Less than a month of hockey finds the Chase Heat after 9 games with only a single point from a tie. The demoralizing demons have surfaced with the players, the fans are scratching heads in frustration and the staff will be purchasing used parts faster than a junk yard maestro.
The Heat early on find the franchise in a less than desired historic hole. The veterans are squeezing carbon fibre out of their twigs, timely saves are missing, the power play looks like the Keystone Cops, and injuries are decimating the core of the roster. Not much else could go sideways; the optimist would conclude that the only direction to go is up, and they are correct.
The players can conquer the turbulent seas, the fans need to stay on the bandwagon and staff need to analyze, dissect, experiment and formulate a plan to arrive at a successful conclusion. But all involved must also be patient as good things come to those who wait. It will take time.
Crippled by a lack of billet beds, injuries and a suspension, fielding a competitive team is almost impossible. The bed crisis has been solved and that means fresh faces will arrive, injuries will heal, and the result will be competition for every position on the ice.
This past week, the Heat met the 100 Mile House Wranglers in a two-game home-and- home clash. Wednesday the 3rd, the Heat motored to Wrangler Nation, where 500 fans watched the home side squeak out a 3-0 win.
Squeak? Yes, it was for the most part a close game. 100 Mile got one in the first, no scoring in the second and the game was in question until 2:25 left in the final period when an empty net goal was scored. The Heat had mounted a tremendous effort to win this one but fell just short.
There was tremendous goal-tending at both ends, with Geoff Drought stopping 29 of 31 shots from the Heat; however, the sticks of the Chase boys couldn’t get one of their 25 attempts past the opposition goalie. Drought was one of two stars of the game and deserved the honour.
The home game on Friday, Oct. 5 was played in front of a so-so crowd, who was looking for a successful foray. Once again the opposition was first to score and after 20 minutes had a 1-0 lead.
In the second, Captain Cam Watson scored off an assist from Garrick Ward. However, 100 Mile popped in a pair of goals and after 40 minutes it was 3-1.
The lads didn’t quit but a pair of counters in the third gave the Wranglers a 5-1 win. The Heat went 0-10 on the anemic power play, which didn’t help the cause.
Next up is a home-and-home series versus the Sicamous Eagles. Chase travels to the Houseboat Capital on Friday, Oct. 12, and the soaring birds arrive in Chase Saturday for a 7 p.m. matchup.
BITS and PIECES
Fred Pittendreigh, owner of the 2007-10 Chase Chiefs was honoured in a pre-game ceremony. The long-reigning former president of Chase Minor Hockey brought Junior Hockey to Chase. A bold move to make in a small franchise location, Fred took a chance that it would work. After three years the Chiefs transferred to Kelowna, and a group of hockey hounds put together a society and went after another franchise, the Chase Heat. From the ashes of the Chiefs to the hottest product on cool ice, the Heat are now in their ninth year on ice. Fred received a commemorative framed copy of the banner that will grace the walls of Art Holding Memorial Arena. See you at the rink this season!