The Kootenay Ice went into Moose Jaw on Friday night knowing that it wasn’t going to be an easy game.
Missing their top two defencemen in Cale Fleury (suspension) and Martin Bodak (injury), the team couldn’t keep up with the undefeated Warriors and lost 5-2.
Although the Ice had worked on their power play during the practice before leaving for Saskatchewan, without Fleury’s guiding hand, it went zero for five. Moose Jaw also had a shorthanded goal and scored on one of their four power play chances.
Despite the final score, the Ice started the game off with strong play . Five minutes in, goalie Kurtis Chapman made an impressive stretch pad save on Brett Howden to keep his team in the game
A few minutes later, forward Vince Loschiavo got a partial breakaway and nearly beat Brody Willms with an impressive deke at top speed.
While the game was even through the first half of the opening period, Kootenay scored the game’s first goal twelve minutes in when Barrett Sheen took a shot off the wing on a rush with Peyton Krebs.
The goal was Sheen’s second of the year and sixth point, in what has so far been a breakout year for the Airdrie product.
Moose Jaw answered right back, however, and scored two quick goals in the space of 15 seconds.
After a disallowed goal from Warriors defenceman Oleg Sosunov and a subsequent goalie interference penalty for Howden, the pair took advantage of the Ice at the end of their penalty kill.
Getting a two-on-one through a fortunate penalty box exit, Howden found the 6’8 Russian blueliner who beat Chapman with soft hands in front of the net.
Seconds later, another odd-man rush led to a goal from Jayden Halbgewachs and sent Kootenay into the first intermission on a low note.
While the Ice were able to open the second period with a 5-on-3 power play, they were only able to get a single shot and failed to tie up the game.
After dominant play, the Warriors then cashed in with two goals midway through the frame with a shorthanded marker from Howden and a power play marker from Noah Gregor.
In the third period, Justin Almeida scored from the slot off a pass from Brayden Burke at the midway point and effectively ended the night.
While Peyton Krebs found Colton Kroeker with a perfect saucer pass on a rush with two minutes to go, the goal was little comfort for the overall loss.
Overall, the Warriors outshot the Ice 36-24 on the night and improved their record to a perfect 5-0-0-0 to start out the 2017-18 season. Kootenay, meanwhile, dropped to 2-3-1-0 and are now in fourth in the Central Division.
The Ice will finish their quick two-game road trip with a game in Swift Current against the Broncos on Saturday. The Broncos are entering the contest on a four-game winning streak after beating the Saskatoon Blades 6-2 on Friday night to remain perfect.
Puck drop tomorrow night is at 7:00 p.m. Following the game, the Ice return home to face the Red Deer Rebels at home on Thursday night.
1st Period-1, Kootenay, Sheen 2 (Huston, Kohler), 12:37. 2, Moose Jaw, Sosunov 3 (Burke, Klatt), 15:29. 3, Moose Jaw, Halbgewachs 4 (Gregor, Hunt), 15:46. Penalties-Howden Mj (tripping), 2:37; Davis Ktn (checking from behind), 9:08; Burke Mj (inter. on goaltender), 13:19; Woo Mj (interference), 19:06; Klatt Mj (hooking), 19:35.
2nd Period-4, Moose Jaw, Howden 2 (Jeannot, Woo), 14:42 (SH). 5, Moose Jaw, Gregor 2 (Howden, Burke), 16:49 (PP). Penalties-Huston Ktn (tripping), 3:35; Willms Mj (high sticking), 14:07; Hines Ktn (holding), 16:35.
3rd Period-6, Moose Jaw, Almeida 4 (Burke, Benson), 11:21. 7, Kootenay, Kroeker 2 (Krebs), 18:43. Penalties-Sheen Ktn (interference), 5:58; Chapman Ktn (roughing), 17:02; Burke Mj (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 17:02.
Shots on Goal-Kootenay 10-9-5-24. Moose Jaw 16-13-7-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Kootenay 0 / 5; Moose Jaw 1 / 4.
Goalies-Kootenay, Chapman 1-2-0-0 (36 shots-31 saves). Moose Jaw, Willms 5-0-0-0 (24 shots-22 saves).