By Thomas Neufeld
After a strong first 5 games to the season that included a successful Saskatchewan road trip, the Winnipeg Ice were back home this week for back to back games, and hoping to build upon their strong start.
Edmonton Oil Kings
The Ice’s first game of their back to back homestand came against the Edmonton Oil Kings
The Oil Kings came out firing and scored the game’s first 3 goals within the first 10 minutes. Unfortunately for the Ice, the next 2 periods would see similar domination, as the Oil Kings scored 2 more goals in each period, on their way to a 7-0 win.
Despite the 7-0 shutout loss, the Ice did outshoot the Oil Kings, and surely had some takeaways they could build off going into their next game.
The Vancouver Giants would be the Ice’s opponent on the back half of their back to back homestand.
The Giants came out strong and created a 2-0 lead just past the midway point of the first period. 16 year old Ice defenseman, Carson Lambos tried to get momentum on the Ice’s side when he and Alex Kannok Leipert sparred right after the Giants scored their second goal of the game. It would take the GIants a while to get their next goal, but one more goal in each of the next 2 periods gave them a 4-0 lead and victory.
Despite being shutout for the second consecutive game, the Ice did manage to outshoot their opponent for a second consecutive night.
Week in review and a look ahead
Despite the tough week for the Ice, they still sit third in their division and would qualify for the playoffs if the season ended today. Though they didn’t score in either game this week; managing to generate 40 and 33 shots does indicate the team is getting chances and that there is optimism for the offense of last week to return soon.
Goaltender Dean McNabb had been injured in last week’s Saskatchewan road trip and was unavailable for the back to back games, which gave rookies Gage Alexander and Will Gurski the task of guarding the net, as each started their second game of the season. McNabb could be returning from injury soon, and the team’s starting goalie from last year, Jesse Makaj, could also be returning soon.
Captain Peyton Krebs still has not been cleared from his Achilles injury, and the timetable for his return is unknown.
This week, the Ice will head out on a road trip and play back to back games on Friday and Saturday against the Medicine Hat Tigers and Swift Current Broncos.