The Saskatoon Blades had no answer for the top line of the Kootenay Ice on Tuesday night.
Sam Reinhart, Jaedon Descheneau and Zach Franko put their stamp on the scoresheet, sharing 16 points between themselves in a 6-3 win over their struggling opponents out of the East Division.
Descheneau led the way with his third career hat trick and three assists, while Franko scored a pair of goals and tallied three assists. The Kootenay Ice captain opened the scoring with his lone goal, but picked up four apples over the course of the game.
Despite the numbers and the end result, Descheneau said the team needs to be better.
“Today, I found that we actually didn’t play a very good game,” he said. “Luckily, for our line, things were going in and that doesn’t happen every night, but it happened tonight and it was good for us.”
Ice goaltender Mackenzie Skapski made 28 saves to pick up his 18th win of the season, while Troy Trombley was hung out to dry by Saskatoon, making 33 stops in defeat.
Before the first 10 minutes were up, the Ice had a 3-0 lead.
Reinhart tallied first, putting a shot on net that beat Trombley, and Descheneau doubled the lead just over two minutes later, finishing on a tic-tac-toe passing play between Reinhart and Franko.
However, some defensive zone breakdowns led to a pair of quick goals from Cory Millette and Mitch Lipon to put the Blades within a goal by the end of the frame.
“It’s huge, not just tonight, but any night, to get a lead and push from there,” said Descheneau. “I found we got the lead and let off a bit and we have to eliminate those lapses from our game and we should be fine.”
The top line produced another slick passing play early in the second period, with Franko being on the receiving end to pick up his 16th goal of the season.
Descheneau completed his hat trick a few minutes later, tapping in a pass from Reinhart after the Ice captain drew Trombley out of position at the side of the net.
Cameron Hebig attempted to spark a comeback for Saskatoon in the final frame with an early powerplay goal, but Kootenay was able to hold the Blades at bay, with Franko adding an empty net marker for good measure in the final minute.
“It was a pretty good night for us three,” said Franko. “Anytime we can contribute like that, it’s pretty special and we’re just helping the team win any way we can.”
Kootenay will get back at it on the weekend with a home-and-home series with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
NOTES: Ryan Chynoweth (upper body) and Kyle O’Connor (lower body) were scratched. Saskatoon was missing the services of Nikita Scherbak (upper body), who has attracted a lot of attention from NHL scouts this year.