It was a homecoming to remember for Simon Nemethy and Booker Daniel.
The dynamic duo from Vanderhoof paced the Kootenay Ice to a 5-3 win over the Cariboo Cougars on Sunday from Kin 1.
Both players scored a combined three goals and two assists to propel the visitors to a split against the team that cut them last spring.
The accomplishment was extra-special not just because they played in front of friends and family, but they have also been playing together since novice and are best of friends on and off the ice.
“I thought we we’re really going and moving our feet and supporting each other constantly, everything was going good and I am just happy how we all scored,” says Nemethy.
“Booker always finishes and he always gives you that extra push as he is quick with the puck and drives to the net so he is always ready to score,”
The Ice lead by four goals at one point in the third period only to surrender a pair of late markers to Brandon Dent and Hunter Floris.
The outcome wraps a lacklustre weekend for the Cougars, drawing the ire of Head Coach Tyler Brough.
“We couldn’t have stressed it anymore that they were going to come in and work hard and not to look at the standings and we see what they were coming in with as far as their roster because we knew this, to get the effort that we did with the group we have is super frustrating and we have to rectify it or our season will come to an end in the first round of the playoffs.”
The major-midget Cats bench boss didn’t pull any punches with his veteran core consisting of third-year players Mason Richey and Hunter Floris as well as lamenting on how Daniel and Nemethy showed them up at home.
“There are five or six guys on that roster from our region and the both of them came in with authority and they showed up for a reason to show us we’re wrong and on the other side of it, our guys need to show that we’re right. Right now I’m not seeing enough of it and we have to fix it and we have to fix it fast.”
“We are challenging our top players now and this is the time of year that we need them – we’re working down the stretch for first place and as much as we can tell these guys that a lot of people didn’t put us there, we are there now – we need the effort from our top guys whether we are playing Kootenay, Fraser Valley or Valley West. Any of those teams that show up to work, our top guys need to be ready to go.”
Ryan Buchan suffered the loss in goal for Cariboo who remain in a dog fight for first overall in the BCMML with the Valley West Hawks who beat the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds 5-3.
On Saturday, Cariboo won the opener by a 5-1 margin receiving three-point games from Tanner Bahm and Max Arnold.
Marcus Allen made the 36 saves in the victory.
The major-midget club hosted a Heroes Night honouring the city’s first responders and wore the franchise’s 2004-2005 Cariboo Canucks jerseys honouring the team’s first year of existence in the BCMML.
The Cougars now finish off their regular season schedule with six straight road games against Fraser Valley, VNW Giants and the Okanagan Rockets.
After the game, Cariboo announced its first home playoff date is slated for March 16.