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.

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

Calf will be moved to Revelstoke maternity pens, then released

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.

Man seriously hurt after police shooting near Nelson

Incident has been reported to provincial police watchdog

Mental health, BC Housing council’s picks for resolution issues

Grand Forks council aims to hold the province accountable to local government with draft resolutions

Mermen calendar targets ‘toxic masculinity,’ raises big money for charities

Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club gave a cheque for more than $202,000 to Violence Prevention NL

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

Interior Health on high alert for possible measles cases

No reports of the disease yet, but regular travel to the Coast could bring measles to the Interior

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Most Read