Kootenay Ice forward Levi Cable wasn’t about to let his team fall to the Red Deer Rebels in regulation Friday night. With massive Central Division points on the line, the native of Hudson Bay, Sask., delivered his 27th goal of the season late in the third period to force overtime and help his team scrape a point out of a stingy Rebels squad.
“The single point is huge, especially since we’re chasing these guys and we’re trying to get away from Edmonton below us,” Cable said Friday night. “Every point matters. Wish we could have got that extra point in the end there, but it was nice to even get that one point.”
Despite Cable’s efforts, the Ice fell 2-1 in the shootout after Riley Sheen slid the skills competition winner underneath a sprawled Wyatt Hoflin.
Prior to that, with less than five minutes remaining in regulation, the 5-foot-11 Cable blazed into Rebels territory before captain Sam Reinhart found him with a great feed in a prime location.
“We just got an odd-man rush going the other way and Sam fed me behind the guys,” Cable said. “I was all alone there and had quite a bit of time to shoot. I just went glove side.”
Cable’s recounting of the goal makes it sound so humble and matter-of-fact, but the fact of the matter was the WHL over-ager unleashed a screamer of a wrist shot that ricocheted off the back bar behind Rebels goaltender Rylan Toth and straight out, bringing 2,200 fans at Western Financial Place to their feet.
As was to be expected, Friday’s affair was of the tight-checking variety with scoring chances coming at a premium.
Through 40 minutes of play, Rebels forward Brooks Maxwell was the only goal-scorer to find the promised land, putting a rebound goal past Hoflin 4:20 into the first period.
By the end of the night, the Ice had outshot the Rebels 31-22, including a 17-8 margin in the first period.
“In the first period we were getting shots to the net and getting bodies to the net, getting those rebounds,” Cable said. “We went away from that a little bit in the second.
“We’ve just got to keep going and bring that first period over.”
Consistency has been a hot topic of conversation surrounding the 2014-15 edition of the Kootenay Ice. Upon returning from a four-game eastern road swing, head coach Ryan McGill reiterated the desire to see more consistency from his group through the final eight games of the season.
“We’ve just got to keep our minds focused,” Cable said of the search for consistency. “We can’t get off track of our game plan. We’ve got to keep playing our game plan all throughout the game. If we keep doing that consistently, that’s how we’ll get wins.”
For Red Deer, Toth turned aside 30 shots, as well as two of three in the shootout to backstop his team to victory Friday night.
At the other end, Hoflin was good on 21 of 22 shots, before surrendering two goals on two attempts in the shootout.
Hoflin turned in a stellar weekend, doing all he could for his team.
Following Friday’s shootout loss, the native of Sherwood Park, Alta., knocked away 31 of 32 shots as the Ice fell to the Tigers 1-0 in Medicine Hat Saturday night.
Tigers forward Cole Sanford scored the lone tally of the game 3:36 into the first period and goaltender Marek Langhamer took care of the rest, stopping all 16 shots sent his way.
The shutout was the second of the season for Langhamer, who claimed his 26th victory of the campaign.
With the weekend rounding out as it did, the Ice sit 10 points behind the Rebels for third place while the Tigers pulled into a tie with the Calgary Hitmen for top seed in the WHL’s Central Division.
In the Eastern Conference wild-card race, the Ice (70 points) hold a one-point edge with one game in hand on the Edmonton Oil Kings for the top wild-card seed. The Moose Jaw Warriors remain six points back of the Oil Kings.
Next up, the Ice host the Lethbridge Hurricanes Tuesday night at Western Financial Place.
Notes: The Kootenay Ice went without D Bryan Allbee, D Dylan Overdyk, F Austin Wellsby and D Tanner Faith (shoulder, three to five months) both nights… Friday night, F Tim Bozon played his 100th game as a member of the Kootenay Ice, while D Rinat Valiev played the 100th game of his WHL career… Ice D Lenny Hackman played the 200th game of his WHL career Saturday…
Video highlights: Red Deer Rebels 2 at Kootenay Ice 1 (SO) (March 6):