The Kootenay ICE are back on the winning side of their rivalry with the Calgary Hitmen after a 3-2 victory to start the season.
The ICE got out front early in front of a packed house at Western Financial Place with a goal from Michael King that deflected in off a Hitmen skate.
King added another to put the ICE out front two goals to none while Bailey Brkin was rock solid in net on the other side of the ice.
“It was awesome to get a few quick ones there.” said King. “Great effort by the whole team.”
Calgary came back to tie the game 2-2 in the third with 12:39 remaining but just a few minutes later the ICE regained the lead with a goal from Swiss import Gilian Kohler with a nice feed from promising youngster Peyton Krebs and Ryan Pouliot which resulted in Western Financial Place erupting in triumph.
“It was amazing.” said Kohler. “To play in front of a lot of fans, the best fans in the league, it was a really amazing feeling.”
The attendance was announced at 3,392. To put things in perspective the largest crowd last season was 2,690.
“I think that’s the most [fans] I’ve ever seen.” says Peyton Krebs. “Some of the guys in the room that are third year vets, it’s the most they’ve seen. It’s a new ICE age with the new owners and they promoted it really well and it shows, it’s coming together really well.”
Goaltender Bailey Brkin earned first star of the game stopping 35 of 37 Hitmen shots. King earned second star due to his two-goal performance and Krebs picked up third star.
“I love seeing a lot more shots than just 18 shots in a game.” says Brkin who earned his first WHL win Friday night. “It keeps me warm, keeps me engaged, I’m not one of those guys that can go five or ten minutes without a shot…I like to be engaged in the game.”
The ICE are back in action Saturday night for a rematch with the Hitmen in Calgary.