Raiders centre Sean Montgomery tries to split Kootenay Ice defenceman Mario Grman and centre Reed Morison Friday night at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert.

Raiders centre Sean Montgomery tries to split Kootenay Ice defenceman Mario Grman and centre Reed Morison Friday night at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert.

Undermanned Kootenay Ice drop road outings

Prince Albert Raiders cruise & Saskatoon Blades cut as Kootenay Ice limp back to Cranbrook following four-game road trip

Winless in 11 games, the Kootenay Ice limped back to Cranbrook in the early hours of Sunday morning after dropping the final two contests on a four-game road trip.

A 7-1 defeat at the hands of the Prince Albert Raiders was logged Friday night, before a 4-1 loss to the Saskatoon Blades was entered into the books Saturday.

Despite the outcomes, the first fact to jump to the forefront is a long list of walking wounded, including defenceman Troy Murray, forwards Roman Dymacek, Austin Wellsby, Austin Gray, Matt Alfaro and Dylan Stewart (plus the long-departed Jaedon Descheneau).

Even with the additions of affiliates Reed Morison and Eli Lieffers, Kootenay Ice head coach Luke Pierce was still only operating with 10 forwards at his disposal, eight of which were regulars.

Not exactly an ideal recipe for success for any coach in the Western Hockey League.

“Overall, with all the circumstance of seventh game in 11 days and missing the guys we’re missing, back-to-back nights and all that stuff, I was pretty proud of the effort our guys had [Saturday],” Pierce said Sunday afternoon following a long bus ride back to Cranbrook.

“Everyone talks about not wanting to make excuses, but I don’t think it’s an excuse when it’s reality. It’s the truth. It’s pretty difficult in any league, let alone in this league, to play with essentially eight forwards.

“You can see we can’t find that extra little gear in the third [period]… There’s no question, it’s extremely difficult, but I thought our guys battled pretty hard.”

Friday night, the Ice had jump early and it paid off as Tanner Lishchynsky opened the scoring with his sixth goal of the campaign, driving the net hard to beat Raiders goaltender Rylan Parenteau.

After that, it was all down hill for the visitors.

Only 15 seconds after the Ice captain gave his club the lead, Parker Kelly knotted the game 1-1 and shortly thereafter Luke Coleman provided Prince Albert with the advantage, sending a power-play goal past Wyatt Hoflin.

Down 2-1 after 20 minutes, the visiting Ice were very much still in the game until Jordan Tkatch broke the back of an emotionally fragile group early in the second period.

For the second time in two weeks, the Ice — in particular, Hoflin — fell victim to unfortunate puck luck.

Raiders forward Jordan Tkatch sent a long dump-in attempt off the glass and into Kootenay territory. As usual, the active Hoflin vacated his crease to make a play on the puck as he does successfully night in and night out. But the frozen rubber ricocheted off a stanchion and straight into an empty Kootenay net. All Hoflin could do was watch helplessly from below the goal line.

On the team’s last road trip, Swift Current Broncos affiliate Dom Schmiemann scored on an identical play as the Ice fell 4-2 in Swift Current Feb. 20.

“I thought we were playing hard and dictating the pace of play. I think their third goal was really the one that broke our backs,” Pierce said of Tkatch’s flukey marker. “For the second time a couple weeks it’s a dump in that hits a stanchion and Wyatt’s out to play the puck like he normally would be. It goes right into the empty net.

“It just really deflated our group. We’ve talked about that, being young, we’ve got to be a lot stronger mentally. We just didn’t recover from that.”

The wheels fell off the wagon from there as Simon Stransky extended the lead to 4-1 before Tkatch collected two more to complete the hat trick. Reid Gardiner rounded out the scoring with his 38th of the campaign and the Raiders led 7-1 after 40 minutes of play.

Parenteau made 29 saves for the win, while Hoflin was pulled after allowing seven goals on 28 shots. Declan Hobbs came in to mop up and turned aside all nine pucks sent his way.

Saturday in Saskatoon, the battle-worn Ice fought hard, but ultimately fell short once again.

