Skapski keeps the Ice hot

Matthew
Matthew Gourlie
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Kootenay goalie comes up big in 3-1 win

It took a lucky goal to beat Mackenzie Skapski Tuesday night.

Tanner Eberle, left, and Dallas Valentine from the Moose Jaw Warriors spin Kootenay Ice captain Sam Reinhart around in WHL action Tuesday at Mosaic Place.

After being beaten once, the Kootenay Ice goalie made his own luck.

Skapski was sensational as he made 34 saves as the Ice won their sixth straight game thanks to a 3-1 win over the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Skapski has now won 10 straight starts and he saved his best work for the third period. What looked like a sure tic-tac-toe goal turned into tic-tac-no as Skapski sprawled to rob Warriors forward Jack Rodewald at the side of the net with four minutes left.

"This was probably one of our poorest performances during this winning streak we've built for ourselves. That says a lot for our goaltending right now. He really bailed us out," said Ice captain Sam Reinhart who scored a pair of goals.

"From our standpoint that's all Skapski in net. He played a heck of a game for us right from the start. He really kept us in it late. We would have liked to have made it a little easier on him, so that will be our focus looking ahead to (Wednesday)."

After a dismal performance at Saturday, the Warriors were solid against one of the hottest teams in the WHL. They just couldn't find a way to score.

"I thought it was a good response to the disappointment Saturday and it was more reflective of the way we played Friday — we just didn't get the run production that we got on Friday," said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers. "We moved the puck around well when we finally got a power play. We had some good chances. Skapski played very well for them."

The Warriors managed to get the puck behind Skapski three times, but they only scored once.

Josh Uhrich had a glorious chance to tie the game in the second period. Skapski dropped Bryson Gore's shot and it fell behind him, but the Ice goalie was able to close his pads on the puck and Uhrich's stick before the Warrior forward could push the puck over the line.

Tanner Eberle looked like he had tied the game midway through the third period. He beat Skapski short side, hit the post and could only watch as the rebound his Skapski's back and died inches from the goal line before Ice defenceman Tyler King cleared the danger to save a goal.

"I thought we played well," said Warriors goalie Justin Paulic who made 35 saves. "They have some really good forwards and I thought we kept them at bay the best we could. Skapski is a really good goalie and he made some big saves late."

Paulic made some good saves late in the first period and again in the second as the Ice created some chance. He made a sensational save to rob Jagger Dirk's short-handed chance. Reinhart had the puck in the slot and after drawing the attention of the Warriors defence he laid it off for a Dirk one-timer that Paulic sprawled to save.

"The goalies were both solid. Paulie came out of his boots and made a save for us in the third period," said Stothers. "I'm happy for Paulie. That's two solid performances he's put in for us in this past week."

Paulic made 39 saves in their win in Prince Albert last Friday. The 18-year-old has been trying to relax and enjoy himself. It seems to be working, though he's trying to not over-think any part of his game.

"I just want to try to go out and play. I've been able to keep a clear mind and just play. I think that's the most important thing. It's been easier that way," Paulic said. "I've had people tell me I need to relax and that's what I've been focusing on. I'm trying to have fun during this stretch."

Jaedon Descheneau opened the scoring on the first shot of the game 1:01 into the first period. After being dominated early in their last outing, the Warriors rallied Tuesday. Then took it to the Ice and took nine of the next 10 shots on goal.

Reinhart, the reigning CHL player of the week, crashed the net to redirect a Descheneau shot to double the Ice lead on the power play.

The Ice earned four power play chances in the second period, but the Warriors came out flying in the third period. Ben Duperreault had an energetic night and he twice drew penalties for the Warriors in the third period.

After being foiled by Skapski all night, they finally caught a break when King redirected a Torrin White shot from the side boards into his own net.

Reinhart scored into an empty net to finish the game off.

"Duperreault is just energy. He's fun to watch. Stuff happens when he's on the ice," said Stothers. "I thought Tyler Brown has had a good stretch. He's going to play a lot in the remaining games. He's made some good strides for us."

Scott Cooke picked up an interference penalty after he flattened Tim Bozon from the Ice. Bozon didn't see Cooke coming and turned into the hit. Bozon appeared to be bleeding as he left the ice and did not return.

The Warriors welcomed back defenceman Jesse Forsberg, but were down to 10 forwards. Brandon Potomak and Colton McCarthy remain out due to injury and Alexander Chirva was out with the flu.

Geographic location: Prince Albert

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