Ice prepare for playoffs

Kootenay and Calgary set to clash in the first round of the WHL post-season.

Kootenay Ice captain Sam Reinhart takes the puck to the net against the Calgary Hitmen during a regular season home game.

Kootenay Ice captain Sam Reinhart takes the puck to the net against the Calgary Hitmen during a regular season home game.

For the first time in two years, the Kootenay Ice won’t be facing the Edmonton Oil Kings in the first round of the WHL playoffs.

Instead, the team drew the Calgary Hitmen once all the dust settled from the final results of the last weekend of regular season action.

Kootenay ended their campaign with a first-round preview in a home and home series with the Calgary Hitmen that resulted in a pair of losses.

The two teams ended the season series at an even record—Kootenay with four wins and two losses in regulation, while Calgary came out ahead with an overtime and a shootout win.

Though the final four games didn’t go in Kootenay’s favour on the scoresheet, head coach Ryan McGill isn’t worrying about the past heading into the post-season.

“I’m not concerned one bit about the losses,” said McGill. “We went through some injuries, we’ve gone through some tough times mentally, and we had some scheduling and travelling issues those last two weeks.

“I think the guys are rested, the playoffs is a new slate, we’ve had some time off, we’ve had some good video sessions and we’ve had some practices with some good teaching.

“I think rest and recovery has been the most important thing for our group.”

Kootenay finished the season in sixth place, sliding down from fifth after the Hitmen won both of their last two games. With the Ice denied points, the Swift Current Broncos beat the Moose Jaw Warriors twice to leapfrog ahead.

Despite Calgary’s success in the standings and their appearances in the BMO Top 10 lists throughout the season, McGill says it will be the little things that will determine success for the Ice.

“The biggest thing for us is we have to make sure we don’t give this group anything easy,” McGill said. “If you want to look back to the game on Saturday in their building, sure we were down 4-1 but they didn’t get a shot on goal in the first 14 minutes of the game.

“…We know we’ve had success in certain areas against this team this year, we gotta try to emphasize those areas to start games and start periods and every shift in shift out, that our focus is on that, and not worry about what goes on around that.”

Both teams will be leaning on their top lines, with Brady Brassart, Greg Chase and Jake Virtanen providing the main offensive threats for Calgary. Sam Reinhart, Jaedon Descheneau and Luke Philp are the main point producers for the Kootenay Ice front line.

“It’s always a battle against Calgary,” said Reinhart. “It’s pretty easy to tell that both teams don’t like each other, so it’s always going to be a battle and I think that’s good.

“A seven game series—I think it’s going to bring out the best in both teams.”

It will be an interesting goaltender matchup between Mackenzie Skapski and Chris Driedger. Both have the same number of wins at 28 this season, with some similar individual numbers. Skapski has a save percentage of 0.916, with a goals against average of 2.70. Driedger has a slight edge with a 0.918 save percentage and a GAA of 2.64.

The defensive battle will be one of the keys to the series. Kootenay was down to five defencemen last weekend, and it remains to be seen if Landon Peel or Landon Cross will return from injury to bolster the back end.

“Obviously, we’ve played the last couple games without them, so if it it comes down to them not being in the lineup, we know what to expect,” said Ice defenceman Jagger Dirk. “We got to keep our game simple and there are going to be more minutes out there, so everybody’s gotta dig deep and give more, and when they do get back—whenever that is—they’re obviously going to be a huge help.”

The series also gets the big screen treatment, as Shaw TV will broadcast every game between the two teams.

Calgary will host Game One on Thursday and Game Two on Saturday. The series will shift back to Cranbrook for Game Three on Monday and Game Four on Tuesday. If necessary, Game Five and Game Seven will be in Calgary, while Game Six is at Western Financial Place.


Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

Repaving of Victoria Ave (3rd St. S. to 11th St. S.) began on Monday, June 12. Drivers are asked to please avoid the area for the remainder of the day, if possible. Please watch for and obey directions from flaggers and signage, as the detours will be moving regularly. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Road construction, repaving programs well underway

Local road construction and repaving work continue apace, as summer programs get… Continue reading

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media stock photo)
RCMP name 2015 homicide victim near Creston, investigation ongoing

26-year-old Clint Wolfleg was found dead in a private residence on May 31, 2015

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko, a Vancouver lawyer, has been suspended from practice for two months after admitting that his firm mismanaged $44,353.19 in client trust funds. (Acumen Law)
High-profile B.C. lawyer suspended over $44K in mismanaged client trust funds

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko admits to failing to supervise his staff and find, report the shortage

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

Athena and Venus, ready to ride. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Goggling double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to B.C. commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

A Photo from Sept. 2020, when First Nations and wild salmon advocates took to the streets in Campbell River to protest against open-pen fish farms in B.C.’s waters. On Dec. 17, federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 fish farms from Discovery Islands. Cermaq’s application to extend leases and transfer smolts was denied. (Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror)
Feds deny B.C.’s Discovery Island fish farm application to restock

Transfer of 1.5 million juvenile salmon, licence extension denied as farms phased out

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

Most Read