Icehawks defeat West Central
While the Prince Albert Icehawks will enjoy a nice Christmas holiday, the timing of the two-week break comes at an inopportune time.
The Icehawks enter the holiday hiatus as one of the hottest teams in the Prairie Junior Hockey League as a 6-4 triumph over the West Central Rage on Sunday at the Kinsmen Arena extended their point-streak to six games.
That recent run of success, which includes five wins and an overtime loss, improves the Icehawks’ record to 9-14-2 and leaves them just two points from escaping the North Division basement. Prince Albert head coach Kim Dryka says the month of December has been good to them.
“It’s been a good December; we got 11 of 14 points and could have had 12 if not for that game against the Westley’s,” said Dryka in reference to Friday’s game where they had a two-goal lead with just over a minute to go and eventually lost in overtime.
“They are starting to believe in themselves and starting to play the new system,” added Dryka.
When the Icehawks were mired in an 11-game losing streak earlier this year, Dryka says he and his coaching staff changed things up a bit. He feels those changes are finally starting to pay off.
“We are forechecking a little differently,” says Dryka. “We aren’t getting caught in as many odd-man situations.”
On Sunday, the Icehawks burst out of the gate scoring the first three goals, but West Central battled back and it wasn’t until Lucas Anseth scored into an empty net in the final minute that victory was a certainty.
Brett Boyer, the Icehawks leading scorer, had two goals and an assist to move into the overall scoring lead in the entire league. Boyer now has 30 goals and 20 assists in 24 games to move one point ahead of Tucker Neuberger of the Southern Rebels.
Jordon Harasyn also had a pair of markers for the Icehawks with the other goal coming off the stick of Brennan Boruch. Darian Clarke turned in his best performance of the year assisting on five goals while Brent Bremner also had a strong game with three helpers.
Tyler Gordon was spectacular in the Prince Albert net stopping 36 shots while the Icehawks directed 29 blasts at the West Central net.
Prince Albert returns to action on Jan. 6 when they will host the division-leading Saskatoon Royals at the Kinsmen Arena. That game will be the first of four in a row at home to start the New Year and Dryka hopes his club can continue with the improved play.
“We want to make sure everyone goes and enjoys the holidays, but we also want them to be ready to go in a week and half,” noted Dryka.
With 15 games left on the schedule, the Icehawks still have a lot of work to do, but what they accomplished in December certainly has them feeling a lot better about themselves.