The season of learning continues for the Coulee Region Chill and second-year head coach Ryan Egan. This past weekend the Chill dropped two games to Midwest Division opponents, coming away victorious in just one. They did, however, put up another strong fight.
For the second time this season the Chill traveled down to Springfield to take on the Jr. Blues, a divisional series that takes place three times throughout the season. The first series of the season took place in the middle of November and ended in a 1-1 split.
This time around the first-of-two games kicked off last Thursday night. The Chill got off to a quick start, scoring three unanswered goals in the first 21:25 of the game with Nick Bowman (Connor Szmul, Andy McGlynn), McGlynn (Logan Kon, Collin Price), and Louis Helson (Hunter Canestra) all finding twine.
After taking a 3-0 lead nothing else went right for the Chill who went 0-5 on the power play for the night. Springfield went on to score five times – once with an empty net – to take home the game one win. Chill goalie Josh Graziano saved 36/40 shots.
Friday night the scoreboard flipped. Marshal Plunkett (Matt Hines, Szmul) gave the Chill one in the first to keep pace with Springfield’s two while Connor Zilisch (Zetterquist, Sam Dabrowski), along with a goal from Hunter Canestra (McGlynn, Hines), gave the Chill a 4-3 lead going into the third period. Hines (Plunkett, Dabrowski) scored the insurance goal and put an end to any Jr. Blues comeback with an empty netter with just 24 seconds remaining. Zetterquist got his revenge on the Jr. Blues in this one ending the night with 32/35 saves and an assist.
The weekend wasn’t done in Springfield. The Chill took the long bus ride home Friday night for a contest against the Kenai River Brown Bears Saturday night. Price (Hines) clearly didn’t feel the effects of a long bus ride from the night before, scoring just 26 seconds in.
Kenai River scored the next two goals, taking a 2-1 lead into the final period. Tyler Ebner (Nick Lund) tied the game with just over six minutes left but the Brown Bears took the lead back 11 seconds later.
With under two minutes left, Zetterquist left the ice to give the Chill a man advantage. Kenai River took advantage and scored on the empty net. Price (Bailey Martin, Zilisch) scored for the second time on the night to bring the Chill within one again but it would be too little, too late.
Zetterquist saved 37/40 shots on the night.
The Chill find themselves just two games away from Christmas break, hosting the Fairbanks Ice Dogs Friday and Saturday night at the Green Island Ice Arena. After that they’ll have time to reflect on the first half of the season and refocus for a strong second half push.