The day was Dec. 13, 2013. It was the Kootenay Ice annual A&W Teddy Bear Toss and the Red Deer Rebels rolled into town and spoiled the party with a 4-0 victory.
With a little bit of experience under his belt, Jaedon Descheneau ensured the 2014 A&W Teddy Bear Toss went down with much greater fanfare Friday night at Western Financial Place, as the Ice defeated the Spokane Chiefs 2-1.
“It was actually very similar, it was kind of a miscue in the neutral zone by the other team and it ended up two-on-one with Luke [Philp],” Descheneau said, recounting the stark similarity between Friday’s teddy bear toss goal and the teddy-bear tally he registered Dec. 7, 2012, against the Prince Albert Raiders. “He passed it over to me and I was able to score [in 2012]. Then tonight, same thing — breakdown in the neutral zone, we go in two-on-one again. I gave it to him and he gave it back and we scored.
“It’s pretty cool it was with the same guy and pretty much the same way we scored.”
Descheneau’s tic-tac tally came 41 seconds into the Friday festivities, putting away any concern of being shutout on the special night for the second consecutive year.
The 19-year-old St. Louis Blues prospect has been on fire for the Kootenay Ice in recent weeks. Prior to Friday’s puck drop, Descheneau was named the Kootenay Ice Player of the Month in addition to being tabbed as the team’s hardest-working forward for November.
The accolades were well deserved as the Edmonton native rattled off eight goals and 12 assists through 12 games, helping push the Ice to a WHL-best record of 10-2-0-0 in November.
The teddy tally extended Descheneau’s point streak to 11 games and from November into December, giving him eight goals and 10 assists on his 11-game run.
Descheneau’s streak wasn’t the only one to push on Friday night.
Sam Reinhart registered the power-play game-winner, ensuring the Kootenay captain retained the WHL’s longest active point streak, extending his mark to 12 games (7-17-24).
With a helping hand on Descheneau’s opening goal and another assist on Reinhart’s, Philp quietly extended his point streak to six games (2-8-10).
Despite the festive holiday celebrations that come with the annual teddy-bear affair, the decision was very much up for grabs into the third period.
After Descheneau opened the scoring 41 seconds in, the two teams went back-and-forth without finding twine again until Chiefs captain Jason Fram blasted a power-play point shot past a screened Wyatt Hoflin to knot things 1-1 with 49 seconds remaining in the second period.
Reinhart’s power-play marker regained the lead for the hosts 5:39 into the final period.
Hoflin and Chiefs counterpart Garret Hughson both turned in outstanding performances.
Kootenay’s 19-year-old puck-stopper turned aside 31 shots, while Hughson made 19 saves — a handful being of the spectacular variety.
The Ice (14-15-0-0) and Chiefs (14-10-3-0) will do it all over Saturday night in Spokane.
After Saturday’s rematch, the Ice continue down the highway to take on the Tri-City Americans (15-12-0-0) Sunday evening.
“It’s going to be a big two games, a big test,” Descheneau said. “We’re still trying to get back into the playoff picture. We’ve been playing well but we still have a lot of improvements to make. Tonight, we weren’t at our best, but we weren’t bad…Especially when we’re on the road, we have to play a lot harder.”
Notes: Kootenay Ice D Dylan Overdyk (indefinite) missed his sixth consecutive game since suffering a concussion Nov. 21 against Lethbridge…Ice F River Beattie was the lone healthy scratch…Ice D Tyler King was named hardest-working defenceman for the month of November prior to puck drop…Ice forwards Levi Cable and Tim Bozon also registered assists Friday night…Chiefs forwards Jackson Playfair and Kailer Yamamoto earned helpers on Fram’s second-period goal…The Ice went 1-for-3 on the man advantage, while the Chiefs were 1-for-4…The announced attendance at Western Financial Place was 2,287 Friday night…