They say that the best revenge is living well. For the Kootenay Ice, “living well” is a 2-1 win against the Spokane Chiefs.
After giving up a 5-2 lead in the last 10 minutes the night before in Cranbrook, and losing 6-5 in overtime, Kootenay came into Spokane on Saturday seeking redemption.
“I think the best thing about hockey, with our situation right now, [is] we can go back tomorrow and show them what we’ve got,” said rookie Peyton Krebs after Friday’s loss at Western Financial Place. “I think that’s what we’re going to do.”
Krebs lived up to his word and was the first star in an impressive regulation victory over the Chiefs, which spoiled the Spokane home opener in front of 8,428 people.
Making his first regular season appearance with the Ice, Kurtis Chapman earned the win in net after making 16 saves on 17 shots. Despite the low shot total, it was a close affair.
The Ice put themselves in a difficult position early in the game, with Colton Veloso being called for slashing only 40 seconds into the first period.
After successfully killing the advantage, Barrett Sheen sparked his bench with a round of fisticuffs against Riley McKay. Sheen made quick work of the Spokane winger, taking only seconds to take him to the ground.
Lifted by the fight and seizing momentum off their first power play, the Ice opened the scoring for the fourth straight game of the young season, six and half minutes in.
A mere second after returning to even-strength, Brett Davis capitalized on a pass in front of the net from Alex Baer and beat Chiefs goalie Dawson Weatherill for his first of the year.
The team then managed to hold on to their single goal lead into the first intermission, at which point they were outshooting Spokane 12 to four.
The second period started out with the Ice on their heels and Chapman had to make an impressive stretch save on Hudson Elynuik who had a one-timer chance off the rush.
The frame then settled into a back-and-forth affair, with no great chances from either side, until an innocent-looking wide rush from Sheen ended up in the back of the net after Weatherill coughed up a rebound right to Krebs.
The marker was Krebs’ second goal and sixth point of the season, which has him in the team lead for points and tied amongst all WHL rookies with 18-year-old Red Deer Rebels Czech-import Kristian Reichel.
From that point on, however, the Ice got into penalty trouble that lasted the rest of the period. Minutes after their goal, Keenan Taphorn was sent off for hooking and the Chiefs put up strong pressure for two minutes.
While Chapman kept the puck out for the duration of the kill, two seconds after Taphorn returned, defenceman Ty Smith took a point shot that was tipped by Hayden Ostir in front and cut the Ice lead in half.
To close out the second, the Ice took two more penalties with a charge given to Sheen and a slash handed to Gilian Kohler.
Starting the third period on a penalty kill, Kootenay held off the Spokane attack and then got a power play of their own, but failed to score.
The final 20 minutes was played largely on the special teams with calls being levelled against both teams for everything from checking-from-behind to unsportsmanlike conduct.
Despite being down a man for the last three minutes of the game, with a penalty to Martin Bodak followed by an empty net situation for Spokane, the Ice held onto the victory.
With the win, the Ice now have a 2-1-1-0 record and handed the Chiefs (3-1-0-0) their first loss of the 2017-18 season.
The Ice had 23 shots on the night, were zero-for-three on the powerplay and six-for-six on the penalty kill, although a goal went either way just seconds after man advantages expired.
Kootenay will return to action on Sunday afternoon at home, for their third game in three days, to face the Edmonton Oil Kings (3-1-1-0). The Oil Kings also split a home-and-home series over the weekend, beating the Lethbridge Hurricanes 7-6 in Edmonton before falling 4-1 on the road.
Puck drop at Western Financial Place is scheduled for 4 p.m. for a ‘Family Fun Day’ presented by Ktunaxa Nation Council. The special event, which is scheduled to take place during five Sunday games and one Monday-night match includes face painters, a photo booth and a post-game autograph signing session.
1st Period-1, Kootenay, Davis 1 (Baer, Hausinger), 6:31. Penalties-Veloso Ktn (slashing), 0:39; Sheen Ktn (major-fighting), 3:12; McKay Spo (major-fighting), 3:12; Faith Spo (roughing), 4:30.
2nd Period-2, Kootenay, Krebs 2 (Sheen, Kroeker), 9:20. 3, Spokane, Ostir 1 (Smith, Anderson-Dolan), 15:24. Penalties-Taphorn Ktn (hooking), 13:22; Sheen Ktn (charging), 16:17; Kohler Ktn (slashing), 18:49.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Faith Spo (interference), 2:42; McKay Spo (checking from behind, checking from behind), 6:56; Veloso Ktn (hooking), 8:10; Loschiavo Ktn (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 9:21; Bodak Ktn (interference), 16:59.
Shots on Goal-Kootenay 12-5-6-23. Spokane 4-7-6-17.
Power Play Opportunities-Kootenay 0 / 3; Spokane 0 / 6.
Goalies-Kootenay, Chapman 1-0-0-0 (17 shots-16 saves). Spokane, Weatherill 3-1-0-0 (23 shots-21 saves).