Ice freezing critics

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:48 AM ET

Jeff Glass is used to getting respect the old fashioned way.

He's had to earn it -- all season long.

Even as a member of Canada's world junior entry, the questions were always there.

Glass proved there was no chink in the armour as he backstopped the powerful Canucks to the gold medal.

And, if anyone expected a world-junior hangover from the 'tender, they're still waiting.

Glass' Kootenay Ice hasn't lost in regulation time since New Year's Eve -- a span of 22 games.

The Calgary Hitmen nearly ended Kootenay's extraordinary run Saturday night but Ice forward Dale Mahovsky, co-winner of WHL player-of-the-week honours, scored with 5.7 seconds left in regulation to keep the streak alive.

"Tonight was ugly," Glass said after the game. "It's not something we want to do a lot of but we grinded it out and got a point."

Glass' season has mirrored that of the Ice.

No one gave Kootenay much of a chance in '04-05. Most pre-season polls pegged the Ice to miss the playoffs.

That lack of respect gave the B.C. club a lot of motivation, said Glass.

"That's fuelled our fire all year long," said Glass, a Cochrane product. "We have a lot of fun with it every night.

"The Hitmen are one of the teams that was supposed to be first in the league and we were supposed to be last.

"To come out tonight and play like we did against them, it feels pretty good."

The Ice hasn't just locked up its seventh consecutive post-season berth, it's now the top-ranked team in the WHL and second in the country.

Sniper Nigel Dawes, who picked up player-of-the-week honours last Monday, said his club is now getting the respect it deserves.

"It was the same last year and we made the playoffs," said Dawes, tops in the league with a dozen game winners. "But we're not coming through the back door.

"We work hard every night and every time you do that, you give yourself a chance."

It's no coincidence the Ice caught fire once its two most important players -- Glass and Dawes -- returned to the fold.

"Nigel and I work well together and we have a lot of fun," said Glass, who is 14-2-2 since winning the gold medal. "We have little jokes, he scores goals, I stop them and we win hockey games. But we're getting contributions from everyone and I think that's more important than anything. As long as we stay healthy down the stretch, we'll be fine."

Dawes (38 goals in 52 games), whose Ice has 11 games remaining, including a pair against the Hitmen, has an outside shot at cracking the 50-goal barrier for the first time in his WHL career. But the diminutive superstar agreed with Glass, saying his squad isn't built around the success of a few.

"I think the team was playing well when we weren't there," Dawes said. "We just came in and kind of filled some voids.

"We all know our roles and everyone is chipping in.

"We don't get our scoring from just one line, everyone contributes."

HONOURED AGAIN: Calgarian Ryan Stone is at it again. For the second time this season, the Brandon Wheat Kings star was named Greyhound WHL player of the week.

Stone, who had a pair of four-point games, shared the honour with Kootenay's Dale Mahovsky.


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