A day after the Kootenay Ice (1-4-1-1) earned their emotional first win of the season, the team was defeated by a score of 6-2 by the Moose Jaw Warriors (4-0-2-0).
It was the first game the Ice played this year that wasn’t decided by a single goal, and the Warriors took advantage of seven powerplay opportunities, scoring three man-advantage goals.
The Ice took the first two penalties of the game and Zak Zborosky’s cross-checking minor, around 15 minutes in, led to Nikita Popugaev blasting home a point shot on the ensuing 5-on-4 chance. The Ice got their own powerplay just 30 seconds later and Matt Alfaro tied the game off a pass from Zborosky.
The Warriors separated themselves however in the second period, scoring four unanswered goals with two of them coming on powerplays. The top line of Popugaev, Brett Howden and Jayden Halbgewachs was on fire and combined for 11 points on the night. Halbgewachs was the only Warrior to double up though, scoring two in a row in the latter half of the second frame.
Although Zborosky was able to score in the third, to make it a 6-2 game and give himself his seventh goal in as many games, the Ice were unable to make it a game in the closing stages.
Declan Hobbs started the game in net for the Ice, but was chased after giving up his sixth goal at the start of the third. Payton Lee, who was instrumental in the Ice’s win against the Pats the night before, saved 14 shots to close out the night.
The Ice are still carrying three goaltenders on their roster, and while Hobbs was not the reason they lost, this blowout certainly could affect his spot on the team. It remains to be seen whether the team will give Jakob Walter — the third goalie in the mix — a chance to play during this road trip. Kootenay are expected to re-assign either Hobbs or Walter next week.
With a win and a loss in the books already on this road swing, the Ice will now get a day off before playing the Broncos in Swift Current on Monday afternoon, where they’ll look to get the taste of winning back.
NOTES: Ice forward Kaeden Taphorn was not in the lineup after sustaining an upper-body injury in Friday’s game against the Regina Pats.