One never likes to eat a lot of crow - and to be honest, the bird hasn't be served up just yet - but watching this team play game-in and game-out, at least at home, and you really wonder if they can pull this playoff push off.
Saturday night at the Rec Plex they did it again, finishing off a hard-fought, almost playoff style of a hockey game, 3-0 over the Hurricanes. It's those same Hurricanes, along with the Tigers, they'll be battling to get a spot in the post-season dance.
They are words still hard to type given the state of the team just 6-7 weeks ago where visions of lottery picks danced in the heads of fans and not playoff games. If you were wondering the Tyler Benson watch continued this week when the Edmonton Southside Athletic Club Bantam broke Ty Rattie's Alberta Bantam AAA league points record of 131. Benson now has 56 goals and 85 assists in 31 league games with still two to play. Benson is the consensus number one pick for May's Bantam Draft.
With 19 games left to play the Ice face-off against the Hurricanes and the Tigers - five and three points ahead of them in the standings - six times (three each). Sweep those games - just six wins - the probability of making the post-season increases exponentially. Four of those are on the road, where it hasn't exactly been really kind of late but not out of the realm of reality, for sure.
Some stats to throw out there, given Mackenzie Skapski's play during the turnaround;
Record - 13-4 in 18 games since Christmas (Wyatt Hoflin came in relief with the Ice down 4-3 against the Tigers Jan 11 and the Ice came back to win 7-5, hence the discrepancy).
GAA over that span - 2.22
Save percentage - 0.925
You cannot have success without good goaltending.
How good has Jaedon Descheneau been since the team suspension of 3 games back in December?
D Tanner Faith may have suffered a setback as he's now listed as 'undetermined amount of time' from 1-2 weeks.
After 28 home dates the club is averaging 2334, though a strong crowd of 2700 showed up for the 3-0 win over the Hurricanes.
The Ice are off until a two-game homestand this weekend starting Friday with Spokane here and Saturday Moose Jaw is in town. Sunday rounds out the three-in-three in the Hat against the Tigers.