For the second time in a week, the Kootenay Ice play three games in three nights, including a home-and-home battle with the Spokane Chiefs.
“You try to narrow your focus knowing you’re playing six periods against an opponent,” said Kootenay Ice head coach Ryan McGill Thursday afternoon. “You try to challenge yourself and your group to understand the intensity level is going to be up. It’s a great rivalry.
“You try to get your players to understand, playing the game inside the game might have an advantage for you. That’s just doing all the little things and maybe getting inside the head of your opponent.”
The Chiefs will visit Western Financial Place Friday night at 7 p.m., before returning home to welcome the Ice to Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena Saturday.
Spokane holds the slightest edge in the five-game season series, having claimed a 4-3 victory Oct. 25 at home, while falling to the Ice in overtime Oct. 3 in Cranbrook.
The last time the two teams met at Western Financial Place, it was Jaedon Descheneau blowing the roof off the rink, scoring with three seconds to play in overtime to give the Ice its first win of the 2014-15 campaign.
Ice captain Sam Reinhart will look to extend his 11-game point streak, which is the longest active streak in the WHL heading into Friday’s contest. The 19-year-old Buffalo Sabres prospect has yet to be held off the scoresheet since his return from the NHL, tallying six goals and 23 points.
“It’s always an opportunity, when you’re playing out-of-conference teams, to get back in the swing of things,” Reinhart said Thursday. “If we focus on our own game plan and focus on the things that have given us success the last little while, I think we’ll be fine.”
Reinhart isn’t familiar with the 2014-15 edition of the Spokane Chiefs, having returned to the Ice Nov. 7 against the Edmonton Oil Kings. In the two contests against Spokane without the North Vancouver native in the lineup, the Ice were outshot by a combined margin of 82-56.
“We focus on work ethic, compete and stuff like that,” said Ice defenceman Rinat Valiev. “We have to shoot more from everywhere.”
Friday night represents A&W Teddy Bear Toss Night. Fans in attendance are encouraged to bring new and unused toques, mittens and teddy bears to throw onto the ice after Kootenay scores its first goal.
Notes: Kootenay Ice prospect D Griffin Mendel has been named to Team B.C.’s entry for the 2015 Canada Winter Games. Mendel was a first-round selection of the Ice at the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft…D Dylan Overdyk (indefinitely) will be unavailable this weekend. The rookie has missed five games since suffering a concussion Nov. 21…F Tim Bozon recorded his 250th WHL point Nov. 30 against Everett…F Luke Philp registered his 150th WHL point Nov. 29 in Seattle…The Ice finished November with a 10-2-0-0 mark…