The Chase Heat solidified their second-place position in the KIJHL’s Doug Birks Division with a pair of wins on the second to last weekend of regular season play.
Both weekend games were in front of the home crowd at the Art Holding Memorial Arena and fans enjoyed their Valentine’s gift from the victorious team.
The Heat were first on the scoreboard in their Friday, Feb. 14 game against the Princeton Posse, scoring just over three minutes after the opening face off. The Posse tied the game one-all a few minutes later. Chase’s Danton L’Heureux got the puck during a power play late in the period and gave the Heat the lead again with a goal to end the first period.
The second period passed scoreless as did much of the third with the Heat fending off the Posse’s attempts to tie the game. Princeton pulled their goalie and sent out an extra skater with just over two minutes to go but it didn’t pay off for them. Brandon Gremaud scored on the empty net with 40 seconds to play, finishing a 3-1 Heat win.
The following night with the Sicamous Eagles in town, the Heat let in two goals in the first before answering with a marker from Rhys Lepine late in the period. A pair of Eagles goals early in the second put them up 4-1, making a runaway win for the visitors seem like a definite possibility.
The Heat found their groove immediately after the fourth Eagles goal, making it 4-2 off the stick of Gavin Mattey seconds after they were scored on.
The home team strung together four more goals before the second period was over, making it a 6-4 game in the Heat’s favour after 40 minutes. A scoreless third period assured this one would go in the books as a win for the Heat.
The Heat will host the Eagles again on Feb. 21 before taking on the Storm in Kamloops to end the regular season the following night.
With the Revelstoke Grizzlies uncatchable in first place and the Storm outpacing the Eagles for the division’s last playoff berth, the first-round playoff bracket is set.
The Heat will be taking on the third-place 100 Mile House Wranglers in the first round. The Wranglers took the first two games when they faced the Heat this season but the Chase squad found their groove against the Cariboo cowboys, winning the next three match-ups. The teams’ most recent meeting on Jan. 14 ended in a tie, leaving an unsettled score that will be resolved beginning Friday, Feb. 28 in Chase.