The Kootenay Ice couldn’t keep up with the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday night, falling 5-3 on the road for their fifth straight loss.
The Ice were outshot 38-17 by the Chiefs and were also stymied by Dawson Weatherill, who made a number of key saves for the home side.
Colton Veloso had a pair of goals for Kootenay, while Gilian Kohler also scored and Matt Berlin made 33 saves for his seventh consecutive loss.
According to head coach James Patrick, despite plenty of positive performances from his players, a slow start in the first period cost the Ice a chance at victory.
“We were on our heels in the first seven, eight minutes and [Spokane] played with as much pace as anyone [so] we had a little trouble staying with them,” Patrick said. “After that, I thought we had some real good life there, but we gave up too many odd-man rushes.
“I thought we played really hard [though]. I liked the way Keenan [Taphorn] came back in his first game, Kaeden [Taphorn] skate really well too [and] I thought this was Peyton Krebs’ best game in awhile.”
As the current rookie scoring leader in the WHL, Krebs had an assist in the loss, while Keenan Taphorn didn’t pick up any points in his first game since suffering an injury on February 3.
While Kootenay lost, their top rivals for third place in the Central Division, the Red Deer Rebels, managed to defeat the powerhouse Swift Current Broncos 5-3. The win lifted the Rebels to 57 points in 63 games, while Kootenay sunk to 53 points in 64 games.
Red Deer and Kootenay are set to meet three times before the end of the season, with their final two games being a home-and-home series on March 16 and 17.
The next game for the Ice is a Wednesday home contest against the league’s top team, the Moose Jaw Warriors who have a 45-12-1-2 record. The game will also be former alternate captain Vince Loschiavo’s first return visit to Western Financial Place since being traded in early December.
Puck drop for Wednesday’s game is at 7:00 p.m. MST.