Two leading men whose stars have shown brightly led the Heat to success this past weekend.
In a pair of matchups in a tight early season division, the Chase puck stoppers were show stoppers. Dylan Barton and Vince Benedetto both earned game stars for virtuoso performances between the pipes.
In the first contest, the Kamloops Storm visited the crowded Art Holding Memorial Arena on Friday the 18th. Thirty-five minutes separate the two teams, old Memorial Arena in Kamloops to the Chaos Castle in Chase. However, the Heat wanted to create distance in the point standings, and letting the cat out of the bag, they accomplished that goal. Taking care of business and turning things around started less then five minutes in, when Hayden Wiebe from Brandon Gremaud scored on a breakaway, shorthanded while killing a penalty.
Nine minutes in Matthew Poole from Gavin Mattey and Evan Hughes fired in a power-play tally. The Storm got their only counter of the contest to make it 2-1 after 20.
In the 2nd, neither team could get a puck through the blue, across the red line and against the twine, and it remained 2-1 after 40. In the 3rd, the red light flashed a trio of times, with Breckin Erichuk on the man advantage from Poole and Hughes, then Mattey on the power play from Erichuk and Hughes. The final counter was the second shorthanded goal of the match, Haden Nordick with a flashy end-to-end rush assisted by Brett Alexander. The power play popped in three goals while the penalty killing units scored a pair while denying six Kamloops opportunities. This one ended in a 5-1 win for the Heat. Dylan Barton stopped 22 of 23, earning a .957 save percentage and star of the game in a very solid performance.
Saturday night the 19th, the Heat faced the Grizzlies in the Revelstoke Forum. The Grizzlies are the defending KIJHL champs and have reloaded for another run at the top prize. In the 1st, Captain Cam Watson hammered a shot from the point to score the opener, assisted by Garrick Ward and Jayden Russell. The bears got that one back and it was 1-1 after 1. In the 2nd, Mattey scored the Heat’s second goal on the man advantage from Watson and Poole. The Stoke crew equaled that with a power-play tally, and after two it was 2-2.
In the 3rd period there was no scoring, in spite of 16 attempts by the Grizzlies.
After 60 minutes it was 2-2 and each team received a point for the regulation tie, but this contest was not over. In sudden death four-on-four overtime, the Heat started with Hughes in the penalty box for the first 1:40. The penalty was killed and soon enough, Revelstoke received a four-minute penalty for a spear. This contest ended at 1:13 of the 1st overtime with Erichuk popping in a power-play counter from Watson and Poole.
Chase earned an extra point in the standings for the win, and Vince Bennedetto earned game star and a .967 save percentage denying 59 of 61 shots in paving the way for success.