Ice beat Hitmen for second straight win

Levi Cable comes through with second game-winning goal in as many contests.

Kootenay Ice forward Levi Cable brings the puck up the ice during a game against the Calgary Hitmen on Monday night at Western Financial Place.

Kootenay Ice forward Levi Cable brings the puck up the ice during a game against the Calgary Hitmen on Monday night at Western Financial Place.

The cable guy came through for the second time in as many games for the Kootenay Ice on New Years Eve in a tense 3-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen.

Levi Cable broke a 2-2 tie in the third period and Kootenay held on for the win, notching their second consecutive victory following a 7-3 thrashing of the Spokane Chiefs last Saturday.

Brock Montgomery supplied the other offence for the Ice with a pair of goals, while Zane Jones and Cody Sylvester scored for the Hitmen.

Mackenzie Skapski had a 30-save performance, while Mack Shields stood in net for the Hitmen and turned away 34 shots.

Cable was quick to spread around credit for his game winner, along with the one he notched against the Chiefs in Washington state.

“This goal was a lot better than the one in Spokane,” he said, of his game winner against the Hitmen. “That one we got lucky, but it was just hard work by my linemates that caused both of those goals.”

It was the third game for Montgomery since returning from an upper body injury after getting a little time to recover over the Christmas break. It didn’t take to long for him to return to form, as he added an assist to Cable’s game-winner in Spokane, before finding the back of the net twice against the Hitmen.

“My first couple games back, I was just getting a feel for it. I had a lot of opportunities but I couldn’t put the puck in the back of the net,” said Montgomery. “…I got my hands back a little bit and it’s really nice to get that. Anytime you can help the team get a win like that, it’s always a positive thing.”

The Ice took the lead in the opening period off an odd man rush, when Montgomery sniped the corner above Shields’ glove after using the pass option to teammate Luke Philp as a decoy.

Calgary tied up the game early in the middle frame when Sylvester took advantage of an Ice turnover and fed Jones, who buried the puck into the net from the slot.

The two teams entered into the final period tied up at 1-1, however, that didn’t last long as Montgomery struck again while camped out in front of Shields.

Less than a minute later, the Hitmen pulled even again when the Sylvester found the puck on his stick after it bounced between a few players in the Ice’s zone, and he made good on his shot.

But Cable scored his game-winner unassisted two minutes afterwards to give his team the edge with 10 minutes to go, after working away outside the crease.

Joey Leach had a scare after he got run hard into the boards by Chase Clayton, but the 20-year-old veteran was able to get up with the help of trainer Cory Cameron and made it back to the bench without taking a trip to the dressing room.

While beating a top ranked team like the Hitmen is impressive in itself, holding and protecting a one-goal lead for the last 10 minutes of the game is just as impressive as the team rallied around Skapski and kept Calgary at bay.

“It’s huge because Calgary is a top-seeded team and we came off a big win down in Spokane and I wasn’t 100 per cent sure of how the team would respond, being that we’re such a young club, but we showed a lot of character with the work ethic that the guys put forward tonight,” said Montgomery.

“We had 37 shots and that speaks volumes for this younger group that we have here and I couldn’t be prouder of every guy in that room tonight.”

The Ice had Tuesday off, but they’ll host the high-flying Red Deer Rebels on Wednesday night at Western Financial Place.