Time to catch-up after a weekend in Montana with the Bantam team.
In what sounded like a superb hockey game at the Rec Plex Saturday night the Ice got two goals from Eric Benoit and Max Reinhart, with a shortie and an empty-netter, as Kootenay dumped the visiting Portland Winterhawks 4-1 in a rematch of last season's WHL Finals.
Of note is the sudden surge, okay, uptick, in the secondary scoring the club is looking for. Benoit with a couple last night giving him a respectable 5 goals on the season shows signs that the Czerwonka-Ismond-Max line won't have to carry the entire scoring load. Earlier in the week against the Rebels it was Pearce and Sam that provided the offence.
Kootenay improves to 11-3-0-2 on the season with 24 points, tops in the WHL, though, to be honest, it doesn't seem much like the club is feeling the love when it comes to consideration among the top contenders in the WHL this season. So, it begs the question: is this year's version of the Ice worthy of championship discussion as this point in the season, some two games off the season's quarter-pole?
Or is that decision best reserved for the culmination of the seven game home-stand and then the nine-game road odyssey at the end of November?
If they stand at or near the same spot they hold now over the next five or six weeks, and, being the best defensive club in the league (1.94 Goals Against Average per game) and being one of the lowest scoring club's in the league; (scoring an average of 2.69 goals a game), the same problem that presented itself for last season's club (hence the acquisition of Cody Eakin) seems to be the issue this season: scoring depth.
In possession of a wealth of picks and prospects, the Ice could easily afford the price of an Eakin last season. But with the same wealth of 16-year-old's (Reinhart, Descheneau, Martin, Wood-Shatz, Philp, Wand) as well as Bantam picks, does the club get into the market for scoring or stand pat to develop this crop of players?
It's an interesting question.
D Luke Paulsen's luck continues to fall on the bad side as the 19-year-old D-man suffered an undisclosed injury Saturday. It happened in the warm-up in which Paulsen tried to play through but couldn't continue. Jagger Dirk also missed some time as the versatile Joe Antilla moved back to the blueline for the Ice as can be seen on the highlites on the first goal, which are now up here.
Everett Rookie forward Ryan Chynoweth - a former Cranbrook Minor Hockey product and son of Ice GM Jeff Chynoweth - got into his first WHL scrap this week with Red Deer D-man Alex Petrovic. That video is here. Chynoweth gave up four inches and 35 pounds to Petrovic while the 19-year-old D-man for the Rebels, well, what's that saying about beating up a 16-year-old? If you win, you beat a 16-year-old and if you lose, you lost to a 16-year-old. That's usually why you don't see it happen all that often. Petrovic thought otherwise, I gather.
Chynoweth will get to make his WHL début at the rink he played a lot of minor hockey at this Friday as the Everett Silvertips make their one and only visit to the Rec Plex to face his dad's club. Gametime is 7PM