Skapski a wall as Ice beat Cougars 3-1

Turning away 51 shots, the Kootenay Ice goaltender leads his team to victory in Prince George.

Mackenzie Skapski played the role of Ebenezer Scrooge against the Prince George Cougars, making 51 saves to lead the Kootenay Ice to a 3-1 win on Tuesday night.

The Cougars outshot the Ice in all three period and took the initial lead, however, Skapski’s work in between the pipes and offence from Jaedon Descheneau, Tim Bozon and Jagger Dirk, was enough to lift Kootenay to victory.

Though Kootenay picked up the win, head coach Ryan McGill wasn’t too impressed with the lack of effort throughout his bench, noting that the team only won because of Skapski.

“We had a team of veterans and leaders that didn’t show up, besides him,” McGill said. “Obviously we needed him and I guess I’ll put Tim Bozon in that category—he played pretty well—but after that, or before that, we had nobody show up.”

In front of a crowd of only 1,410 at the CN Centre in Prince George, the two teams held each other scoreless after the opening period, before trading goals in the middle frame.

Jordan Tkatch trailed the play on a Cougars odd-man rush, and picked up a juicy rebound to put Prince George in the lead in the first half of the period. Descheneau combined with Matt Alfaro to knot the game back up 10 minutes later on a play that went to video  review after the puck appeared to go in off his skate.

However, the goal stood, which had both teams tied at 1-1 going into the final period.

Dirk broke the deadlock four minutes in on a screened shot, and Bozon notched some insurance, walking through a crowd to sneak a backhander into the net.

While Skapski got a workout in the crease, Ty Edmonds made 29 saves on the other end of the rink for the Cougars.

Kootenay was denied on all three powerplay opportunities, while shutting out Prince George in two of their chances with the man-advantage.

The Ice did it without the help of captain Sam Reinhart, who has already taken off to Etobicoke for the upcoming Team Canada selection camp. Ice head coach Ryan McGill will leave on Wednesday to join up with Brent Sutter and Benoit Groulx as part of the national squad’s coaching staff.