Raiders, Hitmen take aim at the Ice

Starting off strong will be the key to both games after learning a few lessons in Medicine Hat.

Ice assistant coach Jay Henderson feeds one-timers to Zach Franko

Ice assistant coach Jay Henderson feeds one-timers to Zach Franko

Austin Vetterl makes no bones that the Kootenay Ice laid a bit of an egg on Wednesday night in a 6-2 loss against the Medicine Hat Tigers.

“I didn’t think we came out very strong,” the 19-year-old forward said. “Maybe it’s in our heads a bit in Med Hat, but sometimes, it just happens like that.

“I thought halfway through the game we picked it up, but by that time, it was 5-0 and it was too late at that point.”

Kootenay countered with a pair of late goals in the third period, and also rang the puck off the post a few times over the course of the contest, which could’ve turned the tide.

However, as with all things in life, there are lessons to be learned in defeat.

“We can play against that team in that building and we can be successful, but we have to play a full 60 minutes there, we can’t do it for half the game,” Vetterl noted.

That theme will play heavily into the weekend, as the Ice host the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday and the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday. Kootenay is clinging on to the final playoff spot in eighth place and have four of their next six games against Central Division opponents.

Every two points that the Ice can take away from their divisional foes will mean that much more distance in the standings race.

“We have to stay on the game plan and play hard against all those teams, especially against all the teams in Central [Division] they’re going to come out hard and give us their best game, because they’re rivals with us,” said Vetterl.

In Medicine Hat, the Tigers had a 3-0 lead after the first period, and a 5-0 lead early into the second frame. When facing the Raiders and the Hitmen this weekend, a better start will be crucial, added Vetterl.

“We have to go out, we have to start strong and play 60 minutes against them,” he said.

The Raiders are having a tough stretch, losing seven of their last eight games, including two blowouts in Swift Current and Red Deer. Calgary, which recently surrendered the top spot in the Eastern Conference to Edmonton, has lost six of their last eight outings.

While both teams may be struggling with a lack of confidence due to their recent records, Vetterl is also expecting them to come out with some fire.

“If you get on them early and get up on them early, they kind of lose confidence or they kind of sink into a shell,” said Vetterl. “But at the same time, they’re going to want to come out and prove themselves, especially PA—they’re going to want to prove they deserve a playoff spot—and Calgary, they can score whenever they want, they got such a great team, they made so many trades at the deadline.

“They’re both good teams, you got to get on them early, get their confidence down a bit and hopefully you can keep going from there.”

One weapon the Ice will continue to count on is Luke Philp, the second-line centre who extended his point streak to 11 games on Wednesday night with a powerplay goal. He is now up to 19 goals and 34 assists for 53 points so far this season.

Philp has been paired up with Tim Bozon, and the two have combined to add some bite to Kootenay’s offence. Joining Philp and Bozon on the the right wing is Vetterl himself, who has also helped out with eight goals and 15 assists.

Vetterl acknowledged how well his centreman has been performing recently.

“Luke Philp is playing great hockey right now, same with Timmy Bozon,” Vetterl said. “For Luke Philp, he’s our second line centre, and for him to bring secondary scoring, I guess you could call it, is huge for us, especially when you get guys like Sam, Desch and Frankie on the first line, it’s huge to have those guys going on the second line to give us a little extra scoring out there.”

NOTES: Kootenay has faced Prince Albert once at home and once on the road this season, the home team winning each game. The Raiders are coached by former Kootenay Ice bench boss Cory Clouston. Despite Calgary’s high perch in the Eastern Conference, the Ice have the edge in the season series, with three wins in their last five meetings to date.

 

Just Posted

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

Repaving of Victoria Ave (3rd St. S. to 11th St. S.) began on Monday, June 12. Drivers are asked to please avoid the area for the remainder of the day, if possible. Please watch for and obey directions from flaggers and signage, as the detours will be moving regularly. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Road construction, repaving programs well underway

Local road construction and repaving work continue apace, as summer programs get… Continue reading

Vendors and customers at one of the Cranbrook markets in 2020. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Cranbrook Farmers Market updates operating hours for the summer

Markets will continue to run from 10a.m. to 1p.m. until October 30th

City council passed first reading of a text amendment to a downtown zoning bylaw that would permit the land use for a craft brewery. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Downtown zoning amendment allowing craft brewery passes first reading

An application is moving forward that will tweak a downtown zoning bylaw… Continue reading

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Most Read