On the heels of a 7-3 defeat at the hands of the Medicine Hat Tigers Wednesday, the Kootenay Ice are intent on getting back into the win column this weekend, facing three games in three nights.
“We have a big week,” said forward Tim Bozon after Wednesday’s loss. “It’s important that everybody gets their rest. It’s important that everybody comes back for practice [Thursday] ready to go for a big weekend. Friday, Saturday, Sunday is going to be a huge weekend.”
The Kootenay Ice open the weekend Friday at 7 p.m. against the Lethbridge Hurricanes (5-12-3-1). If you include Wednesday’s setback, the Ice will have played four games in five nights after the weekend wraps up, traveling to Medicine Hat Saturday for a rematch against the Tigers (16-4-1-1) before returning home to host the Moose Jaw Warriors (9-10-2-1) Sunday at 6 p.m.
“Rest is huge,” said defenceman Tyler King. “You can’t be tired for the start of any game. You’ve got to have legs through the whole team. When the games run late, you’ve just got to find time to get as much rest and recovery as you can.”
The Ice have found success in two games against Lethbridge this season, earning a 6-5 overtime victory at home Nov. 1 before doubling up the Hurricanes 4-2 in Lethbridge Nov. 15.
“It’s a little bit of a weird game when we play against them,” Bozon said. “When we played them in Lethbridge, they had all five guys in the middle [of the ice].
“We have to keep it more simple and shoot the puck. [The Hurricanes] played really well against us the last time they were here…We have to play a hard game and show them we deserve to be ahead of them.”
As it stands, the Ice hold a two-point edge on the Hurricanes in the WHL’s Central Division.
Ice captain Sam Reinhart led the way offensively with a goal and two assists the last time Kootenay and Lethbridge met Nov. 15. Prior to that, it was Jaedon Descheneau playing the hero Nov. 1, scoring the overtime-winner with 10 seconds remaining in the extra period.
After squandering an opportunity to make a statement to teams around the league in Wednesday’s loss to the Tigers, the Ice head to Medicine Hat for a rematch with the Central Division leaders Saturday night.
“We’ve seen what they’re all about,” Bozon said. “Now we are aware. Saturday’s going to be really important to show [Wednesday] was something that won’t happen again.
“It’s always tough to play in their barn. It’s a different rink, really fast. But it’s good to play them again and to show them we will be ready.”
The Ice hold a lifetime record of 25-24-5-0 in Medicine Hat.
Notes: The Kootenay Ice will likely be without the services of F Jon Martin (upper body, one week), F Kyle O’Connor (lower body, one to two weeks), F Levi Cable (lower body, one to two weeks) and D Tanner Faith (upper body, one to three weeks) this weekend.