The Cold Lake Ice are hoping to equalize their first-round playoff series tonight against the Killam Wheat Kings.
Killam took Game 1 by a score of 4-2 on Wednesday thanks to an early start.
Ashton Kelly and Carter Ortman made it 2-0 with 7:00 left in the first period when Ice forward Austin Saint narrowed the lead.
Dalton Zemanek gave the Wheat Kings a 3-1 lead by the end of the frame.
After a scoreless second period, Ortman got his second goal to increase Killam’s lead. Marc Ouellette made it 4-2 but that’s as close as Cold Lake would get.
“We weren’t really in it,” said Coach Scott Hood after Game 1.
“We know how Killam is going to play. They’re a good team, they’re going to play hard…I like matching up against them.”
The Wheat Kings won the season-series 3-1 during the year. Each of the Ice’s losses were by one goal, while they’re lone win came on home ice 8-3.
Cold Lake went 8-8 at the Energy Centre this season and with a three-hour bus trip between the two playoff locales, home ice is going to play a major factor in winning the best-of-seven series.
“Definitely. Especially playing these guys. It’s the worst travel for us in the league and they earned it. They get to start at home. Are we going to be tired more? I don’t know. But it’s not an excuse, you play the game. Be ready,” said Hood.
“At this time of year there’s no real coaching or teaching, it’s more or less motivation and hoping that they have the confidence in themselves to play well. We lost 16 games this year so it’s not like we are used to losing, it’s a matter of how you bounce back in the playoffs.”
On Sunday the Ice host Game 3 at the Energy Centre at 5:30pm and Game 4 goes on Tuesday at 8:00pm.
If necessary, the series resumes for Game 5 in Killam next Friday, Feb. 21.
Cold Lake hosts Game 6 on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 8:00pm.
Game 7, if necessary, is Monday, Feb. 24 in Killam.
“Just working hard for full 60, right. It’s a cliche. It’s sticking to our details and our gameplan and not getting frustrated because it’s a different rink to play in, it’s a smaller rink. They’re tailored to that.
“For us it’s rolling four lines to generate offense. We didn’t generate a lot last night, but that’s Game 1.”