CALGARY, AB -- All season, Max Reinhart has been counted on to provide timely offensive contributions and he's rarely failed to rise to the occasion.
On Tuesday night, he once again came up big for his team, posting four assists in the Kootenay Ice's 5-4 OT thriller against the Saint John Sea Dogs.
The must-win game showcased Reinhart's evolving offensive prowess, particularly on the game-winning tally.
The puck rolled along the boards and cleared the zone but Reinhart pounced on the loose puck and carried it through the offensive zone. He dished it off to linemate Matt Fraser, who in turn beat Sea Dogs netminder Mathieu Corbeil-Theriault with a low shot to end the game.
Saint John adamantely argued the play was offside but to no avail. Reinhart just shrugged when asked about the controversial call.
"I was just going as hard as I could. I had my head up and the puck was on my stick. I was able to get it down to Fraser and he made a great shot," he told the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. "I don't care. We're going to the next round."
Reinhart and Fraser were both held off the scoreboard in the Ice's first two games at the Memorial Cup. Fraser believes the duo will be able to build off their outstanding game against the Sea Dogs.
"We tried to change our mentality. Instead of always worrying about the goals, (we tried) to worry about creating open space for each other and working like that. It was a good play by Max on both my goals, and now our job is to keep it going."
Reinhart has had a tremendous 2010-11 season with the Ice. In 71 regular season games, the 19 year-old notched 34 goals and 79 points. His offensive contributions didn't hinder play in his own end and he ended the season with a +30 rating.
He shone in the WHL playoffs, scoring 15 goals and 27 points in 19 games. He tied a WHL record during the Eastern Conference finals when he scored five goals in a 7-2 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers. For his efforts, he was named the WHL Player of the Week at the beginning of May.
Afterwards, he modestly deflected any praise to simply being in the moment.
"Any time you get five goals, it's not so much the style of game that's being played - it's more just you're having one of those nights," Reinhart told the Kimberley Daily Bulletin. "It just seems like everything is going in for you. I was just lucky enough to be in the right place a couple of times."
The Ice will take on the winner of the Owen Sound-Mississauga game, played on Wednesday night, in a tie-breaker match that will send the winners to semi-final on Friday.