On any given day, it seems, any team can win or lose in the BC Major Midget Hockey League, and the Kootenay Ice did both last weekend with a split against the basement-dwelling South Island Royals.
Kootenay Ice coach Kris Boyce was pretty clear before the Island road trip that he’d only be satisfied with one result.
“We play South Island and North Island in back-to-back weekends on the Island, and we have to come out of there with four wins. We have to,” said Boyce.
Kootenay started off well, skating to a 4-2 victory in a rare Friday afternoon match in Victoria, however, a hot goalie melted the Ice on Saturday in a 3-2 loss.
In Friday’s match, Dawson Creek product Mason McLeod notched his third of the year to open the scoring on a setup from Erik Delaire and Quaid Anderson. Simon Nemethy made it 2-0 on a great individual effort at 15:51 of the second period, before the Royals replied with Brax Klassen beating Ice goalie Jake Kemp to cut the lead to one at the 10-minute mark.
Brett Walchuk scored the winner for Kootenay on a second period power-play goal that put the Ice up 3-1 with 2:43 to play in the second period. Jaxen Waterstreet completed the Ice scoring, tallying his second goal of the season on a pass from Martin Ingram early in the third to put the Ice up 4-1. South Island’s Tyler Stinchcombe added one more with less than a minute remaining for the 4-2 final.
After playing the league-leading Prince George Cougars into overtime last weekend, Kootenay was confident heading into the match up against a Royals team with just one win on the season. But South Island improved their record to 2-14-0, stunning the Ice in Saturday’s match up.
The Royals jumped out to a 2-0 second period lead on goals from Michael Hoekstra and Rowan Miller, but Marty Ingram cut the lead to one with 2:33 left to play in the second period. The Ice owned puck possession and had a number of scoring opportunities but Royals goalie Connor Cheyne was unbeatable. The Royals went up 3-1 on a Klassen goal with 14:59 left in the third period, and Cheyne held the Ice at bay until Kootenay AP Jesse Ihas netted his first of the season with just four seconds remaining in regulation.
Kootenay’s fifth win of the season leaves them in eighth place in the BCMML standings, a point behind the Vancouver NE Chiefs. But it was a wild weekend in the BCMML with parity and upsets reigning supreme.
The sixth place Kelowna Rockets took 3-of-4 points from the first-place Valley West Hawks, and the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds trounced the tied-for-top-spot Prince George Cougars 7-2 on Sunday, while the ninth seeded North Island Silvertips beat third-place Vancouver Canadians 3-2.
The 5-7-0-2 Kootenay Ice travel to Nanaimo this weekend to play the 5-8-1-0 North Island Silvertips on Saturday and Sunday at Frank Crane Arena.