate on the man advantage and an impenetrable wall named Hart, that at the end of the night, the Ice simply did not test enough.

Not to be overlooked Tuesday was the reality Pierce faced in deploying his lineup.

Starting from the blue-line out, the rookie bench boss was without Troy Murray (serving the first of a two-game suspension), Tyler King (who is back in Cranbrook and set to prepare rehab after undergoing off-season knee surgery, according to president and general manager Jeff Chynoweth) and Jason Wenzel.

Up front, right wing Jaedon Descheneau was ruled out for the next four to six months after it was announced he will be undergoing shoulder surgery at the end of November.

Veteran winger Zak Zborosky (lower body) was unavailable, as was captain Luke Philp (upper body).

With all that on the table heading into Tuesday’s tilt, the puck dropped with Pierce working a bench already short two skaters.

And it only got worse from there.

Midway through the second period, sophomore winger River Beattie was knocked out of action with what Pierce deemed a head injury. Beattie, 18, will likely be subject to league concussion protocol and Pierce does not expect him to be available for the weekend.

In short, the beleaguered Ice shot caller was challenged in only having nine forwards at his disposal for most of Tuesday’s loss.

“It’s hard. It’s really hard,” Pierce said of the depleted lineup.

“You play nine forwards for the majority of the hockey game and it’s not easy. You have to take it into consideration when you’re being critical, but we still gave ourselves chances that we passed up. Or we missed them.

“That’s preparation and that’s practice.”

While the Ice may not have made life easy on themselves at times this season, there certainly have been no breaks afforded for the club in the injury department and only 22 of 72 games have been scratched off the slate.

As is life in the Western Hockey League, you put a loss in the past and move on to preparing for the next game. For Pierce, he remains encouraged by the play of his goaltenders, which Tuesday night came shining through in the form of Hobbs.

“You have to rally around [knowing] every night your goalie is going to give you a chance,” Pierce said. “There are teams out there that would be desperate for that. We’ve got that luxury. That’s a huge one.”

Hobbs made his seventh appearance of the season Tuesday. The last start for the rookie came back on Nov. 7 — a 3-2 loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

“I try to get all my reps in practice — as a backup goalie you have to do that,” Hobbs said of keeping a fresh mind when faced with long stretches between starts. “Hof [Wyatt Hoflin] has been really good. He’s really supportive of me. He’s a good guy to back up.”

The Ice will look to get back in the win column Friday night when they welcome former defenceman Tanner Faith and the Moose Jaw Warriors to Western Financial Place.

Daily Townsman Three Stars

1) G Declan Hobbs, Kootenay Ice (39 saves)2) C Dario Winkler, Everett Silvertips (1G, 1A)3) G Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips (16 saves, SO)

Interview audio: Luke Pierce – Kootenay Ice head coach:

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jim Webster displays one of the 50 ski chairs he recently purchased from the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR). After around 50 years of use at the Kimberley Alpine Resort, Webster is now selling the chairs for $500 each to raise funds for a local parks project. Paul Rodgers photo.
Jim Webster sells vintage Kimberley Alpine Resort ski chairs for park fundraiser

Marysville resident Jim Webster recently came into possession of some Kimberley history;… Continue reading

Stock photo courtesy Cliff MacArthur/provincialcourt.bc.ca.
Double-murder trial in case of Cranbrook couple killed adjourned until January

A trial has been adjourned until January for two men charged with… Continue reading

Cranbrook Community Theatre (CCT) is presenting virtual visits and live letter readings with Santa, from Friday, Dec. 11, to Sunday, Dec. 13. Photo contributed
Cranbrook Community Theatre hosts Santa’s virtual visits and letter readings

Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, Santa Claus is at large… Continue reading

Hugs and slugs
Second Wave Hugs & Slugs: Stay calm, be kind

Hugs: Huge Hugs for Harriet Pollock for the 35 years of participation… Continue reading

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Update: Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections, 4 in ICU

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital, 4 in intensive care

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read