Ice melt 3-0 against red-hot Broncos

Kootenay only musters 14 shots on goal in shutout loss to Swift Current

The Ice couldn’t withstand the heat from the Broncos, melting 3-0 in Swift Current on Wednesday night mustering a grand total of 14 shots on goal in the process.

Jay Merkley, Graham Black and Coda Gordon scored for the Broncos, while Ice goaltender Wyatt Hoflin made 31 saves in defeat.

“We had 14 shots on net so that sort of sums it up in a nutshell,” said Ice assistant coach Jay Henderson. “It was a very weak effort, a lot of guys going through the motions and that’s the bottom line. It wasn’t enough.”

Kootenay lost defenceman Rinat Valiev in a second period fight with Cavin Leth, as the two dropped the hits after the Ice defenceman laid out the Broncos centreman in a big hit.

Valiev was penalized two minutes for roughing, five minutes for fighting and a game misconduct, while Leth served a five minute major for fighting. In the aftermath, the officials whistled Valiev for a slew-foot, which initiated the ejection, according to Henderson.

Kootenay’s powerplay fizzled, even though it’s been on fire lately, going scoreless in four opportunities, while the penalty kill shut out the Broncos in five opportunities with the man-advantage.

Ice blueliner Jordan Steenbergen found himself back up in the forward department on the fourth line, while Jeff Hubic remained on defence.

The Broncos capitalized twice late in the first period for a two-goal lead. Merkley batted in an airborne puck, while Black forced a turnover at the blue line on a Kootenay powerplay and scored on a shorthanded breakaway.

Black headed to the dressing room in the second period when he crashed into the boards on another breakaway, but made a return later in the game to help his team towards the win.

The two teams held each other to a draw in the second period—Kootenay with only three shots on net—but the Broncos padded their lead in the final frame on a goal from Gordon, who picked up a rebound off a rush into the zone.

With the win, Swift Current has now won nine games in a row, halting Kootenay’s burgeoning streak at two.

“They sure looked good tonight, that’s for sure,” said Henderson, before moving the targeting sight back on his team. “A lot of perimeter play and not a lot of threats—taking pucks to the net. We deserved what we got and, obviously, with the 14 shots and no goals, that’s what you get when you put in a performance like that.”

The Ice will stay overnight in Swift Current and get in some practice on Thursday before heading to Prince Albert for their next game on Friday. They’ll wrap up the

road trip with a contest against the Blades in Saskatoon on Saturday.