Ice back on the road to the prairies

Kootenay puts win streak on the line this weekend when they face Moose Jaw and Regina.

Whether on the road or at home, the Kootenay Ice are finding ways to win.

And not just winning but doing it in nail-biting fashion.

The Ice had to erase a Medicine Hat lead twice on Wednesday night, and trailed at one point in all four of their wins during a swing through the East Division last week.

Each team during that trip, including the affair against the Tigers on Wednesday night at Western Financial Place, scored first—something that the team will likely want to change.

Kootenay is heading back on the road for a pair of games in Moose Jaw and Regina this weekend, two teams they defeated last weekend while in Saskatchewan.

“It’s good having that confidence going back there and knowing you can win in those barns,” said Ice forward Austin Vetterl, “but this time we got to have a better start and not have to come back and go into overtime and all that.”

However, despite those bad starts, Kootenay has managed to make the comeback and pull out the win in regulation, overtime or a shootout.

“Knowing that if we come into the room down 1-0 or 2-1 going into the first intermission or second intermission, we still believe that we can come back,” said Vetterl. “We just got to keep playing our game, get back to the simple things and eventually it’ll come for us.”

Vetterl, who was acquired earlier in the season from Vancouver in exchange for a draft pick, has solidified his role on the third line along with fellow trade pickup Zach McPhee and Jordyn Boyd.

“I’m sort of turning into more of a PKer, third-line checker, put out at the end of the game, so I like that,” said Vetterl. “I did that last year, so I’m used to it. It’s nothing new to me.”

Landon Peel, Kootenay’s newest defenceman, made his home debut against the Tigers, and while he didn’t make an impact on the scoresheet, he also didn’t make any egregious mistakes.

“It was great,” said Peel, of his first game in Cranbrook. “It felt like a home barn and we picked up the win.”

Peel is joining a hot team, as Kootenay has won five in a row and 12 of their last 13 games, after coming up via the MJHL, where he was playing with the Swan Valley Stampeders.

Not a bad way to break back into the WHL.

“It’s a great feeling,” added Peel. “Nothing better than winning, that’s for sure.”

Peel, who was drafted 50th overall in the third round of the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft by the Regina Pats, faced his former team last week, and will do it again on Saturday.

“It’s real weird,” said Peel, on facing his old WHL squad twice right off the bat. “I know some of the guys and the coaching staff, but hopefully we can pull out another win against them.”

Kootenay faces Moose Jaw on Friday, before heading to Regina to take on the Pats.

The Warriors are mired in a 10-game losing skid, while the Pats are winless in their last five outings.

ICE NOTES: Jon Martin returns to the lineup after serving a one game suspension during the tilt against the Tigers. Martin was sentenced by the WHL for a charging major on Jan. 19 in Moose Jaw.

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