Cam Hausinger takes a shot during a Kootenay Ice exhibition game against the Calgary Hitmen in Invermere on Friday night.

WHL: Hitmen overcome Ice in Invermere

Two teams battle to overtime during WHL pre-season showcase in the Columbia Valley

Hockey fans in Invermere got a treat when the Kootenay Ice and Calgary Hitmen went to overtime at the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena during preseason action on Friday night.

However, Hitmen defenceman Dom Schmiemann ended the affair at 5-4 just over two minutes into the extra period, ending an Ice comeback that saw the Kootenay squad tie the game in the dying minutes of regulation.

Despite two quick goals from the Hitmen in the opening frame from Luke Coleman and Jake Kryski, the Ice woke up in the middle frame, scoring three unanswered markers.

Kootenay head coach James Patrick said his team struggled in the first period against a bigger veteran-laden lineup, but found its footing afterwards.

“I liked the last two periods; I thought we were engaged, it was exciting hockey,” said Patrick. “It was back-and-forth and, obviously, it’s disappointing to lose — every game you’re playing you want to win — but, for the most part, I liked the effort and the compete, and that a number of guys got to experience a tough game.”

Brad Ginnell led the offensive pushback, followed by Dallas Hines and Peyton Krebs to close out the period with a one goal lead.

Kryski tallied his second of the game early in the final period to tie up the affair, while Layne Toder put the Hitmen ahead a few minutes later.

With Ice goaltender Duncan McGovern on the bench for an extra attacker, Kaeden Taphorn found the equalizer with just under a minute and a half left in the game to force the overtime period.

“I think it gives me a bit more confidence going to the regular season here next week,” said Taphorn, “so hopefully the team can take — obviously we wanted to win, but take a little momentum here for tomorrow and hopefully get the win.”

McGovern made 24 saves in the crease for the Ice, while Matthew Armitage and Jack McNaughton split goaltending duties for the Hitmen, collectively making 23 saves.

The Ice wrap up the exhibition season with their final game in Calgary on Saturday night ahead of the WHL regular season.

Patrick says the roster is still far from set and that players are still battling for spots heading into the regular season.

“I know for some teams, when you get to the last game, you want to play your opening day roster,” Patrick said. “We won’t be doing that. We’re still trying to work things out on what it’s going to be and who is going to be here and we still have positions up for grabs. I wanted to see whoever’s in, go out and earn your spot, earn your ice time and compete as hard as you can.”

The Ice played in front of a full barn at the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena, which is home to the Columbia Valley Rockies of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League KIJHL). Scratches from the Ice roster met with local minor hockey kids and laced up their skates to run some drills with them before the game.

Tanya Roe, a volunteer with Invermere Minor Hockey, said having a major-junior game at the local arena means a lot for the young kids who want to pursue their hockey dreams.

“It’s huge,” said Roe. “This is big; this is where all these kids want to be, is in the WHL, the NHL, that’s what they look at.”

For Taphorn, it served as a chance to connect with regional fans outside the Cranbrook and Kimberley area.

“I thought it was great,” he said. “The crowd looked packed up there, so it was good to play in front of people who maybe don’t get the chance to come to Cranbrook.”

Just Posted

What’s happening for Family Day in the Boundary

Activities in and around Grand Forks offer something for everyone.

Petition on Second Street project presented to council

Over 1,000 signatures were gathered, but staff say council can’t do much about the project.

Have an escape plan, meeting place in event of fire

Grand Forks Fire/Rescue offers tips to keep your family prepared.

Biologists discover another female calf in depleted South Purcell Mountain Caribou herd

Calf will be moved to Revelstoke maternity pens, then released

Man seriously hurt after police shooting near Nelson

Incident has been reported to provincial police watchdog

Fashion Fridays: Up your beauty game

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Police track armed kidnapping across Thompson-Okanagan

RCMP allege it was a targeted crime believed to be linked to the drug trade

St. Paul’s Hospital replacement slated to open in Vancouver in 2026

Announced many times, but this time there’s money, Adrian Dix says

Fourteen ‘dream’ homes ordered evacuated as sinkholes open in Sechelt

Sinkholes throughout the subdivision have prompted the District of Sechelt to issue evacuation orders

Olympian Rhoda Wurtele visits Fernie; reveals secret to skiing at 97

Rhoda Wurtele and her identical twin sister Rhona represented Canada at the 1948 Olympics

Third measles case in Vancouver prompts letter to parents

Measles is highly contagious and spreads easily through the air

January home sales were weakest since 2015, average national price falls: CREA

CREA says the national average price for all types of residential properties sold in January was $455,000

Most Read