Hard work now powering the ICE

By Jeff Bromley

Hard work now powering the ICE

Excuses, like a Phillips head screwdriver in a room full of Robertson screws, doesn’t do anyone much good. Sure they provide you with a reason why you can’t get the job done but eventually those screws are going to have to come out one way or another. To complete a bad analogy, I guess you could say the Kootenay ICE are throwing out the excuses and tightening the screws on the competition.

After rattling off a four game unbeaten streak that saw the ICE garner two wins and two hard-fought ties in the shadow of losing their leading scorer in Marek Svatos during game one of the streak, the club is showing a lot of something the ICE coaching staff and management have been stating the club had all along – depth. But another attribute that the club has been stressing all season is hard work, a quality that can never be underscored. “We’ve come up big (with the effort) and the young guys have played really well,” said ICE forward Colin Sinclair. Leading best by example, Sinclair knows that getting cute on the offensive side of things isn’t going to work with Kootenay’s depleted line-up. “We’re just doing the simple things like crashing and banging and some bounces are starting to go our way.” Although off to a good start with four goals and six helpers in fourteen games, the hard-working center has some high standards set for himself and considering the amount of chances he’s had, including a couple of great ones against the Cougars Saturday night, thinks that hard work will pay off. “Pretty much the story of my life,” said Sinclair when asked of the ones that seemingly got away. “Work hard and nothing seems to go for me. But I don’t know, I’ll keep it up and see what happens.” The next night in Portland Sinclair cashed in on one of those efforts with the tying goal on the power-play with only 37 seconds left in the third period to gain the hard earned tie on the road.

Coach Ryan McGill is one who’s happy with the complete effort on the four game streak as the team’s fortunes seemed to have turned the corner at a time when most expected the opposite. The effort shown by his charges since the tie against the Rebels that started the club’s longest undefeated streak of the season is something the demanding coach would like to see every night, game in and game out, regardless of who’s out of the lineup. “There wasn’t one guy there that didn’t contribute in some way,” said McGill. “That’s what were going to have to do when you throw ninety goals out of your lineup in Stoll and Svatos. You’re going to have guys chip in and we’re going to have to win the 3-2 games and not get into any shootouts.” The injuries to Stoll and Svatos might have thrown ninety goals out of the lineup but you would’ve never noticed last Tuesday night in Vancouver. Of course a game against the WHL’s newest expansion club can always be a panacea for any club’s scoring ills as the ICE counted an incredible six goals in the middle frame en route to a 6-1 win at the Pacific Coliseum against the Giants. Averaging almost 34 shots a game this season, the Key City club was due for a breakout game on the offensive side of the ledger.

Quick Hits -Tomas Plihal proved he can score in bunches with or without his partner in crime Marek Svatos on Tuesday as the Czech sniper tied a Kootenay ICE record for most points in a period with three goals and an assist. The record is shared with Trevor Johnson, Jason Jaffray and Zdenek Blatny . . . The goal-tending situation with the ICE seems to be improving although there is still is no clear cut winner in the race for number one. Instead both Jeff Harvey and Bryan Bridges are playing well and are currently in a hot and cold rotation to determine who’s playing on any given night. Starting the current undefeated streak was Harvey with the tie against the Rebels and the win over the Cougars. A shaky start the next night in Portland saw Harvey pulled after letting in two goals on three shots. Bridges subsequently comes in and steals the show as the ICE dominated the Hawks came away with a hard-earned tie. The in Vancouver Bridges looked good in the lopsided win for the ICE. With Coach McGill continuing with the hot hand, currently Bridges, look for the rookie to get the start in Lethbridge on Friday night . . . While in Vancouver the ICE had a chance to see their future as first round Bantam pick of 2001 (18th overall) Jeremy Shenderling was in the line-up as a 15-yr-old rookie. The 1986-born Langley product, who’s eligible to play in five contests as an underage player this season, currently plays with the Langley AAA Bantam Eagles, defending Western Canadian Bantam champions . . .

Next up for the ICE is Lethbridge in the windy city on Friday and then at home Saturday and Sunday against the Saskatoon Blades and Medicine Hat Tigers, respectively.