After coming so close in their first five games, the Kootenay Ice (1-3-1-1) have finally added a win to their record after beating the Regina Pats (3-2-0-0) by a score of 4-3 on Friday night.
Led offensively once again by Zak Zborosky — who scored two goals on the night — the Ice finally came out on top in a one-goal game, after losing every previous game this season by a single marker.
For the first time this season, the Ice separated their two twenty-year-old forwards — Zborosky and Matt Alfaro — onto different lines. The shake-up seems to have worked, as in the first period Zborosky scored twice and Alfaro once to put the Ice up 3-0 going into the first intermission.
Zborosky’s first tally came on a 5-on-3 powerplay that the Ice received after Austin Wagner connected with Kaeden Taphorn’s head on a scary hit. Although Wagner was given a 5-minute game misconduct, Troy Murray’s ensuing fight got the Ice an instigator penalty. After some time at four men apiece, Pats defenceman Sergey Zborovskiy was called for slashing and the Ice were given some significant time with two extra skaters.
Despite the large deficit, the Pats came storming back in the second and Lane Zabloski and Zborovskiy quickly got on the board with excellent team efforts to make it 3-2.
The game remained tied until early in the third period when Dawson Leedahl tied the game off a fortunate bounce in front of the Ice net.
After blowing their three-goal cushion, the Ice stayed in the game thanks to some amazing goaltending by Payton Lee. Lee shut the door in the last five minutes and continued to be sharp in overtime, in which he was forced to make a game-saving grab with his glove off a point-blank chance from the slot.
The game finally ended when Cale Fleury and Keenan Taphorn broke free on a 2-on-0 rush with less than a minute to go in overtime. Taphorn buried his opportunity and led the Ice players in a massive celebration.
Zborosky, a native of Regina, was named the game’s first star while Taphorn, who’s from Yorkton, Saskatchewan, earned his first game-winning goal. Zborosky also now finds himself third in the WHL in goals scored with six in as many games.
The Ice continue their road trip with a game against the Moose Jaw Warriors on Saturday, before finishing their Eastern division jaunt with a game against the Swift Current Broncos on Monday.