Ice struggle in Saskatchewan

Kootenay beats top-ranked team again, but is defeated by two other opponents during prairie road trip.

Inconsistency struck again over the weekend, as the Ice earned a win against a top-ranked team, yet fell to two others during their road trip throughout Saskatchewan.

Repeating their performance from a week ago, the Ice defeated the Raiders 5-4 in a shootout in Prince Albert on Friday night, but lost two consecutive games to the Saskatoon Blades and the Swift Current Broncos afterwards.

A surge of third-period goals lifted the Blades 5-2 over the Ice, while Adam Lowry posted a hat trick to lead the Broncos to a 4-0 win on Sunday.

Kootenay will complete it’s road trip on Tuesday by facing the Rebels in Red Deer for their last game before the Christmas break.

The Ice occupy last place in the Eastern Conference standings, seven points shy of their closest opponents in the Regina Pats.

Yet despite their ranking, they knocked off the Raiders for the second time in a week after mounting a third period comeback to force overtime and a shootout.

Levi Cable was the hero for Kootenay, scoring in the sixth round to lift the team to the win, while goaltender Mackenzie Skapski stopped all Prince Albert shooters.

It was a goalfest in the first period, as Luke Philp and Jaedon Descheneau took an early two-goal lead for the Ice, however, the Raiders responded with three unanswered markers by the end of the period.

The Raiders added to the lead in the second period, but Philp responded for Kootenay to keep it a one-goal game.

Reinhart found the equalizer in the final frame to tie up the game and send it into an extra frame.

Skapski made 35 saves, including six in the shootout, while his opponent, Luke Siemens, stopped 27 shots.

Kootenay followed up the win with a 5-2 loss in Saskatoon the following night, as the Blades broke the game open with three third-period goals to clinch the victory.

The two teams traded goals in the first period; Darren Dietz opened it up for Saskatoon, while Philp responded for the Ice.

However, the Blades ended the period with the lead when Matej Stransky scored a minute after Philp drew things even.

After a scoreless second period, Stransky scored again in the third period, but Zach McPhee kept the Ice within a goal.

However, a pair of power play goals from Matthew Pufahl and Nathan Burns was enough to put the Blades ahead for the win.

Skapski was busy in net with 36 saves, while Alex Moodie, who is looking after things while starter Andrey Makarov is off to play for the Russians in the World Junior Championship, stopped 25 pucks.

The Ice rolled into Swift Current on Sunday for their third game in three nights, but Broncos captain Adam Lowry stole the show with a hat trick and Landon Bow made 20 saves to earn his first career WHL shutout.

The two teams held each other scoreless in the opening period, but Graham Black put Swift Current on the board a minute into the middle frame, jamming away at a puck in Skapski’s pads till it went in.

Lowry added to the lead 10 minutes later, and notched a pair of goals in the third period to complete his hat trick.

The Rebels will be another tough test, as the club has climbed up to fourth place and has gone on a tear since general manager Brent Sutter fired his head coach and took over the bench.

The Ice will return from the Christmas break on Dec. 28 to face the Spokane Chiefs at Western Financial Place.