Kootenay Ice fall 3-2 in Valentine’s Day heartbreaker

Cranbrook club shown no love by visiting Saskatoon Blades, give up late goal for third straight loss

Getting your heart broken is never fun, but it stings just a little more on Valentine’s Day.

Hosting the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday night, the Kootenay Ice were hit with Cupid’s dagger instead of his arrows. With the game tied 2-2 with less than three minutes left, an untimely turnover cost them a shot at overtime.

It was the second straight outing in which the Ice had a heartbreaking finish, after giving up a third period lead against Lethbridge on Monday. It also marked the team’s third loss in a row.

“It’s heartbreaking for the team, and for the fans,” said head coach James Patrick after the game. “I liked the way we played in the last two periods. When it was five-on-five, I thought we did a lot of good things. We got pucks in deep, we spread the zone, and we had possession a fair bit.”

While the game was mostly decided by special teams, the coach thought it was an encouraging effort overall.

“There were times when I thought we got pucks in the blue paint, and we battled, but we just didn’t win the battles, [and] that’s what it comes down to,” he said. “Their goalie was [also] good, and they didn’t give up too many second and third looks.”

The Ice struggled to get on track in the first period, but had the night’s first legitimate scoring chance with Peyton Krebs delivering a cross-crease pass to Colton Veloso early in the contest. Veloso put the puck on net, but was robbed by the left pad of Blades’ goalie Nolan Maier.

Later on in the frame, the Blades took advantage of their first power play chance to open the game’s scoring.

Although the Ice penalty killers fought admirably, with Kaeden Taphorn stealing a puck and wasting a good 15 seconds jammed in the corner with four Saskatoon players surrounding him, as soon as the Blades held possession, they buried their chance.

Taking a bank pass off the wall, rookie Kirby Dach found room, and beat Matt Berlin with a perfect shot off the crossbar, and in.

In the second, the Ice suffered from a lack of discipline, and let in another power play goal early. On a play assisted by Dach and Max Gerlach, defenceman Dawson Davidson sailed in a shot from the top of the circle.

It was one that Patrick thought his goalie should have had.

“The guy was shooting from inside the circle and [it went] right through the middle of the net, through the middle of the goalie,” he said. “That’s not a good goal.”

After the teams traded penalties, including a pair by Ice rookie Peyton Krebs in a holding and unsportsmanlike conduct combination, the Ice’s power play broke through.

Playing 5-on-3, the team opted to put out five forwards with zero defencemen, and the gambit worked out as Brett Davis made a pass from one faceoff dot to the other and Colton Veloso blasted in a one-timer.

“On our 5-on-3, I don’t care about having a defenceman,” Patrick said. “We’ve got guys, who we think are our better puck handlers or better playmakers, [so we just put them out].”

In the third, the ice started to tilt in Kootenay’s favour as Saskatoon was not able to stay in the offensive zone at all, and the Ice started to pile up chances.

Finally, while shorthanded, Brett Davis tied the game with a highlight reel breakaway. Getting sprung by Cam Hausinger, Davis backhanded a beauty top-shelf past Maier to tie the contest with less than six minutes remaining.

Unfortunately, with pressure returned, the Blades jumped back on the attack. Forcing a turnover in the neutral zone, they earned a 2-on-1 and Michael Farren potted the game winning goal with another assist going to Dach.

Although Kootenay pulled Berlin for an extra-attacker, and had a number of quality chances, a lack of finish caused an early end to their night.

“We missed the net [too many times],” Patrick said. “[And then] when we pulled the goalie, there was twice I thought we could’ve kept it in. You need to seal the wall, if they’re going to rim a puck. That puck got by us, and when we finally did get possession, we had trouble getting pucks by their shot lane.

“We didn’t do a good enough job. I know we had a look there right at the end. I thought we had a scoring chance, but we missed the net.”

The loss marked the team’s eighth defeat in their past nine games, and for the first time in months, jeopardizes their playoff position. While still third in the Central Division, Kootenay is now tied with the Red Deer Rebels with 51 points each.

The Rebels beat the Kelowna Rockets 4-1 on Wednesday, and just like the Ice, have played 58 games so far this year.

While the Ice’s recent record is not a pretty sight, according to Veloso, due to the close nature of the majority of their losses, the team doesn’t feel like they’re slumping.

“Lately, we’ve been working hard, [and] doing a lot of the right things, but at the end, it just didn’t go our way,” he said. “It’s disappointing and unfortunate, but we’ve just got to keep our heads [held] high, and know that [things] eventually will go our way.

The Ice return to action on Friday night to host the Tri City Americans for the first and only time this season. The Americans have 66 points and are in third place in the very strong U.S. Division.

NOTES: Recent second overall draft pick Connor McClennon could be in the Kootenay lineup on Friday. The 15-year-old was recalled on Tuesday, but was a scratch against the Blades. McClennon has played two of his allowed five games as an affiliate player.

Just Posted

New lights shine on local stage

Upgrades at Studio Stage Door theatre illuminate a new era for Cranbrook Community Theatre

SD5 protesting changes to B.C. graduation program

The Southeast Kootenay board of education is protesting changes to the B.C.… Continue reading

PDGA-sanctioned disc golf tournament takes place this weekend

The Double Disc Golf Cup takes at the Wycliffe and Cranbrook courses

Know It All: Kimberley Cranbrook entertainment guide

Key City Theatre Gallery Mount Baker Student Exhibition “Touch” Art That Makes… Continue reading

Fire Department called to trailer fire south of Cranbrook

Cranbrook Fire Department and emergency services were called to the scene of… Continue reading

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

Hugs & Slugs

Slugs: Huge Slugs to the rude, abusive elderly couple at the Superstore… Continue reading

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Fish farming company launches $30-million vessel to treat salmon for sea lice in B.C. waters

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don’t need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

Most Read