Cool reception awaits Ice in the prairies

Kootenay off to Saskatchewan and Alberta for second major road trip of the season.

CHRISTMAS SPIRIT: Kootenay Ice players Austin Vetterl and Erik Benoit man a kettle outside Save-On Foods as part of the Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign on Wednesday.

The road beckons and the Kootenay Ice have headed off to Saskatchewan for their second major road trip of the season.

With four games in five nights, it’ll be a tough test for a club that struggling to find consistency in it’s game.

The Christmas break is also fast approaching, and while the players may be anticipating seeing family and friends back in their hometowns, there is still a job to be done, said Kootenay Ice head coach Ryan McGill.

“We’ll have a real good idea on this road trip as to where their heads are at,” McGill said. “It’ll be a real test for their maturity level.”

Forward Jordyn Boyd agreed, noting that the team can’t get distracted by thoughts of tinsel and presents under the tree.

“We still have a couple games left so we just got to keep our heads in it, because these next games are pretty crucial and points that we need to have,” Boyd said. “A lot of teams could be unfocused and have their heads in Christmas, but we just got to stay focused the whole time and come out and play hard every game.”

Blue liners Tanner Muth and Joey Leach are still injured, as is overage forward Brock Montgomery, who is absent in the forward corps.

Those holes in the lineup are being felt inside the dressing room, according to McGill.

“Obviously, we struggle with leadership with them not being in the room, because of the age group with what we have,” said McGill.  “But this is also a time for some of those guys to step up and try to provide some of that by the way they play and the way they get prepared.”

Kootenay has a triple header this weekend against the Prince Albert Raiders, Saskatoon Blades and the Swift Current Broncos. The team wraps up the trip with it’s fourth game in five nights in Red Deer next Tuesday.

Everyone piled on the bus Wednesday night to drive through the darkness, which will put them in Prince Albert on Thursday afternoon and allow them some time to rest up before hitting the ice on Friday evening.

It’s the second major road trip for the team this year, which got swept in  three games during a swing through the U.S. Division at the end of November.

“We’re bonding and that helps when you’re on the ice,” said Boyd. “You’re just more comfortable with each other, having  a little bit more fun with each other, so it just pays off.”

Following Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Kelowna Rockets—a game that slipped out of Kootenay’s fingers in the final 10 minutes—McGill has a very simple message for his players on the trip.

“We need to play for 60 minutes. It’s a very, very difficult league to play in and you have to play for 60 minutes,” McGill said. “Especially on the road, you have to manage the puck properly, you have to make sure you don’t put yourselves in bad situations by turning the puck over in bad areas and we got to make sure we’re disciplined and stay out of the penalty box.”

ICE NOTES: The WHL suspended Evan Morden of the Prince Albert Raiders for four games following a check to the head against Brock Montgomery when the two teams met last Friday. Montgomery sustained an upper body injury on the play, but will join the team on the road trip through Saskatchewan.

Just Posted

Dryer incident at Teck Elkview Operations

Locals report hearing loud bang

An interview with a magician

2018 Magic Variety Show hits Key City Theatre

Mountain City Travel wins award

The Kootenay region can be proud to include Mountain City Travel, located… Continue reading

100 new child care spaces, improvements to 41 facilities

Columbia Basin Trust provides over $1 million for 41 projects, two of which are in Kimberley.

SD 6 did change some bus route policy

Meadowbrook parents have been raising concerns about the safety of the bus… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Most Read