After a night that began with smoke and fancy introductions, Kootenay Ice forward Jaedon Descheneau set off the fireworks, putting the finishing touches on an electrifying evening as the Kootenay Ice edged the Spokane Chiefs 2-1 in overtime Friday night.
“The biggest thing is we got the two points,” said Kootenay Ice assistant coach Jay Henderson. “It wasn’t the perfect game by any means, but I thought the guys competed for the most part. The execution wasn’t where it needed to be for the full 60 minutes. At times it was okay, but overall, the guys found a way to win and that’s what we’re here for.”
Descheneau picked up a loose puck along the half-wall in the offensive zone before circling towards the slot and wiring a wrist shot low glove side past Chiefs goaltender Garret Hughson. With 2.9 seconds remaining in the extra period, 2,559 fans at Western Financial Place erupted as the Ice claimed two points in the team’s first home game of the 2014-15 WHL regular season.
The win evens Kootenay’s record to 2-2-0-0 after four games, while the Chiefs fell to 2-1-0-0.
Descheneau led the team with a goal and assist on the evening.
“You always want to leave a mark in the league as [being] a good team at home and [make it] hard for other teams to come here and play” Descheneau said following the victory. “We battled today. We have a lot of improvement to make, obviously, but we never quit and we scored when we needed.”
After 40 minutes of scoreless hockey, Chiefs forward Keanu Yamamoto broke things open 4:15 into the third period, snapping a wrist shot high over the blocker of Ice netminder Wyatt Hoflin, giving Spokane a 1-0 advantage.
After the Ice failed to convert on a power-play opportunity midway through the final period, with time winding down, it seemed as though the Chiefs were going to head back to Spokane with their third consecutive victory to start the regular season.
With less than two minutes remaining in regulation, forward Luke Philp lugged the puck the length of the ice before breaking towards the Spokane net. As the 18-year-old veteran was knocked off the puck, forward Zak Zborosky followed up on the play and without hesitation, snapped a quick shot over the blocker of a bewildered Hughson to tie the game with 1:44 remaining.
“I just saw the loose puck and I went [to it],” Zborosky said after the game.
“There’s still a lot of areas we can improve on in our competitiveness. We definitely can’t be satisfied. We’ve got to keep getting better each day, but all in all today, we did pretty good.”
Hoflin was steady between the pipes, making a number of critical saves throughout the evening, including an absolute show-stopper on Chiefs forward Liam Stewart earlier in the first period. Holfin made 36 saves to grab his second win of the season.
At the other end of the rink, Hughson faced 32 shots, turning aside 30 as the Ice handed him his first loss of the season.
Ice forwards Philp and over-ager Austin Vetterl grabbed one helper apiece in the win. Fram and RW Riley Whittingham took home the two assists on the Chiefs’ only goal by Keanu Yamamoto.
The Ice went 0-for-3 on the man advantage, while the Chiefs were 0-for-1 on the power play Friday.
Both the Ice and Chiefs are back in action tomorrow night. The Ice travel to Calgary where they face the Hitmen (2-2-0-1) at 7 p.m., while the Chiefs return home to play host to the Prince George Cougars (2-3-0-0).
Notes: Ice D Rinat Valiev missed his fourth game with a lower-body injury. The import defenceman is expected to miss two to four more weeks…In addition to Valiev, the Ice scratched D Bryan Allbee and F Vince Loschiavo…Spokane D Tamas Laday missed Friday’s contest as he served a one-game suspension for a charging major handed down Sept. 27 against Tri-City…The Chiefs also had five players miss the game due to injury, including F Blair Oneschuk (lower body, week-to-week), F Adam Helewka (upper body, week-to-week), F Jacob Cardiff (lower body, week-to-week), F Hudson Elynuik (lower body, two to four weeks) and D Colton Bobyk (lower body, two to three weeks).