Donovan Bibeau, right, collects his gloves and stick from the ice after a scrum ensued following his 4-1 goal.
The offense is coming together for the Cold Lake Ice.
The Ice clicked for two quick goals in the first seven minutes of play, and the Bandits were never able to draw even again, losing 5-2. That’s 13 goals in two games.
“Our powerplay clicked which was unusual for us. In the four years I’ve coached we haven’t been that great at it,” said Coach Scott Hood.
“We worked hard. We put pressure on them all game. There were times in the game where we left off and they got back into it, but we stuck to the gameplan and played well for the most part for sixty minutes.”
Deni Kantel’s point shot hit the back of the net and Devon McCormack slid one past Bandits netminder Eric Cook in the first period, two of 40 total shots he faced throughout the night.
Despite some penalty trouble causing Bandits forward Tegan Peter’s goal to make it 2-1, the Ice often kept the speedy Bandits from the middle of the ice. That left easier saves for Ice goalie Matt Henwood who earned first star honours.
“We’ve got speed too. We can match speed with hard work. We like to take the middle away. Our team played well, it’s coming together for us,” said Hood.
The new line of Donovan Bibeau, Scott Thackeray, and Tanner Barnes gelled nicely. They gave Bandits defensemen a lot to be anxious about when forechecking with their dogged effort on the puck.
Bibeau’s efforts eventually put him on the scoresheet for the prettiest goal of the game. Kantel launched Bibeau on a stretch pass and he deked Cook backhand-forehand to make the game 4-1 on his second great chance of the period.
The trailing Bandits defender then shoved the Ice scorer into the boards and a scrum ensued.
“I figured I’d have to make up for my missed breakaway there earlier, so I’m glad I did,” said Bibeau.
“Good on Barnsy for stepping up on the play showing them that they’re not going to be taking liberties.”
Hood liked the team’s response at that point, now up three goals with just over a period left to play.
“Stick up for each other. We don’t want to get into fights every game but if one of your teammates gets banged up or somebody takes liberties, you stick up for everybody. It was good to see. I don’t like being shorthanded or take stupid penalties, but it’s part of the game.”
With a younger nucleus, the Ice are now 2-1 on the season and will host Lac la Biche Friday before going on the road to Vermilion Saturday night.
Captain Coltan Buchta is seeing a lot of hard work from his teammates right now.
“We’re just trying to instill that in the guys. Keep pushing them and see what we can get out of them.”