The Kootenay Ice extended their win streak to four straight victories by shutting out the Hurricanes 2-0 on the road on Sunday evening.
Kootenay was riding high off a 5-1 shellacking of the Calgary Hitmen at Western Financial Place the night before as the club tied a franchise record at 12 consecutive home wins.
With the win over the ‘Canes, the Ice have now opened up a five-point cushion between themselves and Lethbridge, which are now on the outside of the playoffs and looking in.
Kootenay is a single point behind the Swift Current Broncos for seventh place, and have the luxury of a game in hand.
“When you win and get those points, especially in a division game, it’s always huge and we’ll have to enjoy that work tonight and then it’s back to work, because we still want to close some ground on some other teams,” said Ice assistant coach Chad Kletzel.
Kootenay came out guns blazing in the first period against the ‘Canes, putting 20 shots on Ty Rimmer, while the opposition only mustered five shots in return.
“We got a couple powerplays early and had some chances at the net and obviously, Ty Rimmer is a quality goaltender, so you got to make sure you bury your chances in tight, and it just seemed like we couldn’t bury on him early,” said Kletzel.
Jon Martin got hit from behind by Josh Derko and had to leave the game. Jeff Hubic went in to dispense pugilistic justice, and the two tussled for a bit.
Martin was checked out in the dressing room and eventually returned to the game.
The two teams held each other scoreless in the first frame, but the game broke open in the middle frame, when the tandem of Jaedon Descheneau and Sam Reinhart teamed up once again.
Reinhart dished off the puck from behind the net to Descheneau in the slot, who banged in 20th goal of the season.
Lethbridge got desperate in the third period, but Ice goaltender Mackenzie Skapski slammed the door on any scoring chances.
“When we needed a save, he was there to help us out and when a goalie gets a shutout, it shows he had a really strong game,” said Kletzel.
Descheneau scored an empty netter from behind the red line in the final minute of the game to notch his sixth goal over the last three games.
Kootenay earlier took out the Hitmen 5-1 on Saturday at Western Financial Place.
Both Brock Montgomery and Levi Cable had a goal and an assist each to lead the team to the win, while Skapski made 27 saves.
The two teams were scoreless in the first frame, but the Ice took a second period lead off of goals from Cable and Jakub Prochazka.
Pavlo Padakin made it a one-goal game in the third period, but Montgomery responded in the latter half of the period, tipping a shot from Joey Leach.
Descheneau picked off a rebound from Tanner Faith at the point, and Jordyn Boyd put away an empty netter just outside the blue line on an offside draw.
It was Faith’s return to the bench after missing the last 12 games with an upper-body injury.
“It’s awesome to get back out there and not be up in the stands doing the computer,” laughed Faith. “I like being out there with the boys and especially to get a win, is awesome.”
Faith returned back to his spot alongside the team captain on the blue line.
“He missed a bit of time, but it’s great to have him back out there tonight,” said Leach.
Next action for the Ice will be another road game in Medicine Hat against the Tigers on Wednesday.
ICE NOTES: The team raised $6,155 during it’s annual Jersey off the Back fundraiser for the Kootenay Ice education fund. The white jerseys, which were auctioned off in a silent auction, will be handed out to the winning bidders at the end of the season. Ice defenceman Jagger Dirk’s jersey sold for the most money, with a $600 bid.