Congratulations to the Kootenay Ice for a post-season run that was one for the ages.
At Portland, Ore., the Ice knocked off the highly favoured Portland Winterhawks 4-1 in Game 5 of the WHL's best-of-seven championship series, winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup. As league champions, the Ice will represent the WHL at the upcoming Memorial Cup in Mississauga, Ont., May 19-29.
The trip will be Kootenay's third to the four-team, national championship, with the franchise having won WHL titles in 2000 (beating Spokane 4-2) and 2002 (beating Red Deer 4-2). In 2002, the Ice claimed national supremacy, smashing Victoriaville (QMJHL) 6-3 in the championship game.
On Friday night, Steele Boomer scored the first of four unanswered goals by the visiting Ice, lighting the lamp at 15:47 of the first period after the host Winterhawks got on the scoreboard just two minutes after the opening faceoff. From there, Matt Fraser, with two goals — at 19:16 of the second period and 14:15 of the third — and Jesse Ismond, with an empty-net goal, also scored for the Ice.
Tyler Wotherspoon, at 2:26 of the opening frame, replied for Portland, which was outshot 40-27. Mac Carruth made 36 saves for the Winterhawks, while Nathan Lieuwen turned aside 26 shots for the Ice.
Kootenay was 1-for-2 on the power play, while Portland was 0-for-2. The three stars were Fraser plus a pair of Portland 20-year-olds, who have now graduated from junior hockey, Craig Cunningham and Tayler Jordan.
FYI: When it comes to writing, it's much like law in that there's the spirit of the law and the letter of the law. For example, travelling 52 km/h in a 50 km/h zone is technically speeding, but no police officer, or judge in appeal, would write such a ticket.
With the Kootenay Ice, there's much confusion over the singular-yet-plural nickname. I see some writers/bloggers refer to Ice as a singular object, such as the Ice HAS won the WHL championship series. That's letter-of-the-law writing. And it's wrong. In almost every sports case, the Ice is a team object, identical in spirit to Blazers, Giants, Pats or Blades and is not singular, and therefore should be written as thus: The Ice HAVE won the WHL championship series.