With a depleted defensive corps, the Kootenay Ice beat up on the Lethbridge Hurricanes with a 5-2 road win at the Enmax Centre on Wednesday night.
Ice captain Sam Reinhart led the way with two goals and an assist, while goaltender Mackenzie Skapski made 25 saves for the win.
Kootenay’s offense seemed to click, as ‘Canes netminder Corbin Boes was peppered with 41 shots while the Ice powerplay was able to capitalize twice.
Zach McPhee, Levi Cable and Zach Zborosky also supplied the offence alongside Reinhart for the Ice, while Axel Blomqvist and Macoy Erkamps responded for the ‘Canes.
“We had a real good start,” said Ice head coach Ryan McGill. “I think that was the key to us, for sure. We got off to a good start, I think we did a good job of keeping the puck in their end.”
“I think we generated a powerplay on our second shift of the game, so I think it was a good start for us, and then we just kind of went from there.”
McPhee and Cable kicked off the scoring in the latter half of the opening period as Kootenay rode a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Blomqvist answered back for Lethbridge in the second frae, but Reinhart restored the two-goal lead a few minutes later.
Zborosky and Reinhart drew blood on a pair of powerplay goals in the final frame, while Erkamps got his marker with the man-advantage.
“Lethbridge did a real good job of killing off some penalties in the first two periods, and then I thought our powerplay really had a good killer instinct in the third period,” said McGill.
Rookie Ice defenceman Troy Murray also notched his first career WHL points with a pair of assists to McPhee and Reinhart.
The D-corps is short staffed as Tanner Faith (indefinite—upper body) and Landon Peel (day-to-day—lower body) are out of the lineup, however, Jeff Hubic moved down to the back end to provide six skaters on the blue line.
Those two injuries means everyone has had to handle more minutes, said McGill.
“Obviously we’re going to have to rely on the goaltender here a little bit, but at the same time, it’s an opportunity for some guys to step up and just be real simple players,” said McGill.
With the win, Kootenay climbs up the Eastern Conference ladder into fifth place, one point behind the Red Deer Rebels, and one point ahead of a three-way logjam between Brandon, Calgary and Moose Jaw.
Kootenay heads to Medicine Hat for a Saturday night affair with the Tigers, before returning home for a Sunday meeting with the Prince Albert Raiders.