The Kootenay ICE wrapped up three games in three days, and couldn’t pull out a win.
Dropping their first game on Jan. 4 in Medicine Hat, the ICE lost 5-3 to the Tigers.
Forward Connor McLennon was back in the lineup against the Tigers after being out for six weeks with an injury.
“Obviously Connor for us has to be skating, he has to be making some plays. He’s a playmaker. He missed six weeks, so maybe he needs a couple of games to get more comfortable,” said head coach James Patrick.
Back at Western Financial Place, the ICE took on the Spokane Chiefs on Jan. 5.
The Chiefs were able to take advantage of four-on-four play and score two goals to get the early lead and set the tone.
Not being able to keep up with the high-powered offence of the Chiefs, the ICE went down 8-4. With Ty Smith, 2018 National Hockey League first-round draft pick, leading the way for the Chiefs with four assists.
“It was a tough game for us. I think the bounces definitely didn’t go our way, but that’s all you can do. You can take what you learn from it and go into the next game coming even harder,” said forward Peyton Krebs post-game.
Less than 24 hours later on Jan. 6, the Vancouver Giants were in town and shutout the ICE 6-0 to close out the weekend.
“As the game went on their speed and their tenacious will to win battles was evident. I thought it was a good lesson for our young players,” Patrick said post-game.
Giants defenceman and Cranbrook native Bowen Byram played in his first Western Hockey League game at Western Financial Place.
Byram finished the night with an assist and a plus/minus rating of two.
The ICE had a couple of new players in their lineup this weekend, including defenceman Marco Creta making his debut with the ICE on the weekend after being acquired from the Regina Pats.
“It’s really good coming in. The coaches are super great and the guys are super nice and very welcoming. My billet family is very nice, so it’s a pretty easy changeover,” he said.
Creta said he hopes to bring his ability to play in all different situations to the team.
“I can help out offensively and move the puck up the ice, and defend when I need to,” he said.
The ICE are sitting sixth in the central division with an 8-27-6-1 record with 23 points. The Swift Current Broncos are the only team below with an 8-28-2-1 record for 19 points but have three games in hand.
The team will be on the road for most of January and are not going to play their next home game until Jan. 26 against the Prince Albert Raiders.
“We gave them 19 goals in three games, we don’t have a chance to win [then]. You can be loose defensively, breakdowns or you need a save at a key time, all three of those things needs to be better for us to have a chance to win on the road,” said Patrick.
Next game for the ICE will be in Lethbridge against the Hurricanes on Jan. 9.