It may not have been home ice advantage, but Troy Murray, Tyler King and Zak Zborosky got to head back to their provincial stomping grounds to help the Kootenay Ice to a pair of wins in Saskatchewan this past weekend.
Kootenay skated away to a 6-1 thumping of the Regina Pats on Friday, and earned a 5-2 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current on Saturday night.
It’s only the second time this season the Ice have won three in a row, with a chance to keep the streak going against the Moose Jaw Warriors next Saturday.
Both games featured strong starts as the Ice were able to capitalize on their chances to get some early goals and build from there.
“Last night [Friday vs Regina], we had three breakaways we didn’t score on in the first period, and tonight [Saturday vs Swift Current] we had more chances in the first period,” said Ice head coach Ryan McGill. “I thought our two starts were spectacular and we generated some offence from those starts.”
The Ice coach noted that the team played simple and detailed hockey with a focus on good habits.
“During most games, obviously, there are going to be momentum shifts and we had a few blips this weekend,” said McGill, “but I thought we did a really good job of gaining momentum back by just being simple and playing the way we need to play, so that was a huge sign for us.”
Kootenay rode the confidence of their dominant performance against Regina into Swift Current, taking a 2-0 lead after the first period on goals from Sam Reinhart and Tim Bozon.
The Broncos responded in the middle frame from Nathan Burns and Glenn Gawdin, however, Jaedon Descheneau also netted a goal for the Ice.
Swift Current was still down a goal heading in the final period, and the Ice threw the salt in the wounds on a powerplay goal from Reinhart and a late marker from Luke Philp.
Ice goaltender Mackenzie Skapski made 34 saves while his team peppered 33 shots in the direction of Broncos netminder Landon Bow.
Reinhart’s second goal was the only powerplay goal in five chances with the man-advantage, while Kootenay denied Swift Current on all four chances with the man-advantage.
Earlier in Regina, the game between the Ice and the Pats was broadcast on Sportsnet and Kootenay again built up an early lead on the road to a 6-1 victory.
Zach McPhee score late in the first period, while Philp and Descheneau added goals in the second period.
Eventually, Dylan Hunt managed to get Regina on the board with a powerplay goal just after the halfway point of the frame.
But Kootenay’s offence kept on coming in the final period, with Austin Vetterl and Reinhart posting powerplay goals, while Ryan Chynoweth scored in the final two minutes of the game.
Skapski guarded the crease for the Ice, and had a relatively calm night with 22 saves.
Kootenay connected twice in three powerplay chances, while Hunt’s goal was the only marker in two opportunities with the man-advantage for Regina.
NOTES: The Pats’ roster features Kimberley native Isaac Schacher, who got the chance to face the Ice for the third time in his WHL career. Kootenay’s powerplay is on fire and ranked second in the league at 24.7 per cent. The Eastern Conference is in a logjam right now as the Ice are in seventh place and have a three-point gap to get to fourth place. Descheneau is fourth overall for goal scoring in the WHL, with 30 so far, however, Mitch Holmberg has a good grip on first overall with 42.