With their first month in their new city complete, the Winnipeg ICE have thus far lived up to expectations.
Starting their season with a 3-2 win over Brandon in a very foggy Westoba Place before dropping a close 4-2 decision the next night against Brandon in their home opener, the ICE ignited a rivalry with the Wheat Kings early on. The games were both extremely close and had plenty of fights and physicality. Two Wheat Kings players were kicked out of the games for hits on separate ICE players including one hit that took ICE defenceman Chase Hartje out of action.
The ICE followed that start with an extremely impressive second weekend where they played three games in three days and took five out of the six points with wins in Saskatoon and Regina and an overtime loss to defending WHL champion Prince Albert.
The ICE currently sit 3-1-1 and are tied for first in the East division with the Prince Albert Raiders early in the campaign. The ICE are being led by their impressive top line of Isaac Johnson, Nino Kinder and Michal Teply. As predicted in my season preview, the ICE have had zero problems scoring goals in their first five games with a staggering 19 goals in that span, good for most in the entire Western Hockey League (although Portland has 14 goals in 3 games). The ICE cannot wait to get their captain back and become event more potent offensively.
With 17 goals against, the ICE are hoping goaltender Jesse Makaj gets back as soon as possible to solidify the net. Another impressive aspect has been the play of 16-year-old defenceman Carson Lambos. Lambos has been the best defenceman on the ICE so far and is being played in every situation by Head Coach James Patrick. It can not be stated enough how impressive a feat that is for such a young player. The ICE showed numerous times already that they have enough offence to battle back into games when they are down on the scoreboard.
All in all, a very impressive first month that the ICE are going to be able to build around.
Home: 0 – 1 – 0
Away: 3 – 0 – 1
Overall: 3 – 1 – 1
Goals for: 19
Goals Against: 17
SEPT 20: WPG 3 BDN 2
SEPT 21: BDN 4 WPG 2
SEPT 27: WPG 7 SAS 6
SEPT 28: WPG 2 PA 3 (OT)
SEPT 29: WPG 5 REG 2
Game of the Month
The game of the month for September is the 7-6 win for the ICE over the Blades in Saskatoon on the 27th. The ICE were down 4-1 at one point in the first period before scoring 6 straight goals and hanging on for the win.
Top 3 Scorers
Michal Teply: 5 GP 4 G 3 A 7 P
Nino Kinder: 5 GP 3 G 2 A 5 P
Carson Lambos: 5 GP 2 G 3 A 5 P
In addition to the several cuts made after training camp, the ICE have made the following moves since the end of training camp:
ICE acquire: 2000-born goaltender Dean McNabb ICE trade: 2021 Seventh Round Pick
ICE assign 2001-born defenceman Zac Patrick to the Portage Terriers of the MJHL
ICE assign 2000-born goalie Duncan McGovern to a team to be named later
ICE assign 2004-born forward Conor Geekie to the Yellowhead Chiefs of the Manitoba AAA Midget League.
Highlight of the Month
Was there ever any doubt?
Carson Lambos with this BEAUTY.
CARSON. LAMBOS. Remember that name. pic.twitter.com/nV2YflPqP3
— dylan (@FuelledbyDylan) September 29, 2019
Surprise of the Month
My surprise of the month for September is the play of defenceman Mike Ladyman.
The “Ladies man” has been quite the find for ICE GM Matt Cockell. After scooping him up from the Spokane Chiefs in the summer, the Winnipeg product has been a revelation. Ladyman has shown poise and good puck moving ability in his first five games with his hometown team. Ladyman has picked up 3 assists in 5 games and is currently second in scoring on the ICE blue line to this point in the young season.
One play that stood out to me so far was when ICE forward Isaac Johnson tried to flip the puck from behind the net and bat the puck in himself. It was very close to being the play of the year.
Performance of the Month
The performance of the month goes to German forward Nino Kinder.
Kinder scored three goals on eight shots in the September 27th win against the Saskatoon Blades. Kinder was all over the ICE and had numerous chances to score. The slick German forward has been incredibly impressive so far this season.
Player of the Month
This one was close. As much as I wanted to give it to Lambos, my player of the month for September is Michal Teply.
What a spectacular debut for the Czech import. Seven points in his first 5 games in the Western Hockey League is unbelievable; especially when four of those points are goals. He has been absolutely lethal for the ICE in the early part of the season. He’s been a dominant force on the Powerplay and has commanded plenty of attention from other teams. His shot is likely top 5 in the entire WHL, if not higher. If not for a few posts, he could have even more goals. We’ll see if the league is able to solve him.
The Home Opener was a fantastic experience. Tickets are relatively cheap, so bring your family, bring a friend and come and support the Winnipeg ICE! Plus, you can see potential NHL Superstars in Carson Lambos and Matt Savoie. Go see the ICE play in Wayne Fleming Arena!