*This is a Kootenay Ice game recap that I wrote for the Cranbrook Townsman .*
The Kootenay Ice’s 2016 first round draft pick, Peyton Krebs, had a stellar performance, scoring two goals and setting up the last-minute game-winner to lead his team to victory tonight.
Unfortunately, Krebs’ team right now is not the Ice. He won’t play in the WHL until next season. The 15-year-old phenom was in Calgary playing for Team Alberta in the 2016 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup.
Alberta beat Saskatchewan 4-3 in a competitive match. Kootenay lost 10-3 in a blowout.
Without the services of illness-stricken starting goalie Payton Lee, who stole the Ice two points with his play in their last two overtime losses in which he piled up a combined 87 saves, Kootenay had to rely on sophomore backup Declan Hobbs against the Tigers.
They didn’t set him up for success.
In the first period, the Tigers racked up 18 shots, while the Ice only countered with 9 of their own. While the Ice stayed in the game early, trading chances with the Tigers in the first half of the opening frame, by the end of the period Medicine Hat was considerably outshooting the Ice and put in two quick goals in the last two minutes.
Moments after Hobbs was bailed out by a lucky puck that bounced off both posts after a clear chance by rookie John Dahlstrom, James Hamblin and Tigers captain Clayton Kirichenko both beat him high glove side in rapid succession.
In the second period, the Tigers became dominant and Dahlstrom scored within the first 30 seconds. That opened the floodgates and they piled on three more goals, including scoring on their only power play, to put them up by 6 going into the third.
Nearly every player on the Tigers bench picked up a point with Dahlstrom scoring again and Ryan Chyzowski and Ryan Jevne also finding the back of the net in that second frame.
The third didn’t fair too much differently. Mark Rassel and Matt Bradley joined the parade in the opening two minutes, causing the Ice to pull Hobbs in favour of rookie Jacob Walter.
Although the Ice put up a fight in the remaining fifteen minutes of the game, getting goals from Zak Zborosky — who scored his tenth goal of the year — and Dallas Hine and Max Patterson, the Tigers kept pressing too with a goal by Gary Haden and a hattrick maker for John Dahlstrom.
At the time of the final buzzer, the Tigers had 51 shots to the Ice’s 37. Only five players in their lineup didn’t have a point while seven had multi-point efforts. Dahlstrom finished with three goals and an assist, Mason Shaw had five assists and Bradley had a goal and three assists.
Overall, it was a night to forget for the Ice who going into the game only had one previous game all season not decided by a single goal.
It won’t be that easy to put the loss behind them, however, as they have a rematch against the Tigers at home on Friday night. They’ll now have to take a long bus trip and quickly regroup to avenge tonight’s game.
With the way this one went, Ice fans will be certainly hoping that Payton Lee returns to full health as soon as possible. They also may want to turn their attention to Peyton Krebs and Team Alberta in the coming days — maybe it’ll help lift their spirits, just a bit.