Hunter Shinkaruk. Logan McVeigh. Curtis Valk.
Mackenzie Skapski robbed them all and more with a 42 save performance as the Ice shut out the Medicine Hat Tigers 2-0 during a midweek road game in Alberta on Wednesday evening.
Brock Montgomery scored four minutes into the game on the powerplay to establish an early lead, while Levi Cable potted the empty netter with 30 seconds to go.
It was a goaltending duel in the truest sense of the phrase, as Skapski’s effort in between the pipes put his team on the road to victory, while Tigers’ netminder Cam Lanigan was equally brilliant, giving up only one goal in 39 shots.
“Obviously, he made big saves when we needed it and he was solid in net and that gave us a chance to win the game,” said Ice assistant coach Chad Kletzel, of Skapski’s work for his team.
No matter what the Tigers did, they just couldn’t beat the Ice goaltender.
First it was McVeigh on a first-period breakaway, then it was Valk who went in all alone in a shorthanded effort.
Skapski stopped them both.
However, before the Tigers put on the pressure, Montgomery scored his 28th goal of the season on the powerplay, tipping in a hard pass from Tanner Faith just outside the crease.
Montgomery is second in the WHL when it comes to producing goals with the man-advantage, having 17 markers to his name.
The Ice rode the lead into the second period, and Montgomery got under the skin of the Tigers, dishing out an open ice hit, but had to deal with the Spenser Jensen, who threw down the mitts.
The tide slowly began to turn in the second period, as Medicine Hat began to take control of the game.
Valk had the Tigers’ best scoring chance of the entire game, receiving a cross-ice pass deep in the Ice zone with a wide open net to shoot at, however, his shot was poorly placed and Skapski made a great dive to keep the puck out of the net.
Medicine Hat rode their momentum into the third period, as Boston Leier, Shinkaruk and McVeigh all had more quality scoring chances.
“We weren’t comfortable with the amount of times we turned the puck over, our puck management wasn’t where we wanted it to be tonight,” said Kletzel. “Off of that, they got too many opportunities—we haven’t given up 40 shots in a game for a while—so we would’ve liked better puck management.”
With Lanigan on the bench for the extra attacker at the end of the game, Cable managed to chip the puck by the Tigers’ defence to skate the biscuit into the net for the win.
The win is Kootenay’s fifth straight—four of which were collected on the road. The Ice will return home for a pair of games and attempt to break their franchise record for consecutive home wins, as they have won their last 12 at Western Financial Place.