Both down 0-1 in the tournament, the Kootenay Ice and Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors were scrambling to get a win, and faced each other Sunday night.
It was obvious early that the teams were desperate – chippy play and goalmouth scrums dominated the game. Shortly after Rob Flick was sent to the penalty box for interference, the Kootenay power play, 0-for-5 Saturday night, finally succeeded. Cody Eakin put a wrist shot top shelf on goaltender J.P. Anderson to make it 1-0.
Eakin was essentially carrying the Ice throughout the game, and had some of the better quality scoring chances for his team. He used his speed to beat opponents to the puck, and was an important part of the Ice backcheck, throwing his body around and creating turnovers. But his one goal was not enough to get the Ice a win.
Flick, whose penalty resulted in the Ice power play that lead to Eakin’s goal, got his revenge when he put a puck right on Nathan Lieuwen’s doorstep. Maxim Kitsyn, falling into the goal, was able to push the puck into the net.
The second period was a continuation of the physical play. As players went after each other late in the second, one commentator said, “This is turning into a circus.” With seven power plays (including one 5-on-3) between the teams in the second period alone, it was an accurate assessment.
Rob Flick finally broke the 1-1 tie in the third period, using his speed to get around defender Jagger Dirk and shoveling the puck through Nathan Lieuwen’s five hole. The Ice tried to come back, but looked to succumb to fatigue late in the game, losing races to the puck and not moving their feet. Majors goaltender J.P. Anderson didn’t do them any favors either; he put in a 32-save effort.
With the Ice now down 0-2 in the tournament, they’ll be hoping to emulate the 2009 Windsor Spitfires, who came back from a 0-2 deficit to win the Memorial Cup. However, if the fatigue they showed in the third period lingers, they’ll be packing their bags to head home.
Photo credit: OHL Images