Ice close out preseason with a win

Kootenay ends final exhibition game with a 6-3 win over the Hitmen and reassign a few players afterwards.

Jeff Hubic and Landon Peel

Jeff Hubic and Landon Peel

The Kootenay Ice wrapped up the preseason with a win on Sunday afternoon, beating the Calgary Hitmen 9-3 in the Coleman Sports Complex in the Crowsnest Pass.

It was the second game in the same building for the Ice over the weekend, as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday evening.

Following Sunday’s game, Kootenay reassigned forward Carter Sawicki and goaltender Jayden Sittler to Midget AAA with the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs.

That leaves the club with two goaltenders, eight defencemen and 14 forwards.

The victory against the Hitmen was the only win in five preseason games for the Ice.

Jaedon Descheneau scored twice while goaltender Mackenzie Skapski turned away 26 shots to lead the squad to victory.

“It was good to score six goals, I can tell you that,” said Ice head coach Ryan McGill.

“It was a little bit of a slow start to the game for us, but we certainly played our best period in the third period, for sure, so it was good to see and hopefully something to build off of for next week.”

Ben Thomas and Zane Jones scored in the opening frame to give the Hitmen an early lead. However, Kootenay knotted things back up after 20 minutes on goals from Luke Philp and Mathew Alfaro.

Descheneau scored his two goals in the second period, with Calgary’s Brett Brooks notching a solo effort in between.

Riding a one-goal lead into the final frame, the Ice kept up the pressure on goals from Sam Reinhart and Collin Shirley.

Friday’s game was a different result, as Tyler Wong led the Hurricanes with a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win over the Ice.

Kootenay fell to a two-goal deficit after the first period, before Shirley responded on the powerplay in the middle frame.

Giorgio Estephan and Wong added late goals in the final period to seal up the scoring.

Wyatt Hoflin stood between the pipes, making 20 saves in defeat while Jonny Hogue turned away the same amount of shots for the win.

Ending the preseason with a win may inject some confidence into the team, but there is still a lot of hard work ahead, McGill said.

“This week is still a very important week in practice and teaching and we still have a long way to go in that regard, but you want them to at least go out happy, for sure,” McGill said.

Kootenay opens the regular season next Friday, Sept. 20th, on home ice against the Red Deer Rebels.