The Kootenay ICE lost their second game of the weekend in a wild Sunday afternoon outing at Western Financial Place.
The Central Division-leading Red Deer Rebels were able to hold off the ICE for an 8-5 victory despite a 3rd period push from the home team.
The game started quickly with the Rebels’ dynamic duo of captain Reese Johnson and leading scorer Brandon Hagel clicking for a pair of goals in the first 2:29 to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
Kootenay would respond with two goals in thirty-six seconds to tie the game before the five-minute markk.
Red Deer would add a third goal about 8:00 into the first on a rebound for Blake Sydlowski to make the score 3-2 after 20 minutes.
The second period was all Rebels.
Red Deer picked up three goals in the middle-frame to make it a 6-2 game heading into the third period, however they appeared to suffer a setback with Brandon Hagel leaving the ice with an apparent arm injury.
That’s when the ICE woke up and were able to take advantage of a plethora of power plays.
Three ICE defenders (Dallas Hines, Jonathan Smart and Martin Bodak) notched markers with extra men on the ice for Kootenay in a four-minute span to pull the team within one.
That’s when Hagel made his return to the Red Deer bench, and on his first shift of the third period he blazed past a number of ICE defenders on a rush, fed a pass to Jeff de Witt who was waiting in the slot and fired a shot past ICE goalie Duncan McGovern to seal the win.
Red Deer captain Reese Johnson would add an empty-net goal with two-seconds left in the third to clinch a hat trick and an 8-5 victory.
ICE coach James Patrick was not happy with the game, especially the team’s play in the second period.
“The way we came out and played in that second period, we just got flat-out outworked, out-competed and out-battled.”
The loss was the ICE’s second-straight setback and the second consecutive game they’ve allowed seven or more goals.
Despite the loss the ICE were 3/6 on the power play and won the shots battle 41-26.
The ICE will be back in action Tuesday to start a six-game road trip in Saskatchewan versus the Swift Current Broncos.
– James Patrick – Head Coach, Kootenay ICE