The Major Midget Kootenay Ice head to Prince George this weekend for a two-game tilt against the BCMML-leading Cariboo Cougars. Jim Bailey photo.

The Major Midget Kootenay Ice head to Prince George this weekend for a two-game tilt against the BCMML-leading Cariboo Cougars. Jim Bailey photo.

Kootenay Ice lose traction on road to playoffs

Major Midget Kootenay Ice drop two matches to Thompson Blazers, face Cariboo Cougars this weekend

With 10 games remaining in the BC Major Midget League season, the Kootenay Ice will need to gain some traction if they hope to make the playoffs.

The Ice slipped to 10th place in the standings after losing twice to the Thompson Blazers last weekend. Following a 6-2 loss to the Blazers on Friday, the Ice put in a good effort but came up on the short end of a 2-1 setback on Saturday.

Owen Barrow’s goal at the 7:08 mark of the second period was all the Blazers needed for the 2-1 win, and a three-point cushion on the Ice for the eighth and final playoff spot.

Thompson opened the scoring at 12:42 of the first period on captain Tyson Gayfer’s eighth goal of the season. However, Kootenay tied it when Mason McLeod finished a setup from Erik Delaire with less than a minute to play in the first.

The Kamloops ice seemed tilted in the Blazers’ favour as Kootenay was called for 10 minor penalties to just five for the home team, and frustration set in midway through the third when the Ice’s bench was called for a 10 minute misconduct after Booker Daniel was sent off for cross-checking.

But Kootenay’s penalty kill was perfect and the Ice had their chances, especially in the final 1:21 when Kamloops was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty, but Blazers goalie Monteith Bailey came up big, and is 4-0-1 in his last five starts.

On Saturday, a fast-paced first period saw the teams tied 2-2, with Delaire scoring his fifth of the season for the Ice and Keenan Crossman chipping in with his eighth.

But two goals from Kaden Dempsey and singles from Timber Lewis and Gayfer in the final two periods launched the Blazers to a 6-2 victory.

The four-point weekend propelled the Blazers past the Ice in the BCMML standings, with Kootenay set to play the league-leading Cariboo Cougars in Prince George this weekend, while the Blazers host the last place South Island Royals.

The Ice trail the ninth place North Island Silvertips by two points, but Kootenay has two games in hand and will host the Royals on Feb. 17-18 at the Cominco Arena.