Friday’s game between the Kootenay Ice and Prince Albert Raiders was one that Curtis Meger and Ian Scott were looking forward to.
The encounter between the two sides at the Art Hauser Centre marked a chance for the former teammates to square off against one another, as Meger went between the pipes for the Ice and Scott was the starting netminder for the Raiders.
“It was super weird being in the other dressing room and being on the visiting bench,” Meger said. “With that said, the evening was everything that I expected to be and more.
“Obviously it’s a bit different when you look over and see him wearing a jersey other than ours,” Scott added. “We were both pretty excited about the chance to play against one another and it was a great game.”
Although Scott would have the upper hand as he stopped all 21 shots he faced in a 4-0 Raiders victory, Meger’s play helped to keep the Ice in the game.
The 20-year-old Regina product made 26 saves during the contest and was able to stymie former teammate Parker Kelly on multiple occasions.
“He came by and gave me a tap after I made the blocker save on the two-on-one rush they had in the second period,” Meger said. “He probably should have scored on me just before that on a shot that went high on my glove side, so I guess I had a little bit of puck karma going my way.
“It was a lot of fun to play against those guys and the atmosphere here made it a great night. I also got to hear my name being chanted by the fans in the second period, so that was pretty cool.”
After being the odd man out in the battle for the three overage spots on the Raiders roster, Meger began the season with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Lloydminster Bobcats.
He posted a 4-13-0 record with the team and had a 4.19 goals against average with a .887 save percentage before getting the chance to join the Ice in early January.
“There wasn’t really a lot of options in the WHL after I got cut here, so I took an opportunity to play in Lloydminster and I felt like I did pretty well there, despite our team having a bit of a tough season,” Meger said.
“Kootenay took notice of me and everything came together pretty quickly. They called me on Jan. 7 and I spent the night thinking things over before I made the drive to Cranbrook the following day.”
Meger has made eight appearances for the Ice and has a 1-6-0 record with a 4.52 goals against average and a .865 save percentage.
It’s been an interesting situation that Meger has found himself in for his final stop in his junior hockey career, as the Ice will be moving to Winnipeg at the end of the season.
“We’ve really just taken things with a day-by-day approach and have tried to get better in every practice and every game,” Meger said.
“Even with everything that’s gone on, we’ve all come in to work and focused on what we need to do. The playoffs aren’t in the cards for us this year, but we’re all doing what we can to get the team in a better spot ahead of next season.”
While he mulls over a few U Sports options for the 2019-20 campaign, Meger will be making a few trips to the Art Hauser Centre during the playoffs as he watches his friends and former teammates battle it out for a WHL title.
“Being a Raider and being able to learn from guys like Ian and Rylan Parenteau was huge for my career,” Meger said.
“It’s an awesome organization and I’m really excited to see how they do in the playoffs.”