The Winnipeg ICE were in tough to begin last week. They played two home games to start things against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The ‘Canes are in second place in the Central Division, and many expect them to contend for a league title come the end of the season.
The ICE, however, proved they weren’t going to be an easy team to play against. On Wednesday, the ICE beat the Hurricanes 4-3 in a shootout. An 8-2 loss against Lethbridge on Friday put a sour taste in Winnipeg’s mouth, but they didn’t have to wait long for redemption.
They were right back on the ice on Saturday as they welcomed the Swift Current Broncos to town.
In the contest, Dean McNabb made 21 saves to record the shutout as the ICE beat the lowly Broncos 4-0. So after a three-game week, Winnipeg earned four of a possible six points — certainly not a bad feat.
“When the game gets down to the last 10 minutes and you haven’t given up a goal yet, we definitely wanted to get that shutout for Nabber,” said Jackson Leppard, courtesy of winnipegice.ca. “We did that, and he played really good as well. It was a team effort.”
Leading up to their trip south of the border which begins on November 16, the club will play four games through Remembrance Day. Things get started tomorrow evening when they welcome the Red Deer Rebels to town for the first time this season.
They then make a quick trip to Moose Jaw on Friday to challenge the Warriors before returning home on Saturday to host Regina.
On Monday, they’ll play the Brandon Wheat Kings at Westoba Place as the “Battle of Manitoba” continues for the first time in more than 30 years.
Jackson Leppard, a native of North Vancouver, was acquired from the Prince George Cougars on October 20. He started his season by scoring a goal with the Cougars who are 4-11-0-1.
Since arriving in Manitoba’s capital, Leppard has certainly hit his stride. Playing in five games, Jackson already has three goals, and he’s added two assists as well. One of the goals came in that 4-0 win against Swift Current over the weekend.
“Yeah, I’m feeling pretty good. Our lines have been changing, but you just have to stay simple and play your game and good things will happen,” continued Leppard. “We have a whole lot of skilled guys on our team, and the points are coming.”
Leppard was originally taken in the first round, eighth overall, in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft. That was after he had an 89 point season with the North Shore WC Bantam team.
Jackson and the ICE are 8-6-1 as they begin play this week. Their 17 points have them in the third spot in the East Division.
A big topic around the Winnipeg ICE is what some players are doing on the international stage.
Both Carson Lambos and Matthew Savoie are representing the country as they suit up for Team White at the World Under-17 Challenge in both Medicine Hat and Swift Current.
In their first game against Canada Black, Lambos and Savoie chipped in with a combined five points in a 6-5 overtime loss. Savoie led things with three assists and Lambos had two.
Back in Winnipeg, the ICE are led offensively by 2019 CHL Import pick Michal Teply. He has five goals and eight assists for 13 points and a team-high 57 shots. Those 57 shots are 10 more than any other ICE player; Connor McClennon has 47. Ironically enough, Connor is also second in team scoring with 11 points.
Winnipeg has been fuelled overall by a trio of rookies. Teply is on top of that list and Carson Lambos is just behind with his 10 points. Nino Kinder checks in with eight points.
Saturday’s shutout from McNabb was the ICE franchise’s first shutout victory on home ice since October 8, 2018, against the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Duncan McGovern, who now plays with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Dauphin Kings, made 45 saves on that night in front of 2,133 fans at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook.
Nolan Orzeck had the game-winning assist in that game against Medicine Hat.
Over the weekend, he had the game-winning goal against Swift Current.
Next week, we’ll chat with a member of the ICE leading up to their first extended road trip of the season, as they roll into Everett, Portland, Tri-City, Seattle, and Spokane.