Goaltender Wyatt Hoflin

Goaltender Wyatt Hoflin

Kootenay Ice battle but come up winless on East Division swing

Kootenay Ice drop decisions to Regina Pats, Swift Current Broncos to round out three-game East Division road trip

On the heels of an 11-1 loss to the Brandon Wheat Kings, head coach Luke Pierce said his team didn’t work and they needed to do that Friday in Regina.

Despite falling 7-5 to the Regina Pats (27-23-3-4), the Kootenay Ice did just that, battling to the bitter end, coming up just short.

“It was night and day,” Pierce said Sunday after returning from Saskatchewan. “It was like taking a peewee team Wednesday and then watching a real Western Hockey League team play on Friday.

“Considering the lineup we had, guys stepped up and filled in real well.”

Friday in Regina, the Ice went without forwards Jesse Zaharichuk (illness), Max Patterson (undisclosed), Austin Wellsby (upper body) and Dylan Stewart (upper body).

Ultimately, it was a pair of Pats dealing the heaviest damage, as defenceman Connor Hobbs registered three goals and an assist while centre Adam Brooks potted two tallies and four helpers.

Meanwhile, hometown boy Zak Zborosky put forth a strong effort for the Ice, registering two goals and an assist of his own.

“He played with a ton of energy,” Pierce said of Zborosky. “It was his first time this year playing in front of lots of family and friends. He just had some extra jump, but for the most part, he did what we talked about all game, which was just making sure we were getting above pucks defensively and he created some offense from that.

“He was real responsible throughout the game… But we can’t keep relying on those guys [Zborosky and Matt Alfaro]. It played into Saturday.”

Friday proved a back-and-forth affair from start to finish.

Hobbs gave his team its first two-goal lead of the game 4:19 into the third period, sending his hat-trick marker past younger brother and Ice goaltender Declan Hobbs for a 6-4 Regina advantage.

Ice captain Tanner Lishchynsky pulled his club back within one goal in the final minute of regulation before Pats forward Austin Wagner sealed the outcome with an empty-net marker as time wound down.

Also providing offense for the visitors were Shane Allan and Noah Philp.

At the end of the night, the younger Hobbs made 31 saves between the pipes for Kootenay, while Tyler Brown turned aside 26 of 31 shots to backstop the Pats.

Saturday in Swift Current, the Ice managed to stake out a 2-1 lead through 40 minutes of play before burning out in the third period as the Broncos (21-30-4-3) registered three unanswered goals to claim a 4-2 victory.

The game-winning goal came off the stick of Broncos forward Tyler Steenbergen on a play that appeared to be offside at the Kootenay blueline.

The offside play went undetected by officials as Steenbergen collected his 16th of the season to snap a 2-2 tie with 14:25 to go in regulation.

“The winning goal was a real tough one to take,” Pierce said. “It was pretty clearly offside, I think everyone in the arena saw it except the officials. In a 2-2 game that’s a real tough one to handle. But at the same time, the refs are going to make mistakes as we do. Unfortunately, we made too many of them in the third [period].”

Broncos forward Glenn Gawdin scored with 35 seconds remaining in regulation to give the home team all the insurance it needed.

The Broncos opened the scoring on a bizarre play.

Affiliate defenceman Dom Schmiemann sent a long dump-in attempt from centre ice off the glass just inside the Ice blue line. As goaltender Wyatt Hoflin vacated the cage to play the puck, it ricocheted off a stanchion and into the open net for Schmiemann’s first-career WHL goal.

Dallas Hines and Zak Zborosky combined to give the Ice a 2-1 lead through 40 minutes of play.

Hoflin was stellar once again, making 40 saves to give his team a shot Saturday evening.

At the other end, Broncos goaltender Taz Burman made 24 saves for the win.

Making their WHL debuts over the weekend were twin forwards Keenan and Kaeden Taphorn.

There was plenty to like from the 16-year-old prospects, who showed good instinct and drive in their first tastes of WHL hockey.

“There’s a lot to like. Both boys show some natural hockey sense that is beyond a lot of kids at their age,” Pierce said. “They did some things instinctively that we’ve been continuing to work on with our guys even to this point in the year. That’s really encouraging.

“They were smart and simple and kept the game basic, which is exactly what we need from our group. They skate well, they had a couple chances Saturday and I think they’ve got a real bright future.”

Both Taphorn boys skated Friday and Saturday, collecting no points over the weekend.

They have since been returned to the Yorkton AAA Maulers of the Saskatchewan Midget Hockey League to finish out the season.

The Kootenay Ice (10-44-5-0) return to Cranbrook to open a three-game home stand this week, beginning Wednesday (7 p.m.) when the Wheat Kings (37-17-2-2) visit Western Financial Place.

From there, the Ice welcome the Edmonton Oil Kings (25-27-6-1) for Pink the Rink Night Friday before closing the home stand against the Portland Winterhawks (31-25-3-0) Saturday evening.

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 6 -12: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

Supporters — and shoppers — lined up waiting at the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South, waiting for the doors to open on the store's first day of operations since the pandemic forced its closure. (Photo courtesy Kate Fox)
CHCA Thrift Store re-opens in Cranbrook

After a closure of 15 months, due to the pandemic, the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South has once again opened its doors for business.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read