The Kootenay ICE will look to get into the win column this weekend with three games in three nights.
On Jan. 4 the ICE will be in Medicine Hat to face the Tigers who are fourth in the central division.
Having recently played the Tigers on Dec. 28 in a 4-1 loss there isn’t much unknown about the team.
“They are a team we have played some good hockey against,” said head coach James Patrick.
“For us to play a better game we are going to have to eliminate our turnovers. Blind turnovers to the bad areas allow a good skating team – which they are – to come back the other way.”
The ICE are coming off of a 4-3 overtime loss to the Victoria Royals on Dec. 31, and Patrick says the team can build off of it.
“We are going to need a real solid 60 minutes. They are a good team, Medicine Hat is a team that can play with anyone. They play their system as well as anyone, they block more shots than any team we play against and its tough to get shots on net,” he said.
With the recent trades, Patrick says Marco Creta will fit the need of the team.
“He’s a solid two-way defenceman who can play some power play time, and he’s a left-hander so he fits our need of someone on the left side … I think he’s going to be a big addition to our team,” he said.
The ICE currently sit last in the central division and have an 8-24-6-1 record. To keep morale and spirits up, Patrick said they have been looking at the small steps within the games.
“There was no joy in the room after losing a game and it’s hard to take small steps or look at small victories. But, we have been in a lot of games it’s just been tough finding the [win],” he said.
Looking at the game in different ways has been a major aspect for the team.
“We have tried to challenge our players on some of the stuff we track: turnovers; giveaways/takeaways; block shots; 50/50 battles. If we can get better in those areas those are small details that lead to the team playing better,” said Patrick.
The ICE will be back at Western Financial Place on Jan. 5 to face the Spokane Chiefs, puck drop is 7 p.m.
“We lost in overtime last time in Spokane, we played close games against them. Another team I think we have played really competitive with,” said Patrick, noting he isn’t sure if Jaret Anderson-Dolan or Ty Smith will be back from the World Juniors and in the Chiefs lineup.
Less than 24 hours later the ICE will be taking on the Vancouver Giants when local Byram Bowen comes to town.
“I know very little about them,” Patrick said about the Giants since they only play once a year.
“Just pre-scout tape is all you can do. We have seen that B.C. division with Victoria last game … I felt like I had a good feeling for them, but it isn’t until you play them. I have a better feeling for Victoria now after we end up playing them and you see them up close. It will be the same way with Vancouver.”
Puck drop is 4 p.m. at Western Financial Place.