The Kootenay ICE couldn’t capitalize on the return of forward Peyton Krebs to their lineup in Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors.
The star forward had missed the prior four games due to injury.
Defender Valtteri Kakkonen also returned in Wednesday’s outing after missing the past five games.
The two teams played a close first period with chances at both ends of the rink.
The lone goal of the opening frame came off the stick of former ICE forward Keenan Taphorn after taking a pass from defender Josh Brook.
Taphorn took the feed cleanly and blazed down the left wing boards and blasted a wrist shot past ICE goalie Duncan McGovern to give his team a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The second period played out much like the first, though the ICE began to have issues clearing the puck from their own zone.
In one such instance, a defensive zone breakdown from the ICE led to Moose Jaw’s second goal at 3:35 of the middle frame.
That’s when Warrior forward Cameron Sterling blocked a Kootenay clearing attempt and the puck relayed to Josh Brook who fired a shot through a crowd beating McGovern to make the score 2-0.
It would stay that way until early in the third period when Moose Jaw defender and Vancouver Canucks prospect Jett Woo made good on a cross-ice feed from Tristan Langan, quickly firing the puck from the left circle which hit the top corner to make the score 3-0.
Peyton Krebs got in on the scoring at 10:21 of the final frame after winning a faceoff in the Warriors zone.
The puck found its way to Kootenay defender Dallas Hines who fired a low shot towards the Moose Jaw net which was tipped by Krebs to give him 7 goals on the season and narrowing the gap to 3-1.
That was as close as the ICE would get despite a late chance for Krebs off a last minute scramble, but a highlight-reel save from Moose Jaw goalie Adam Evanoff preserved the two goal lead and sealed the 3-1 victory for the Warriors.
After the game ICE coach James Patrick said he wasn’t happy with the club’s showing versus the Warriors.
“I didn’t think we played very well, I didn’t like our game,” said Patrick. “I thought our puck management was not good, and I though we had some guys playing very timid, very perimeter hockey.”
Peyton Krebs, who had Kootenay’s lone goal, says he felt a little rusty at the start of the game, but felt better as it went on.
“Just trying to get my legs underneath me, get my timing back, I thought it was a slow start for sure but by the end of the game I was starting to get my stride down,” Krebs said. “I think it was a tough one tonight, obviously we’d like that one back for sure.”
Returning defender Valtteri Kakkonen says there were positives and negatives to take away from the loss to Moose Jaw.
“It wasn’t a bad game for us, it wasn’t our best either,” said Kakkonen. “There was too many turnovers, but I didn’t there was too many more chances for them than for us, they had their chances and they scored and we had ours and we didn’t score.”
The win gives Moose Jaw a six-game winning streak as well as a 3-0 record versus the ICE this season.
The ICE were without a pair of key forwards in the game as Cam Hausinger and Connor McClennon are both nursing injuries and likely wont factor back into the lineup anytime soon.
Kootenay went 0/2 on the power play and were 3/3 on the penalty kill.
The Warriors outshot Kootenay 29-27.
The ICE will look to shake their losing streak Friday in Seattle when the face the Thunderbirds to begin a three-game road trip which will also feature stops in Everett Saturday and Portland Sunday.
– James Patrick – Head Coach, Kootenay ICE
– Peyton Krebs – Forward, Kootenay ICE
– Valtteri Kakkonen – Defenceman, Kootenay ICE