- Our Town
Ice split with Spokane
Home ice really is an advantage.
The Kootenay Ice and the Spokane Chiefs each came away with a win on home soil, as they took turns hosting each other this weekend.
The Ice pulled out a 3-2 shootout victory on Friday at Western Financial Place, but dropped a 6-3 decision to the the Chiefs in Spokane on Saturday.
The Ice remain in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, five points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers, who occupy fourth.
Chiefs sniper Mitch Holmberg scored a first-period hat trick on the way to a 6-3 win in Spokane. Carter Proft added a pair of goals, while Marcus Messier also supplied offence for the Chiefs.
Tim Bozon, Zach Franko and Jagger Dirk responded for the Ice.
Ice goaltender Mackenzie Skapski was replaced by Wyatt Hoflin after the first period, after allowing four goals in 15 shots. Chiefs netminder Eric Williams made 33 saves for the win.
Holmberg scored his hat trick in the span of 9:01 and Messier added a goal in the final minute of the opening period for a 4-0 Chiefs lead.
Franko answered back with the lone goal in the second period, while Bozon tallied early in the final period. Reinhart picked up an assist on the play, extending his point streak to 20 games, one away from the franchise record held by Ice alum Mike Comrie.
However, Proft got his first less than a minute after Bozon scored, and added a second 10 minutes later.
Jagger Dirk replied with a late powerplay goal, but the Ice ran out of time to mount a comeback.
It was a better result on Friday in Cranbrook, as Kootenay picked up a shootout win despite outplaying their opponents for much of the game.
Rinat Valiev was the shootout hero, beating Williams through the five-hole, while Skapski was perfect in turning away all five Spokane shooters.
"It feels great," said Valiev. "I'm so happy to get the win and we get the two points."
Dirk opened the scoring in the first period with a huge slap shot at the point, which was assisted by Landon Peel and Reinhart. Valiev added Kootenay's second goal in the middle frame with another shot at the blue line that redirected past Williams.
However, Keanu Yamamoto caught fire, scoring twice for the Chiefs before the period ended to knot the game up at 2-2.
"They got a lot of firepower up front with Holmberg and Aviani—Holmberg has 50 goals and Aviani has 30, or something like that," said Dirk. "So if we shut those two guys down, that's a lot of their offence, but there are also other guys who can score, so we just got to keep playing as a team and do a better job in front of the net.
"Tonight, we didn't do a very good job, that's how they were able to score their two goals."
Though both teams pressed for the equalizer in the third and OT periods, it remained a tie game.
Bozon and Reinhart looked as if they scored on their shootout attempts—Bozon's even went to video review, but it took till the fifth round for Kootenay to score on Valiev's effort.