The Cold Lake Jr B Ice are coming off a 5-2 win on Wednesday against the Saddle Lake Warriors, as they head into tonight’s game in Vegreville against the Rangers. It may be the momentum the team needs after an upsetting 7-3 loss at home against the top NEAJBHL team, the Wainwright Bison.
“We’ll take a win when we can get it,” says Head Coach of the Ice, Scott Hood. “We had Wainwright right where we wanted them, but just couldn’t finish them off.” The Ice were up 3-2 heading into the third, but took six penalties in the last period, allowing Wainwright to score five goals. Wainwright went five for 12 on the power play and a shorthanded goal, explains Hood, “six out of their seven goals were special teams.”
“We have issues with discipline and penalties,” says Hood, “that’s been our problem all year. I see and the guys have got to figure it out. If we stay out of the box against teams like Wainwright, we’ll do alright.”
Vegreville are second last in the NEAJBHL, which is promising as the Ice, who with only one game in the weekend need to pick up the two points. “We need the two wins this week to get back into it and start over fresh,” says Hood they’re halfway there, after picking up the two points on Wednesday. “It’s up to the guys, how hard they want to play. We have one game this weekend and it’s up for the taking, if they want to take it.”
“One of my objectives going in is to tone down the penalty minutes and show respect to the officiators and the other teams. Go to work every night,” Hood says after Saddle Lake’s match the Ice are top of the league in penalty minutes and goals against. “When you give up two or three power play goals a game, it’s tough,” states Hood, “your penalty kill has to be up around 80-90 percent to combat the penalties we’re taking. Guys right now aren’t being held accountable for their bad plays, they can’t sit because it’s all we got.”
Hood explains the squad is looking to bring in more guys to the team to help solve the short bench issues, “we’re adding bodies from local areas to help out.” #71, Chase Brown is coming off a suspension. The team has also added a couple of local guys, Curtis Gullackson and Tristian Kean.
“I’ve said it lots, but it is still early,” only a month into the season, things can change quickly, says Hood, “a win here and a win there, you move up pretty quickly.”