Ice split weekend with Chiefs

Visiting teams come out on top as Kootenay and Spokane trade wins while hitting the road.

The road was kind to the visiting teams over the weekend, as the Spokane Chiefs came into Cranbrook and stole a win on Friday, before the Ice took some revenge the following night in Washington state.

Todd Fiddler scored the game’s only goal in the second period on Friday, as the Chiefs shut out the Ice 1-0, however, an explosive second half of Saturday’s game put the Ice up 7-3 on Spokane to complete the home and home series.

Though the Ice won on the road, they had plenty of opportunities to win at home, but Chiefs netminder Eric Williams managed to stay perfect with 29 saves.

Mackenzie Skapski was equally brilliant with 24 stops—and the main reason why it was only a one-goal game—however, Fiddler’s goal late in the middle frame proved to be enough for Spokane’s win.

“I thought we had our chances, we had lots of scoring chances, we just couldn’t put the puck in the net,” said Joey Leach, who returned to the bench on Friday after recovering from injury. “We gave up one goal—they’re a pretty good offensive team. I thought we played well in our zone, just one brain fart, and it’s in the back of our net.”

Brock Montgomery and Tanner Muth also made a return to the bench after recovering from upper body injuries, while Collin Shirley was absent, as he is off playing in the World U17 Hockey Challenge in Quebec.

Though it was only a one-goal game, the Ice had plenty of chances to get on the board, including a two-man advantage for 1:11 in the second period.

“He made some nice saves, but we had him down and out a few times and you got to be able to put the puck in the net and get the puck up,” said Leach.

Spokane failed to to score in two power play opportunities, while the Ice never capitalized in four chances.

It was a much different game the following night, as Levi Cable broke a tie early in the second period, which was followed by four consecutive markers as Kootenay ran away with the game.

It was shot for shot in the first 25 minutes of the affair, as both teams traded a trio of goals, before the Ice took control of the game in the latter half of the second period.

Erik Benoit opened the scoring for Kootenay, but Fiddler responded five minutes later. Austin Vetterl put the Ice back in the lead, but Dylan Walchuk pulled Spokane even again.

The Chiefs briefly pulled ahead early in the second period on another goal from Fiddler, however, Reinhart brought the game back to a tie on a powerplay.

Levi Cable put Kootenay back in the lead 10 minutes later, and Tanner Faith scored his first career WHL goal to add some insurance.

Reinhart got his second of the game in the third period, while Leach lit up the goal lamp on another power play goal two minutes later.

Kootenay is seven points behind the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Eastern Conference, but have the luxury of a few games in hand against their closest opponents in the rankings.

The Ice return to home action on Monday evening for a New Years Eve game against the Calgary Hitmen. Game time is a little earlier than usual, with a 5 p.m. face-off at Western Financial Place.

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