Kootenay Ice forward Tim Bozon celebrates one of his three goals against the Edmonton Oil Kings Thursday afternoon. Bozon's hat trick led the Ice to a come-from-behind 5-3 victory over the Oil Kings at Rexall Place.

Kootenay Ice forward Tim Bozon celebrates one of his three goals against the Edmonton Oil Kings Thursday afternoon. Bozon's hat trick led the Ice to a come-from-behind 5-3 victory over the Oil Kings at Rexall Place.

Le tir et le but

"He shoots, he scores!" -- Tim Bozon tallies hat trick to lead Kootenay Ice over Edmonton Oil Kings Thursday afternoon

The Kootenay Ice cruised to a come-from-behind 5-3 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings Thursday afternoon, powered by a dominating three-goal performance from French import Tim Bozon.

“We gained a lot of momentum in the last 10 minutes of the second period just by keeping it simple, putting pucks behind their ‘D’ and not letting them change with that long change in the second period,” said Kootenay Ice head coach Ryan McGill Thursday afternoon.

Bozon and defenceman Tyler King ensured the visitors cashed in on the momentum, as both scored in the final three minutes of the period to tie the game 3-3.

Bozon, the native of Valbonne, France, scored once in each period, including power-play goals in the first and third to lead his team to a critical Central Division win Thursday afternoon.

The pair of power-play goals are the first signs of life in the new calendar year for the Kootenay Ice power-play unit. Heading into Thursday’s affair, the Ice were 0-for-27 on the man advantage in 2015, having not scored a power-play goal since Tyler King tallied Dec. 30 in Medicine Hat.

“We just simplified [the power play] and tried to attack the net as quick as possible rather than trying to move the puck around the perimetre,” McGill said. “We tried to make sure that off any recoveries, we got [the puck] back to the net as quick as possible and I thought we did that.”

Bozon opened the scoring for the Ice with his first power-play goal of the day 6:53 into the first period. The 20-year-old Montreal Canadiens prospect redirected a Luke Philp shot past Oil Kings goaltender Tristan Jarry to knot the game 1-1.

By the midpoint of regulation, the Ice found themselves trailing 3-1 after Brett Pollock tallied twice and Ben Carroll extended the advantage.

Before the second period expired, Bozon took a long stretch pass from King, splitting the Oil Kings defense, shelving a backhand shot over Jarry and under the crossbar to pull the visitors within one.

“He went to the net hard on the one goal,” McGill said of Bozon’s performance. “The other was a one-timer, which he can do — he can shoot the puck.

“A little unconventional going to his backhand to shoot it [on the breakaway], but that’s what goal-scorers do.”

After setting up Bozon’s second goal of the afternoon, King was the next to finish for the Ice, taking a pass from Rinat Valiev, sneaking towards the Oil Kings goal line, banking a tough-angle shot off the short-side shoulder of Jarry and into the back of the cage.

After 40 minutes, the Ice and Oil Kings were even on the scoreboard.

Oil Kings forward Brandon Baddock took an interference penalty 32 seconds into the third period, setting up the third and final Ice power play of the afternoon.

Taking a pass from Valiev at the top of the circle, Bozon one-timed a hot shot past Jarry to complete the hat trick, giving the visitors their first lead of the afternoon.

Levi Cable completed the scoring, tallying his 20th of the campaign into an empty net with 18 seconds remaining in regulation.

Jarry faced 38 shots on the day, steering aside 34 in a losing effort, while Ice goaltender Wyatt Hoflin earned his 24th win of the campaign with a 28-save performance.

A total of 10,396 fans took in the 11:30 a.m. puck drop on CN Hockey Hooky day at Rexall Place in Edmonton.

The Ice return home to take on the Swift Current Broncos Saturday night at Western Financial Place.

Thursday’s triumph pulled the Ice (24-22-0-1, 49 points) to within one point of the Edmonton Oil Kings (22-19-4-2, 50) for fourth place in the WHL’s Central Division.

The Ice return home to take on the Swift Current Broncos Saturday night at Western Financial Place.

Saturday’s tilt represents a crucial Eastern Conference matchup. The Ice hold the first wild-card slot in the WHL’s Eastern Conference, while the Broncos (21-20-1-4, 47) sit close behind in the second and final wild-card spot.

“[Saturday is] big for us,” McGill said. “We’ve got to play the same way we did today. We’ve got to keep things simple and keep things in front of us. Nothing more, nothing less.”

The Ice close out the weekend with a Sunday evening game, welcoming the Prince George Cougars (20-26-1-1, 42) to Western Financial Place for a 6 p.m. puck drop.

Notes: Ice F Luke Philp skated in his 200th career game Thursday afternoon… Ice D Rinat Valiev finished the day with two assists… Oil Kings F Brett Pollock wrapped up the afternoon with two goals and an assist… The Ice scratched D Bryan Allbee (healthy), F Austin Wellsby (healthy), F Vince Loschiavo (healthy) and D Tanner Faith (shoulder, four to six months) Thursday…