The Winnipeg ICE capped off a strong weekend of play with their second overtime win in as many days from the Wayne Fleming Arena on the University of Manitoba campus Saturday evening, beating the Kamloops Blazers 5-4.
After topping the visiting Regina Pats 3-2 in extra time Friday evening, the ICE relied on another overtime effort Saturday. Recent Czech Republic World Junior camp invitee Michal Teply scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season just 1:12 into the extra frame, to give Winnipeg a 5-4 victory and four points in its last 24 hours.
A scoreless opening period was not indicative of the overall gameplay Saturday, as the ICE actually outshot the Blazers 10-8 in the game’s first 20 minutes, before falling behind 26-23 through 40 minutes of play. It was in the middle stanza, however, in which the ICE fell asleep, letting Kamloops strike three times as goals by Josh Pillar and Zane Franklin (X2) gave the visitors a substantial lead heading into the third period.
But even before the halfway point in the third frame the ICE had clawed back with three-straight tallies. After Ben Zloty scored a power play marker two minutes into the period, Winnipeg product Carson Lambos found the twine for his fifth goal of the season. Jakin Smallwood then collected his eighth before Kamloops woke up to bring the score back to 4-3 for the Blazers on Orrin Centazzo’s 15th of the year.
Connor McLennon came up big with just over one-and-a-half minutes to play, tying the game on a great setup from Teply and Nino Kinder. Teply then wasted little time in the extra frame, beating Dylan Garand on a great Isaac Johnson feed from behind the net on Winnipeg’s 37th shot of the game.
Johnson and Reece Harsch collected two assists apiece, while Teply and McClennon registered a goal and an assist each, while goaltender Liam Hughes made 32 stops on 36 Kamloops shots on the evening.
Winnipeg’s back-to-back wins helped the team leapfrog the 14-13-1-2 Saskatoon Blades into second place in the WHL’s East Division. Now boasting a 17-11-1 record through 29 games, the ICE will look to keep things rolling on Wednesday as the Kelowna Rockets come to town for a 7:30 PM central showdown at The Flem.