Collin Shirley scored the winner in a shootout to lift the Kootenay Ice to a 4-3 victory over the Blades in Saskatoon on Tuesday.
Kootenay led 3-2 in the third period, but a late goal from the Blades evened things up, however, neither were able to break the deadlock in overtime.
“We kind of came out slow in the beginning, but we picked things up, followed the game plan and had some success,” said Ice assistant coach Chad Kletzel.
It’s a bounce back for the Ice, which had a seven-game win streak snapped last Saturday in Spokane, and a good start to their four-game road swing through Saskatchewan.
Matt Revel struck first for the Blades less than two minutes into the game, but Sam Reinhart tied things up with the man advantage for his 20th goal of the season.
Dalton Thrower put the Blades back in the lead on the power play two minutes after Reinhart’s goal to close out the opening frame.
Jordyn Boyd tied up the game late in the middle period, and Luke Philp scored with 11 seconds left on the clock to give the Ice a 3-2 lead going into the final frame.
However, Michael Ferland, Saskatoon’s biggest acquisition from the WHL trade deadline, scored with eight minutes to go, which evened up the game at 3-3.
Neither team could pull ahead for the remainder of the game, and overtime solved nothing, so things were decided in a shootout, as Levi Cable and Shirley scored for Kootenay, while Josh Nicholls got the only puck by Kootenay goaltender Mackenzie Skapksi.
Skapski ended the game with 31 saves, including six stops in the shootout round. Andrey Makarov, who manned the crease for the Russians in the World Junior Championship, stopped 26 shots and made 5 saves in the shootout.
“It feels good to take some points away from a team that we’re trying to track down in the standings right now,” continued Kletzel. “…Our group has done a good job worrying about what we need to do to be successful and a win in Saskatoon is always good.”
Next up are the Prince Albert Raiders on Wednesday evening, followed by the Regina Pats on Friday and Moose Jaw Warriors on Saturday.
Though that’s a lot of hockey, Kletzel isn’t worried about fatigue setting in.
”We work hard in practice and we do lots of stuff in regards to nutrition and that stuff, so we expect our guys to be ready to go,” said Kletzel. “Obviously, it’s going to be a challenge, but I think we need to rise to that challenge and look at it like that and not give any excuses.”