Jakin Smallwood was one of three ICE players to score in the 8-4 loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Photo by Trevor Crawley.

Jakin Smallwood was one of three ICE players to score in the 8-4 loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Photo by Trevor Crawley.

Kootenay ICE head out on five-game road trip

The ICE are welcoming new faces as they head on their longest road trip of the year.

The Kootenay ICE will enjoy a long road trip during the back half of January.

The ICE have five road games before they are back at Western Financial Place, and will start their road trip on Jan. 12 against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Back on Jan. 9, the ICE played the Hurricanes and lost 3-2 at Enmax Centre.

“The good thing for us is we get another kick at them. We can see a lot of the things that we need to do better in the game,” said head coach James Patrick.

He noted that the third period is when the Hurricanes started to take over the game to get the winning goal.

“They are very skilled, they have a lot of depth and a lot of elite players, but we can play with that team. We can certainly compete with that team. We haven’t beat them yet this year, but we can if we play the right way,” said Patrick.

Goaltender Jesse Makaj faced 54 shots in the game against Lethbridge. While Patrick didn’t confirm he would get the start on Saturday, he did say the odds were in favour for it.

“Jesse was outstanding for us. It was disappointing to have the late breakdown, give up the goal with just over three minutes when that game was there. I thought Jesse gave us a chance — he gave us a chance to win the game,” said Patrick.

Makaj has played in 24 games this season and has a record of 2-13-4-1.

“He has played well for us all year. I think there are times we have overused him and he’s still a young player — he’s still learning. It’s a challenge for the number one goalies in the league to play back-to-back games so I think that’s still an area he has to establish to show he can do that. But, he has given us some games as he did in Lethbridge. He has gotten better and better from the start of the year,” explained Patrick.

With the trade deadline finished, the ICE added a couple of new faces to their roster. The most recent move was a down-to-the-wire deal for Chase Hartje.

READ MORE: ICE acquire Chase Hartje from Wheat Kings

“A veteran defenceman that is going to be a top-four defenceman on our team. It allows some of our 17-year-old defenceman to play against third and fourth lines where they are suited. We are looking at Hartje to come in and be a real solid two-way player,” said Patrick.

The ICE also acquired Brenden Kwiatkowski, which means they have eight defencemen on their roster.

“It gives us some depth. I know he is an 18-year-old who has played in the league for a year and a half. He has a little more experience than some of our younger guys, so I expect him to just try and be a good defender,” said Patrick.

The ICE also acquired defenceman Marco Creta, forward Brandon Machado and signed goaltender Curtis Meger.

The ICE currently sit last in the central division with an 8-28-6-1 record in 43 games played.



jessica.dempsey@cranbrooktownsman.com

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