The Kootenay Ice were not very welcome company in Saskatchewan this week and the Swift Current Broncos showed the visitors the door with a 5-0 shutout loss Friday night.
“We’re not competitive enough in every area of the game,” said Kootenay Ice head coach Ryan McGill over the phone following Friday’s loss. “Basically, that’s the bottom line right now. We’re not competitive enough in every area of the game.”
The defeat was the third in as many nights for the Ice, who also dropped contests in Regina (5-4, Wednesday) and Moose Jaw (3-1, Thursday). The loss pushes Kootenay’s winless skid to four games, which began Oct. 4 when the Hitmen victimized the Ice 6-4 in Calgary.
Rookie Keelan Williams earned his second straight start between the pipes for the Ice and was chased from the crease after allowing five goals on 27 shots through 40 minutes of play. Wyatt Hoflin held down the blue paint in the third period, turning aside the five shots he faced.
“[Keelan] played fine tonight,” McGill said. “The goals against were all breakdowns by the five guys on the ice, not our goaltender. Our goaltending has been fine. It’s the other 18 skaters on the ice that need to help out in every situation.”
After putting up four goals against the Regina Pats Wednesday, the offense ran dry for the Ice as they closed out their three-game road trip with only one goal in the final two games.
“It hurts to score, it hurts to win,” McGill said. “We don’t want to get hurt to do any of that right now. We’re not committed to getting inside the dots going to the net. That’s the bottom line.”
Broncos forward Jake DeBrusk led the hosts Friday night with two goals, including the game-winning marker 7:38 into the first period of play. The 17-year-old left-winger also added an assist as he was awarded the second star on the evening.
Former Kootenay Ice bantam draft pick Colby Cave, captain of the Broncos, burned his old club by factoring into both of DeBrusk’s first-period tallies before dishing to Jay Merkley and helping put the home squad ahead 3-0 through 20 minutes of play.
The Ice drafted Cave with the 13th-overall selection in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft before trading him to the Broncos Jan. 9, 2011 in a multiple-asset transaction that saw Cody Eakin come to Cranbrook.
Broncos goaltender Landon Bow pitched the shutout, making 26 saves for his fifth victory of the season. The shutout marked Bow’s second goose-egg of the 2014-15 campaign, setting a new career high for the 19-year-old puck-stopper. Bow recorded one shutout during the 2012-13 season with the Broncos.
The Ice return home where they will be joined by forward Tim Bozon, who was assigned to the club by the Montreal Canadiens after spending time with both the Habs and their AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs.
“He’ll certainly inject a lot of offense into a team that needs it badly,” McGill said of Bozon. “We’re very excited to have him back. He’s a big part of our family.”
It is expected that Bozon will suit up next Friday when the Ice host the Regina Pats at Western Financial Place.
Notes: D Rinat Valiev missed his eighth game with a lower-body injury…F Jon Martin missed his third game with an upper-body injury. Following Thursday’s loss in Moose Jaw, McGill said Martin is progressing well and the hope is he will be ready for Friday’s game with the Pats…F Vince Loschiavo missed his second consecutive game after sustaining an upper-body injury in Regina Wednesday night…