Curtis Meger had the nod in net, making his first start at Western Financial Place for the Kootenay Ice against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on Monday afternoon.
In his home debut, Meger made a penalty shot save and faced 49 shots in the 5-2 loss to the Hurricanes.
“I thought he was outstanding,” head coach James Patrick said about Meger’s play.
“The first period, and throughout the game, I thought he played maybe his best game since he has been here. He gave us every chance possible to win the game.”
Jaeger White opened the scoring late in the first period when the Hurricanes turned the puck over, and White didn’t miss his shot.
The Ice went into the second period with a 1-0 lead, but only after Meger made some big saves, especially after a penalty shot by Dylan Cozens.
Early in the second frame, Davis Murray gave the Ice a 2-0 lead with helpers from Brad Ginnell and Chase Hartje.
Facing 49 shots throughout the afternoon, Meger kept the team in the game after a lot of pressure from the Hurricanes early on.
“I think we locked down the [defencive] zone tonight even though they did have a lot of shots. But, a lot of shots were perimeter I’d say,” said Meger, who noted it doesn’t matter how many shots he faces, there is one priority.
“If it’s 50 shots thrown my way, it’s 50 shots or if it’s 20 or 30 it’s my job to keep them out of the net and whatever comes… I just want to give my team a chance to win.”
Meger signed with the Ice in early January and has played six games for Kootenay going 1-5.
READ MORE: Kootenay Ice sign goaltender Curtis Meger
“My junior career is coming to an end, and that sucks I think every day it’s getting a little closer and if I get an opportunity to get a start I want to make the most of it. Obviously, I won’t be able to play in the Western League next year,” said Meger.
The Hurricanes pulled Bryan Thomson after the 2-0 goal, and Carl Tetachuk came in as a relief. The tides turned as the goaltender change gave Lethbridge some life.
Lethbridge scored five unanswered goals including a shorthanded goal from Dylan Cozens, three power-play goals by Jordy Bellerive, Jake Elmer and Taylor Ross. Nick Henry notched the fifth goal to solidify the Hurricanes 5-2 win.
“We just need to stay out of the box,” said Connor McClennon, who finished the night with two shots on net.
“We are a young team and we can’t afford to be taking that many penalties. Our goalie held us in it for the game. He played really well, and I think we just need to stay out of the box. We know we can play with those guys. We are up 2-0 and we just have to find a way.”
While the Lethbridge power play was hot going three for five, the Ice man advantage was frozen with them going zero and six.
“When we got to the second period, special teams just killed us,” said Patrick.
“Maybe you can say special teams and discipline, for us to get outworked on our penalty — that’s what I thought what happened.”
The Ice are on the road for their next four games as they prepare to take on Regina, Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw.
“The last 12 games after this will be a personal test for each guy to see if he can get better. It will be a lot of evaluation for us to see where someone might fit, or if they are going to be able to be with us moving forward. I think individually every player has a lot to play for,” said Patrick.
They will be back at Western Financial Place on March 1 to take on the Swift Current Broncos.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter