Rebels with a cause

Kootenay Ice dismantled Saturday night in lacklustre performance in Red Deer

Taylor Rocca

The Kootenay Ice got away with a lacklustre performance the last time they visited Red Deer. The Rebels weren’t about to let that happen twice in a row on home ice.

“At the end of the day, you have to figure out if you want to compete,” said Ice assistant coach Jay Henderson Sunday evening. “It’s a 72-game season, you can’t pick and choose when you want to show up.

“I get it’s a long bus ride [to Red Deer] but there’s no excuse for [what happened Saturday night].”

The Ice (1-2-0-0) suffered their worst defeat of the still young 2014-15 WHL season Saturday night as the Red Deer Rebels (2-1-0-0) dismantled their opponents in a 7-1 shellacking before 5,056 spectators at ENMAX Centrium.

Rebels forward Conner Bleackley, freshly returned from Colorado Avalanche training camp, turned in a three-point performance and Presten Kopeck contributed two goals in the win.

By the time the game was four minutes old, Red Deer was out to a  2-0 lead courtesy Grayson Pawlenchuk and Meyer Nell. Bleackley made it 3-0 when he scored his first of the season with six seconds remaining in the opening frame.

The Rebels outshot the Ice 18-3 through the first 20 minutes of play and, ultimately, it was all the hosts needed to put the visitors to rest.

“Even going back to the Edmonton game [4-2 L vs. Oil Kings, Sept. 27], we had four shots in the first [period], four shots in the second [period],” Henderson said. “You’re not going to win many games…when you’re only getting four shots a period.

“And that [comes down to] puck possession and competing to get the puck back when you do lose it. You get tired of talking about compete but, bottom line, that’s what it comes down to.”

Kopeck added a power-play marker 1:20 into the closing frame to make it 4-0 Red Deer, erasing any opportunity for a Kootenay comeback. The 19-year-old ice his first-star performance with a short-handed tally later in the third period.

The lone bright spot for the Ice came when centre man Kyle O’Connor broke Rylan Toth’s shutout bid 7:37 into the third period. Toth made 17 saves to earn his second win of the season.

At the other end of the rink, Wyatt Hoflin suffered through 45:15 in ice time, turning aside 26 of the 31 shots he faced. Rookie Keelan Williams was then thrown into the fire, making seven saves on nine shots through the remainder of the third period.

Kootenay D Troy Murray was a team-worst minus-four at the end of the night. Rookie forwards Jared Legien and Vince Loschiavo were both minus-three at the end of the night.

“At some point, there’s going to have to be [consequences],” Henderson said. “At the end of the day, things have to change here pretty quick. I know we’re only three games in [to the season] but it seems like every time we talk, we talk about compete and that’s the issue. That’s what it comes down to.”

The Ice will get an opportunity to turn things around Friday night when they hit the ice in Cranbrook for the first time this season, playing host to the Spokane Chiefs (2-0-0-0). From there, it’s back on the road as Kootenay visits the Calgary Hitmen (1-2-0-0) Oct. 4. Life doesn’t get easier from there. The Ice then embark on a three-game road trip over three nights, facing the Regina Pats Oct. 8, the Moose Jaw Warriors Oct. 9 before concluding the Saskatchewan swing with an Oct. 10 date in Swift Current against the Broncos.

Notes: The Ice were without veteran forward Luke Philp Saturday in Red Deer. The 19-year-old pivot was bothered by what the team classified as a day-to-day lower-body injury throughout the week. It was initially expected he would be good to go against the Rebels.

Sunday afternoon the team announced the release of forward Shane Allan and defenceman Mark O’Shaughnessy. The moves reduce Kootenay’s roster to 24, including two goaltenders, eight defencemen and 14 forwards. Both Allan and O’Shaughnessy were scratches Saturday night.

Just Posted

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

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

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read