The Kootenay ICE put their best foot forward, but the Lethbridge Hurricanes could not be tamed Wednesday night.
The ICE, despite a valiant effort, suffered their tenth straight loss in a 3-2 overtime setback to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes came into the contest with extra fire-power after last week’s trade with Regina brought forwards Jake Leschyshyn and Nick Henry into the fold, but it would be a Lethbridge defender who would open the scoring.
At 8:42 of the first period Alex Cotton had a loose puck slide toward the left side of the slot where he was able to lay into a heavy slap shot which beat ICE goaltender Jesse Makaj to make the score 1-0 for Lethbridge.
It would remain that way until the second period.
Cole Muir put Kootenay on the board after a solo effort to get the puck deep into Hurricanes territory.
Muir lost the puck behind the Lethbridge net and engaged in a battle with defender Danila Palivko, which Muir won.
He was able to scoop the puck and fool Lethbridge goalie Reece Klassen to tie the game 1-1 at the 1:17 mark of the second frame.
The same line would tally again shortly thereafter when Jaiken Smallwood batted home a rebound off a Martin Bodak point blast.
Smallwood’s second goal of the season made the score 2-1 ICE.
Lethbridge managed to even the score before the end of the period after a lucky bounce off the glass landed right on the stick of forward Jake Leschyshyn to tie the game 2-2.
The third period produced no scoring, forcing overtime.
Lethbridge was able to eek out the victory after establishing sustained pressure in the Kootenay zone.
The ICE couldn’t clear the puck from their zone and Lethbridge began to control the play.
A series of passes ended with a blast from the right circle from Dylan Cozen.
His 15th goal of the year gave Lethbridge their fourth straight victory and sealed the game at 3-2 Lethbridge.
ICE head coach James Patrick says he was happy with the way his team played and felt they deserved a better fate.
“I thought we gave all we had, there’s too many players to mention who played well,” said Patrick. “It is heartbreaking because we haven’t won in ten [games] now, and we want to win really bad.”
Patrick praised the play of forward Peyton Krebs who appeared to have the puck attached to his stick by string at some points of the game.
“He had partial breakaways, he set up guys, he set up Brad [Ginnell] a few times.”
ICE forward Cole Muir was named the game’s first star.
He says they did a lot of things well against a strong Lethbridge team.
“Compared to our last couple games there’s a lot of positives to take away from this,” Muir said. “They’re a good team and it’s good to come that close to winning.”
Muir’s linemate Jaiken Smallwood is also taking the positives out of Wednesday’s loss.
“It could have been a win for us, and obviously that’s a good team on the other side and we played a hell of a game,” said Smallwood. “We can’t get too down, we’ve got to stay up.”
The ICE were outshot 39-30 and went 2/2 on the penalty kill versus the WHL’s top-ranked power play unit, the ICE were 0/2 on with the man-advantage.
Kootenay will try to shake their ten-game losing streak Saturday when they visit the Spokane Chiefs.
– James Patrick – Head Coach, Kootenay ICE
– Cole Muir – Forward, Kootenay ICE
– Jaiken Smallwood – Forward, Kootenay ICE