Ice look to build off Lethbridge win

Kootenay has three games in three nights as they continue playoff push.

After hearing stories from his older brother about Ryan McGill, Kootenay Ice forward Jordyn Boyd is getting the first-hand experience this year.

Jordyn’s older brother, Dustin, played four seasons in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors, and got selected 98th overall in the third round of the NHL draft by the Calgary Flames.

He eventually made the jump into the AHL when he was 20 years old in 2006 and played under McGill with the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights.

The elder sibling by eight years, Dustin stuck with McGill for the franchise’s relocation to Illinois, which changed into the Quad City Flames, before graduating into the NHL with the Calgary Flames.

McGill joined Dustin for a bit of the 2009-10 season as an assistant coach in Calgary, before the latter was traded to the Nashville Predators for a draft pick on deadline day.

Dustin is now over in Kazakstan, playing for Barys Astana of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

Jordyn, 18, admitted his older brother didn’t pass along any stories about his former coach, but told his younger sibling to expect an intense personality.

That intensity has started to manifest as the team gets closer to the post season and guns for a playoff spot, which is just one step up in the rankings.

“He’s pretty intense about it right now,” said Boyd, on what McGill is telling his players. “He doesn’t want us goofing around as much. He wants us to be focused for practices and games and he just wants us to work as hard as we can and do whatever we can to win.”

The team has had a week off to rest before hitting up a stretch of three games in three nights—two home dates with the Spokane Chiefs and Moose Jaw Warriors, before meeting the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Sunday.

It was against Spokane that Kootenay’s run of seven straight wins began after the Christmas break, before it was snapped by the same opponents two weeks later.

“They’re a highly skilled team, really fast and they’ve got a couple of offensive defencemen that we got to be aware of, jumping in the rush,” said Boyd, “so we just got to do what we did against Lethbridge—keep the game as simple as we can and just stick to the basics that Ryan tries to get us to perform out onto the ice, and if we do that, we should be able to come out with the win.”

Spokane had a four-game losing skid snapped with a 5-0 win against the Rockets on Wednesday, but will head into Cranbrook for only one road game before heading back down across the border.

The Warriors, which at one point, were on the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, have climbed back into 10th place—one rung below the Ice.

Kootenay’s last outing, a 3-0 shutout of the Hurricanes at home, was a good way to bounce back from two road losses to Edmonton and Red Deer last week, added Boyd.

“I thought against Lethbridge, we played an all around good game, right from Skapper all the way to our top front end player, Sam,” said Boyd.

“We were moving the puck around well down low. Even us as a fourth line, I thought we were getting chances out there and our defence was just strong and not letting anything through.”

ICE NOTES: Tanner Faith stepped out for a brief skate on Thursday’s practice. The young defenceman is currently recovering from an upper body injury and will be out for another week or two. Sam Reinhart has the WHL’s longest active point streak with a goal or an assist in each of the last 16 contests.