Jaedon Descheneau

Jaedon Descheneau

Ice give Tigers cool reception with 3-1 win

Game 4 in Round 2 of WHL playoffs tonight, Thursday, April 10, at Western Financial Place

The Kootenay Ice weren’t having any problems with their TV reception, but they still called upon the cable guy anyways on Wednesday night.

And boy, did he deliver.

Levi Cable posted his first career hat trick, scoring all three goals in a 3-1 win over the Tigers, lifting Kootenay to a 2-1 series lead in the second round of the WHL post season.

Kootenay hosts Game Four on Thursday night at Western Financial Place.

“I’m feeling really good right now,” said Cable. “Got those three goals which is nice, a first time for me, so feeling pretty good right now.”

Despite getting beat on the shot clock, the Ice had a steady presence in net with Mackenzie Skapski, who made 39 saves for the win. Marek Langhamer gave up the three goals with 27 saves for Medicine Hat.

Reinhart and Rinat Valiev both collected a pair of assists, while Zach McPhee also posted an helper for the Ice.

Curtis Valk responded with the lone goal for the Tigers.

The once-scorching hot Ice powerplay was scoreless in four chances with the man-advantage, and have yet to capitalize against Medicine Hat this series.

Kootenay didn’t give anything either on Wednesday night, killing off all three Tigers powerplays.

In a shift from the goal-fest that made up the Calgary Hitmen affair, the Tigers and the Ice have settled down for a protracted series, with Skapski and Langhamer both taking centre stage.

“You saw last series it was a little different,” said Skapski. “It was more of a scoring competition between both teams and me and Chris Driedger kind of struggled.

“Now, it’s a different series and I have more responsibility to keep the puck out of the net and keep my team in it.”

Both goaltenders factored into a scoreless first period.

Skapski made a big save early off an odd man rush, while Langhamer flashed the leather to deny Reinhart after he split the defence and gained the zone.

More chances for the Tigers came early in the second period after the Ice struggled to move the puck out of their own zone.

But the momentum shifted and Kootenay started getting opportunities; their best on a powerplay with a redirection that pinged off the cross bar. Jaedon Descheneau also came within a few inches of stuffing the puck past Langhamer on a breakaway.

However, Cable made good on his first goal off a sharp angle shot from the corner that somehow snuck by the post to give the Ice a 1-0 lead halfway through the period.

Trevor Cox had a chance to even it up on a partial breakaway, but Skapski made another big save to keep a 1-0 lead after 40 minutes.

“I think you saw it last series as well, there were a lot of odd-man rushes and we kind of struggled in that department even though we were really good offensively,” said Skapski. “This series, obviously there’s a lot of odd-man rushes, but we’re touching up back there and we’re looking pretty solid back there.”

Each side searched for another goal in the final period, and it was the Tigers team captain who found the equalizer, chipping in a loose puck off a rebound over the shoulder of the Ice goaltender.

With the Ice powerplay struggling, may as well give shorthanded opportunities a shot, since they’ve already scored once on the penalty kill.

And that’s exactly what happened.

Reinhart broke down the wing on a two-on-one and chipped a pass to Cable, who whacked a bouncing puck past Langhamer for the go-ahead goal.

“That was a nice pass from Sammy there,” said Cable. “Just lucky enough to get a stick on it, got a good bounce and it went in.”

Reinhart appeared to score after splitting the defence and putting a shot on goal, which Langhamer initially saved, but a Tigers defenceman shoved the Ice captain into the goaltender, which set off a big scrum after the ref waved off the goal.

Cable finished off his performance with an empty net goal with 49 seconds left in the game after Reinhart dished him another feed in the neutral zone.

Kootenay has won twice in the series without the big guns of Reinhart, Descheneau, Zach Franko or Luke Philp scoring.

“Sammy, Desch, Franko, Phil—they’ve been there for us all year and in the first round of playoffs, so it’s nice that we’re finally helping them out, especially in this series when they need us,” said Cable.