For anyone not listening, the Kootenay Ice will be a good team in the very near future. Last night they showed a glimpse of it in Spokane with a 7-3 dismantling of the Chiefs. Sam Reinhart notched 2 goals and added an assist while Jaedon Descheneau got in with three assists as the Ice scored five straight goals after going down 3-2 in the second.
Kootenay's season high for goals was five prior to last night in Spokane when bounces and goals went in the club's direction for once rather than the other way round and interestingly enough, given the young team they are, they didn't fold after being up 2-1 on the Chiefs late in the first period when a backhand by Dylan Walchuk squeezed by Ice goaltender Mackenzie Skapski and into the net - after the referee's whistle had gone. So obvious that even Spokane radio - most home broadcasters not known for their objectivity - heard the whistle prior to the puck crossing the line.
An ill-advised 5-on-3 early into the second gave Todd Fiddler another chance to put the Chiefs up - he didn't miss for his second of the game and 27th on the year, and 3rd against the Ice in the two games.
The Ice didn't fold however as Reinhart tied it three minutes later and the tables turned. Walchuk put a puck into his own net on a scramble of Levi Cable's backhand, D Tanner Faith got his 1st of the year for a 5-3 second period lead. Reinhart and Leach added two more in the third. Highlites are right here.
Faith blocked a shot late last night and I don't think played after that - though it was in the last three minutes or so but something to watch for New Years Eve for quietly becoming the club's steadiest new blueliner.
Rookie D-man Matt Thomas was a healthy scratch and F Colin Shirley was away at the U-17 - Team Western was shutout by Sweden 4-0. Local goaltender Peyton Lee won a wild one for Team Pacific, edging the Russians 8-7 in overtime.
F Austin Vetterl - trying to move up the line-up from the fourth line after being acquired from Vancouver earlier in the season - had his best game of the season with a goal and an assist. Eric Benoit opened the scoring against the Chiefs.
Head coach Ryan McGill went with three lines most of the night, with the fourth unit - Prochazka, Hubic and Boyd - playing sparingly.
Montgomery, Cable, Philp
Reinhart, Descheneau, Benoit
McPhee, O'Connor, Vetterl
Watched the game online last night and was impressed. Replays, multiple angles, almost like a regular broadcast. The Chiefs definitely do it right when it comes to augmenting the experience. It's something that would be nice to have here (in-game replays on a jumbotron and closed-circuit, etc) but with the present monetary situation facing our city - and in fact most cities - I doubt that's going to happen any time soon at WFP.
Would more fans show up if the building had replay/broadcast in-house?
In KIJHL action last night in Kimberley a tilt between the Dynamiters and the Fernie Ghostriders saw the Nitros beat the Riders 5-3 on the strength of two goals by Nitro forward Sam Nigg and three helpers from Taylor McDowell. Matt Mitchell stopped 38 of 41 shots to get the win.
Of note; recently named Nitro head coach Glen Burgess coached against his 18-year-old son Joel - one of three Burgess boys who play or played with the Riders over the last three seasons - in the 5-3 win. Joel chipped with a goal in the second and a fight with Nitro D-man Tre Mason in the third.
As I write this I'm watching the WJC USA-CAN match-up. Thanks to TSN who let me know that Canada won just as I turned on the TV this morning, some 31 minutes before the rebroadcast. At least they didn't tell me the score.
Another minus to TSN; previously all broadcasts were available online. Now they're Pay-per-view. BOO.
And finally this morning, got a note - through the mail, snail-mail - old school - from a fan of the Ice and this blog that was received over the holidays and much appreciated. With my new gig I don't get near the amount of time to throw words onto the screen anymore and not being accredited media any longer - just a fan now - I don't have the relationship with the players, coaches and management that I once did. That hinders my ability to comment fully and hence, not as much to write about.
Really, all this is, is just one fan's view but I'm glad those who stop by, and enjoy it with their morning coffee.