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Little things keep killing Kootenay Ice

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
November 2nd, 2010

By Bruce Fuhr,
The Nelson Daily Sports

It’s the little mistakes that are killing the Kootenay Ice.

The Vancouver Northeast Chiefs pounced on those mini blunders to pull off a B.C. Hockey Major Midget League sweep of the Ice over the weekend at the NDCC Arena.

The seventh-place Chiefs started the two-game set by outlasting the Ice 7-5 Saturday. Sunday, Vancouver scored six times in the second period to thump Kootenay 8-3.

“Believe it or not, (I feel) we’re not far off,” said Ice head coach Simon Wheeldon, still holding out hope for his 2-9-1 team.

“I cannot sit here and say, today or last night, we got out played,” added the former Nelson Leafs coach. “What seems to be the biggest thing is that we keep finding ways to lose.”

Despite being outscored 8-2 in the final 40 minutes, Wheeldon continues to see signs of hope in his team. Through 12 games Kootenay has seen one period, one play or one missed assignment prove be the difference on more than one occasion.

Those losses are starting to take a toll on the mental state of the players.

“Somehow I have to get the mentality through to them it’s not how to find ways to lose, it’s finding ways to win,” Wheeldon explained.

Sunday, the Ice grabbed a 1-0 lead after one period on a goal by Nelson’s Carsen Willans, and could have been up by more than the single goal has the forwards converted just a few of the many chances.

Those missed opportunities cost the Ice huge as Vancouver exploded for four goals in 10 minutes to start the middle frame.

Kootenay’s Luke Bertolucci of Trail tried to keep the home side close, scoring a pair of goals. But a shorthanded marker by Michael Scobie that dribbled between the pads of starting goalie Christian Pickles spelled the end of Pickles and the Ice.

Vancouver scored two more goals before the period ended before adding another pair in the third to win convincingly. Scobie and Matthew Bissett each scored twice to lead the Chiefs.

“Another thing is we just give pucks away,” Wheeldon said. “Of the eight goals (Vancouver scored Sunday), one was scored by hard work while the other seven, we gave them the puck (before they scored).”

Saturday, Vancouver held period leads of 2-1 and 5-3 en route to the win. Bissett once again led the Chiefs, finishing, along with Adam Rockwood, with two points.

Castlegar’s Quinn Klimchuk, with a pair, Jake Lucchini of Trail, Dryden Hunt of Nelson and Paulsen Lautard of Castlegar replied for Kootenay.

“I can never complain about the work ethic (of this team),” Wheeldon admitted. “Should I bench a guy because he makes a mistake . . . no, he’s not trying to make a mistake? I’ll bench a guy because he doesn’t work or because he doesn’t listen. And I really believe this is a good crew and they just have to learn.”

The Ice has little time to right the wrongs as the squad travels to Burnaby Saturday to face the 9-2-1 Vancouver Northwest Giants.

The Giants are third in the 11-team league, three points behind leading Greater Vancouver Canadians.

Next home game is November 13-14 when tenth-place Kootenay hosts the Fraser Valley Bruins at the Cominco Arena in Trail.


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