Skapski wins WHL goaltender of the month for February

Ice stopper earns four shutouts over last month, helping team win nine of eleven games.

Kootenay Ice goaltender Mackenzie Skapski shares a laugh with goalie coach Mike Bergren before a game against the Medicine Hat Tigers last week.

Kootenay Ice goaltender Mackenzie Skapski shares a laugh with goalie coach Mike Bergren before a game against the Medicine Hat Tigers last week.

Kootenay Ice goaltender Mackenzie Skapski has been honoured with the WHL’s goaltender of the month for February, backstopping his team to nine wins and two losses.

Skapski earned four shutouts over the last month—two of which were in back to back games—and had a goals against average of 1.27 and a 0.956 save percentage, which led all WHL goaltenders.

Skapski previously earned CHL goaltender of the week in November, where he helped Kootenay earn three wins and posted another pair of shutouts.

“In my position, it’s a big team game,” said Skapksi. “Our team has evolved, as of late, and I’m getting benefits as well. Yes, I’m playing well, but at the same time, I’m also getting the recognition I’m getting because of my team.”

Skapski has been busy between the pipes this season, suiting up for 59 games. The 18-year-old Abbotsford product is currently ranked 12th overall in the WHL, and has seven shutouts this season, which ties him for the league lead with Andrey Makarov and Mac Carruth.

Skapski began the current season looking to take over starting duties from Nathan Lieuwen, who graduated out of the league at the end of last year.

Justin Cardinal, the goaltending coach with the Ice for the last few years, resigned in September, and Mike Bergren was hired on as the replacement in November.

Bergren has a Kootenay connection, as he’s worked with Ice alumnus Jeff Glass over three off-seasons, and is on staff with World Pro Goaltending, based out of Calgary.

Bergren may be a five-hour drive away, but he’s able to get his hands on game tape when he isn’t able to watch Skapski and Wyatt Hoflin on home ice at Western Financial Place.

“He’s very athletic, very strong and he’s very competitive, which is great for a goaltender,” Bergren said, of working with Skapski. “The thing we wanted to touch on right off the bat was gaining control. He’s a big kid, he can really dominate the crease, if he stays under control.”

Bergren said Skapski was moving too much inside the crease, so he began to work on the young goaltender’s game to change and fine tune some habits and technical skills.

So what changed since the Christmas break?

“His control,” said Bergren. “His butterfly’s tighter, he’s getting his body in better position, and he’s starting to understand that he can let the puck come to him, he doesn’t have to try and fight it off.”

While Skapski’s has improved his technical skills, he’s also gotten stronger mentally as well, Bergren added.

“I think the thing with Mackenzie, just because he’s played so much, is that he’s much more comfortable playing in those one-goal games, and he’s able to really take command on the back end,” Bergren said. “He doesn’t let his emotions come out; he’s a pretty subdued kid, but he competes hard and he’s allowed himself to embrace those situations, and each time he does, he just gets better, and better, and better.”

Skapski himself has noticed the tweaks in his game that have come from working with Bergren.

“[I’m] being more simplistic,” said Skapski. “Simplifying my game is something that’s going to gain speed and time for me, and addressing my athleticism to cover my mistakes.

“…I’m getting used to playing every night and it’s becoming routine and I’m starting to enjoy that routine and find little things to help me play well everyday.”

Ice head coach Ryan McGill said he saw signs from Skapski at the Christmas break that the second half of the year was going to be good for the young netminder.

“Paying attention to detail in his game to try to improve is number one,” said McGill. “The experience of playing and evaluating his game after, is number two, and then applying those values the next days in practice and in games and just seeing that snowball effect with his confidence and with his game.”

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Ryan McKenzie of the Kimberley Trails Society made an in-depth presentation to City Council describing the initial steps of the Electrify the Mountains eBike trails project. This is a look at the project one map.
Kimberley City Council hears details on Electrify the Mountain project

At the meeting of City Council on Tuesday, June 8 Ryan McKenzie… Continue reading

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the 2021 BC Summer Reading Club. Kimberley Public Library file
Kimberley kids invited to join summer reading club at Public Library

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the… Continue reading

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

Most Read