Rookies adjust to life on the road

Kootenay prepares for final game before Christmas break against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Jordan Steenbergen knows what he needs to bring after his first major WHL road trip.

“Definitely more snacks,” said the Ice rookie defenceman. “Didn’t bring enough snacks and probably some more of everything, like clothes.

“… As the rookie, I guess I didn’t pack well enough, but other than that, it was fun.”

It was the longest excursion from Cranbrook of the season for the Ice, which lasted 10 days, starting in Victoria and ending in Prince George.

“It was different being on the road for that amount of time, lots of time to sleep and rest, but also lots of time to get to know everyone better and bond as a team more,” said Steenbergen.

“It was different, being around the guys the whole time—since I don’t live with some of the guys—being in the hotel rooms and creating relationships,” added fellow rookie Matt Alfaro.

The results weren’t as good as the team were hoping for, with two wins and three losses during the swing through the B.C. Division.

Aside from a dismal 3-0 shutout in Victoria, Kootenay lost one-goal games against Vancouver and Kelowna, and picked up two wins against Kamloops and Prince George.

Kootenay Ice head coach Ryan McGill summed up the performance last week before leaving for Team Canada and the World Junior Championships.

“Inconsistent,” said McGill. “We played very well in Kelowna, we should’ve won the game because we could’ve buried opportunities in the first period. There’s an opportunity there to win the game because of how we created offence.

“Same thing in Vancouver. We shouldn’t be two-and-three on this trip, we should be probably four-and-one and it’s a direct result of inconsistent play from our best players.”

Alfaro and Zborosky both collected three points over the trip, each potting a goal and two assists.

“It’s good. I’m getting more of an opportunity with the injuries and lots more ice time,” said Alfaro. “Just doing the best I can, trying to put some points on the board and just be a plus-player.”

Zborosky is the highest scoring rookie for the Ice this year, with five goals and eight assists in 32 games.

“I never expected it to be like this, but it’s been a really good thing for me, it’s helped me not only in hockey, but off the ice, I’ve become more mature and I’ve also improved a lot in hockey,” he said.

“I think what I want to work on is being more consistent each game, but I’ve also gotten used to the speed of the game.”

Kootenay struggles continued in their first game back on home ice against the Red Deer Rebels, suffering a 4-0 shutout on Teddy Bear Toss night on Friday, however, a huge performance from goaltender Mackenzie Skapski led to a 3-2 shootout win over the Broncos on Saturday.

The Ice now close out the first half of the WHL schedule with their final game before the Christmas break against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on Tuesday.

Currently the Ice are missing the services of Ryan Chynoweth, Tanner Faith, Jagger Dirk, Rinat Valiev—all injured—while captain Sam Reinhart is busy with the World Juniors.

However, the Hurricanes will be the final hurdle before a nine-day break where the players will get to head home and put hockey on the back burner.

The Hurricanes have had a tough year and hold the worst record in the CHL, however, it’s a new-look team since the Ice faced them last.

St. Louis Blues prospect Nick Walters joined the team in a deal that sent highly touted NHL prospect Ryan Pilon to Brandon. Lethbridge also added Teagan Sacher, a goaltender previously from Regina, as well as Carter Folk and Riley Sheen in October.

Despite the record, the ‘Canes blew out the Rebels 6-0 a week ago on home ice.

“We got to approach them like we approach Kelowna,” said Steenbergen. “You see them last week, they beat Red Deer 6-0 so any team can beat any team in this league on any given day and we can’t come in with our heads held too high.

“We gotta maintain consistency and come in like any other team.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Today, on April 22, over 1 billion people will come together – virtually – to mark Earth Day.(Pixabay)
Earth Day 2021: a time to reflect

By Ruth Kamnitzer Today, on April 22, over 1 billion people will… Continue reading

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

While pharmacies across B.C. are using AstraZeneca for public immunizations for people 40 years of age and older, there is no availability currently in the Kootenays. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
No AstraZeneca vaccine availability in Kootenay pharmacies, says Interior Health

Vaccine has been opened up at pharmacies in other areas of the province to people 40 years of age and older

Balsamroot, pictured here, can be found on Sunflower Hill in the Kimberley Nature Park, Eager Hill, Wycliffe Buttes, and many other areas across the Rocky Mountain Trench. (Paul Rodgers file)
Spring’s yearly spectacle of balsamroot

Ever year in May, balsamroot emerges for a brief showy period

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Letisha Reimer, 13, was killed Nov. 1, 2016 in a stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
Second-degree murder conviction stands for Abbotsford school killer

Judge finds that Gabriel Klein is criminally responsible for death of Letisha Reimer

FILE – RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by as protesters opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion block rail lines, in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, November 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Very scary’: B.C. travel rules too vague, shouldn’t involve police, civil liberties group says

BCCLA said that speaking with communities could have avoided top-down approach

Ocean Legacy Foundation members conduct a shoreline pollution cleanup in Vancouver. (OLP)
It’s time to end ‘suffocating’ plastic pollution along B.C. shorelines, advocates urge

This Earth Day, Ocean Legacy Foundation is launching a free educational platform to educate the public about plastic pollution

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
B.C. teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. university rowing coach ‘deeply sorry’ after complaints

Barney Williams says he’s been committed to ensuring no other member of the roster had a similar experience

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
B.C. girl’s wish granted as her cat came back, two years later

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read