The Kootenay ICE (13-17-2-0) are getting ready for the first of four in a row against the Calgary Hitmen (10-17-3-1).
Kootenay is four points ahead of Calgary for the third and final playoff spot in the Central Division.
Head Coach James Patrick says he’s never seen a schedule where two teams play four games straight.
“Just the fact that we’re in the same division and we’re fighting for the same spot, that playoff spot, I think that just ties into it really being like a playoff series.” says Patrick.
Patrick says the two rivals have many similarities.
“They’re winning games the same way we’re winning games and they’re losing to the same teams we’ve been losing to so it’s been [a] real similar path.”
The ICE will be without Gilian Kohler and Martin Bodak and the Hitmen will lose veteran Jake Bean who are all away at World Junior camps.
The season series is split a one game apiece as Kootenay won their season opener versus Calgary 3-2 and the Hitmen bounced back with a 3-1 win the following night.
Colton Kroeker continues to lead the ICE in scoring with 27 points in 29 games while the Hitmen are lead by Bean who has 27 points in 25 games.
The first of four games is Saturday afternoon in Cranbrook where the ICE will hold their annual Toque, Mitten & Teddy Bear Toss.
– James Patrick, Kootenay ICE Head Coach