Zak Zborosky scored a second-period shorthanded marker to boost his club while Hobbs, a Saskatoon native, turned in a stellar 33-save performance on home ice.

“He competed and he was prepared to play,” Pierce said of Hobbs. “We talked about his preparation on the trip. We weren’t happy with the start of his game in Medicine Hat [a 3-0 loss March 1].

“We talked about the need for him to take every start that he gets extremely seriously and be better prepared to play and he was. That’s real encouraging for us as a staff to know that the potential is there with him.

“He was clean. He made the first stop all the time. All three of their goals — excluding the empty-netter, which is irrelevant — are in and around the blue paint, which we have to do a better job of [collapsing around and battling for] as a team. They’re certainly no fault of his.”

Logan Christensen and Ryan Graham, twice, responded for the Blades, while Connor Gay sealed the outcome with an empty-net tally late in the regulation.

Brock Hamm blocked 25 pucks to backstop the Blades to victory.

The condensed schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Kootenay Ice (10-50-6-0) as the Central Division-leading Lethbridge Hurricanes (43-21-1-1) visit Cranbrook on 2-for-1 Tuesday at Western Financial Place.


Friday, March 4

Kootenay Ice 1 at Prince Albert Raiders 7

First Period1. KTN – T. Lishchynsky, (6) (unassisted), 15:432. PAR – P. Kelly, (7) (K. Olynek, L. Bensmiller), 15:583. PAR – L. Coleman, (11) (B. Guhle, V. Budik), 17:20 (PP)

Second Period4. PAR – J. Tkatch, (21) (R. Gardiner, L. Morrison), 4:395. PAR – S. Stransky, (17) (J. Lees, V. Budik), 11:326. PAR – J. Tkatch, (22) (J. Lees, S. Stransky), 15:207. PAR – J. Tkatch, (23) (R. Gardiner, S. Stransky), 18:568. PAR – R. Gardiner, (38) (J. Tkatch), 19:01

Third Period – No scoring

Shots 1 2 3 TKootenay Ice 10 13 7 30Prince Albert Raiders 11 17 9 37

Goaltenders Saves Mins SV%KTN – Wyatt Hoflin (L) 21/28 39:01 0.750- Declan Hobbs 9/9 20:59 1.000PAR – Rylan Parenteau 29/30 60:00 0.967

Power playsKootenay Ice 0/2 (00.0%)Prince Albert Raiders 1/3 (33.3%)

Three Stars1) C Jordan Tkatch, Prince Albert Raiders (3G, 1A, plus-5);2) D Vojtech Budik, Prince Albert Raiders (2A, plus-3);3) LW Simon Stransky, Prince Albert Raiders (1G, 2A)

Attendance: 2,609 (Art Hauser Centre)

Saturday, March 5

Kootenay Ice 1 at Saskatoon Blades 4

First Period1. SAS – L. Christensen, (4) (W. Sloboshan, M. McCarty), 13:072. SAS – R. Graham, (20) (C. Waltz, C. Hebig), 17:06

Second Period2. KTN – Z. Zborosky, (27) (J. Wenzel), 9:07 (SH)

Third Period3. SAS – R. Graham, (21) (B. Shmyr, N. Reid), 10:424. SAS – C. Gay, (23) (W. Sloboshan, C. Hebig), 19:49 (EN)

Shots 1 2 3 TKootenay Ice 9 9 8 26Saskatoon Blades 13 8 16 37

Goaltenders Saves Mins SV%KTN – Declan Hobbs 33/36 58:56 0.917SAS – Brock Hamm 25/26 60:00 0.962

Power playsKootenay Ice 0/2 (00.0%)Saskatoon Blades 0/3 (00.0%)

Three Stars1) LW Ryan Graham, Saskatoon Blades (2G, plus-2);2) G Brock Hamm, Saskatoon Blades (25 saves);3) G Declan Hobbs, Kootenay Ice (33 saves)

Attendance: 4,554 (SaskTel Centre)

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

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

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

Most Read