The Kootenay ICE looked to stop their losing streak against the Kelowna Rockets at Western Financial Place.
Power play goals made the difference in a 3-1 loss to the Rockets on Tuesday night. Leif Mattson had a pair and Kyle Topping scored with the man advantage to hand the ICE their 12th straight loss.
Two goals in the first set the tempo for Kelowna, and the ICE weren’t able to come back.
Goaltender Jesse Makaj kept the score 2-0 at the end of the first after facing 17 shots.
“I thought the first period we were totally outworked. They had way better puck position and they had middle lane drive,” said head coach James Patrick.
Going down early in the first didn’t stop the ICE from trying to shift the momentum. Cole Muir scored his seventh goal of the year with helpers from Jakin Smallwood and Jonathan Smart.
Matteson continued with the power play prowess to score his second of the night making it 3-1 in the second period.
With a scoreless third, the ICE were handed their 12th straight loss.
Makaj made 27 saves on the night and Rockets goaltender James Porter made 29 save.
“By the third period, they just sat on a 3-1 lead and iced the puck, always had four or five guys back. We didn’t do enough to get to the middle, to get to the dirty areas,” said Patrick.
The ICE went zero for three on the power play, with the Rockets going three for four.
“Their special teams were way better than ours. They sacrificed and paid the price on their penalty kill and we refused to block shots on ours. We lost the game on special teams and our first period,” said Patrick.
Keeping up morale in the locker room is tough with the losses accumulating, Patrick noted there is frustration but he has liked the compete in four of the last five games.
“I thought our compete and work ethic was outstanding … tonight was a tough one for us. I know the players care a lot and they are extremely frustrated. They want to win badly. We are trying to teach and be positive at the same time,” he said.
On Dec. 14 the ICE will take on the Kamloops Blazers who are 12-13-2-1 on the season.
Austin Schellenberg has been with the ICE for five games since coming over from the Red Deer Rebels and said going into the game they need to be better with possession.
“The big take away is to keep the puck on our sticks and get pucks deep when we can,” he said.
River Fahey, who also came over from the Rebels and played five games with the ICE said going into Friday they need to play as a team.
“We were a little bit individual out there, so if we play more as a team then I think better things will happen,” he said.
Friday will also be the Teddy Bear, Toque and Mitten Toss Night, where all the kids under the age of 12 will get in free to the game. Puck drop is 7 p.m. at Western Financial Place.