Skip to content

Kootenay Ice end losing skid with 4-2 win in Regina

Team defeats Pats in ‘character win’, receive key contributions from veteran players

The Regina Pats are set to host the 2018 Memorial Cup, but on Friday night it was the Kootenay Ice who got to party in the Queen City.

Ending a five-game losing skid and a season-long struggle on the road in Saskatchewan, the Ice smashed the Pats in an important 4-2 victory.

Facing off against former captain Cale Fleury for the first time ever, one-time defensive partner and long-time teammate Dallas Hines was instrumental in Kootenay’s win with a goal and an assist. Fellow veterans Colton Kroeker and Alec Baer, meanwhile, also had two-point nights.

“I thought it was a huge character win from top to bottom,” said Ice head coach James Patrick following the game. “After the heartbreak in Prince Albert [in our previous game], we just talked about staying the course and playing the same way [and] we did that [against] an extremely talented team.”

On Wednesday night against the Raiders, the Ice played a solid game but just missed overtime after letting in a goal in the last minute-and-a-half of the third period. They countered that performance, by scoring early and often against the powerhouse Pats.

Just 46 seconds into Friday night’s game, Alec Baer walked into the Regina zone with room created by Kaeden Taphorn and snapped a goal past Ryan Kubic.

The team then hunkered down and kept it a tie game for the rest of the opening frame.

“I thought that [during] the first half of the game, we really backchecked hard and made it really tough on [their top guys],” Patrick said. “I just loved the effort and thought (goalie) Duncan [McGovern] was outstanding.”

McGovern made seven saves in the first period and then had his workload doubled in the second, facing 14 and making 13 stops.

The Pats beat him early, just over a minute into the frame, but the Ice had a quick response.

Grabbing a puck in front of the net, Nick Henry got the Pats on the board with a perfect top-corner shot over McGovern’s blocker. The Ice then gave Regina a power play but managed to convert shorthanded.

Converting on cross-ice pass from Colton Veloso, Kroeker got a knee down and blasted in his 12th goal of the season past Kubic.

“[That] goal gave us a lot of momentum,” said Hines following the game. “It gave us our legs back for sure.”

Sebastian Streu soon gave Kootenay a cushion as he took advantage of an inopportune giveaway in the Pats zone and just turned and fired one into the back of the net. It was Streu’s second straight game with a goal and fourth in the rookie’s past eight outings.

Continuing to mount pressure, the Ice scored a power play goal three minutes later. Unloading a massive point shot, Hines took advantage of net-front presence from Cam Hausinger and scored to send his team into the third period up 4-1.

While Matt Bradley got a goal early, off a backdoor pass from first-round NHL draft-pick Sam Steel, it was as close as the Pats would come. From there, McGovern stood on his head and managed to get Kootenay to the final buzzer for a very important win.

The Ice victory was the team’s first in a Saskatchewan arena this year and improved their record to 24-28-3-0. They are now four points ahead of the Red Deer Rebels for third in the Central Division and a spot in the playoffs.

Tonight, the Ice face the league-leading Moose Jaw Warriors (41-9-1-2) who are entering the game on a two-game winning streak. After playing against Fleury for the first time, who ended the game as a -1, it will be Kootenay’s first time playing against former alternate captain Vince Loschiavo.

Puck drop is at 6 p.m. MST and the game is the last of the Ice’s four-game road trip. They return home for a special holiday Monday game at 2 p.m. at Western Financial Place against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.