The Kootenay Ice finally managed to win on Friday night, ending an 11-game winless drought with a 6-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels.
Having lost every game they’d played since February 16 heading in, the Ice played a solid road game to get a little revenge on the team who stole their playoff spot down the stretch.
Special teams were a big part of the story, as the Ice scored three power play goals on five attempts, while killing all three Red Deer man advantages.
Three Kootenay players had three-point nights, including rookie import-forward Gilian Kohler who put in two power play goals and then added an assist. Defenceman Martin Bodak and forward Brett Davis, meanwhile, both had three assists.
The game got off to a positive start for Kootenay as Alec Baer scored just five and a half minutes into the night, after a dominant first period.
With less than a second to go in the frame, Colton Kroeker then got in on a little March Madness fun with a buzzer beater that gave his team a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
The Rebels started to come back in the second and cut the lead in half near the midway mark, but Kohler had the immediate answer on the team’s second power play chance. Taking a nice cross-ice pass from the blueline by Krebs, Davis fed the Swiss forward in front for his first goal of the night.
While Rebels point-leader Mason McCarty pulled the home team back to within one soon after, the Ice scored another power play marker with Keenan Taphorn finishing off a play assisted by Bodak and goaltender Matt Berlin.
In the third, Kohler scored again on a similar setup from Davis, before Krebs added an early empty net goal assisted by Kohler and Davis.
Overall, Berlin was solid in net throughout the game and made 26 saves for his first win since January 27, in his just his first start since a 4-3 shootout loss in Red Deer two weeks ago.
Kohler’s three point night, meanwhile, was the rookie’s biggest ever offensive output, while Krebs stayed atop the WHL’s rookie scoring race after his two-point night elevated him to 54 points in 66 games.
The Ice play their final game of the year at home on Saturday night, once against the Red Deer Rebels. While their 25-38-5-2 record does not qualify them for playoff play, the team still has a chance to go out on a winning note in front of their hometown crowd on ‘Fan Appreciation Night’.
Puck drop will be at 7 p.m. at Western Financial Place with a pre-party taking place from 4:00 to 6:30 at the Curling Club across the parking lot. The 2017-18 season team awards will also be presented before the game.