The Major Midget Kootenay Ice skated to a pair of gutsy wins over the Valley West Giants on the weekend to earn their first sweep of the season.
Ice leading scorer Noah Quinn scored a hat trick in Game 1 of the two-game tilt, including the overtime winner in a 4-3 victory over the Giants on Saturday at the Cominco Arena.
Kootenay followed that up with a defensive gem on Sunday, as Ice goalie Colton Phillips-Watts stopped 43 shots and held off a determined Giants squad in a 2-1 win. The victory is the 16-year-old Quesnel netminder’s first win since joining the Ice two weeks ago.
The two victories move the 7-9-0-0 Ice into sixth place in the BCMML standings, a point up on the South Island Royals and a two-point cushion on the Giants.
In Sunday’s match, Kootenay forward Jacob Smith scored what proved to be the game winner on a power play goal at 10:30 of the third period. After Kaleb Percival blasted a point shot off the crossbar, Kootenay kept the pressure on. Quinn fed Percival in the high slot and the Nelson product slipped a slick pass to Smith, who fired a tough-angle shot into the open net to give the Ice a 2-0 lead.
After falling in overtime the first night, the Giants went into Game 2 determined. However, Kootenay scored first when d-man Dallas Maximick found the twine at 11:35 of the first period, taking a pass from Nathan Dann and beating goalie Mason Beaupit.
The Giants kept the pressure on through two periods but couldn’t beat Phillips-Watts despite outshooting the Ice 25-13.
Things looked dire for Kootenay early in the third period when Luken Murray was sent off for cross checking four minutes in, and Quinn was called for tripping 30 seconds later, giving the Giants a two-man advantage for 90 seconds.
The Ice penalty kill came up huge, with Phillips-Watts making a couple big saves, and the Ice’s PK units foiling the Giants’ set plays. Kootenay killed the 5-on-3, then went up 2-0 on Smith’s power play goal just two minutes after the kill.
The Giants pulled their goalie with 2:28 to play, however, and the move paid off when Isaiah Colina shovelled the puck past the Ice goalie on a frantic scramble in front with 2:10 to play.
The Giants looked for the equalizer and a chance to force another overtime, but Kootenay held on for the win.
In Saturday’s match, Quinn started the Ice off by scoring midway through the first period for a 1-0 lead. Valley West tied it up in the second when Brandon Litchfield beat Carsten Shrimpton with a power play goal at 16:19.
Whitehorse product Ashton Underhill scored on a setup from Smith and Kalen Whittingham to give the Ice a 2-1 lead at 7:12, and assisted on Quinn’s second of the game to make it 3-1 at 4:17.
The Giants cut the lead to one on a goal from Benjamin Vornbrock with three minutes remaining in the middle frame, and tied it up with a power play goal 51 seconds into the third period.
The score remained deadlocked at three until Quinn, a Nelson native, ended it in overtime scoring a power-play goal on a setup from Smith and Percival 40 seconds into the extra frame.
The hat trick puts Quinn on a point-per-game pace with eight goals and 16 points in 16 games.
Kootenay is on the road this weekend with a pair of games against the Vancouver North West Hawks. The Hawks are 13-5-0-0 and in second place in the BCMML standings, and coming off a pair of 4-1 wins over the South Island Royals.