The Chase Heat is out out of the playoffs, but not for lack of effort.
One win, two overtime losses and two straight, single-goal defeats – that’s how the Heat went down fighting in the KIJHL semifinals versus the 100 Mile House Wranglers.
Game one in the series, in Chase on Feb. 25, ended in a 5-4 overtime win for the guests from the Cariboo. The Heat kept Wrangler netminder Kristian Stead hopping throughout the night with 53 shots on net.
Two of the resulting four goals were by Connor Venne, with a first-period marker off Nicholas Fidanza and Kurtis Johnson, and an early third-period goal assisted by Trevor Okino and Fidanza.
Chad Wilde chipped in the Heat’s second marker minutes after Venne’s first-period goal, and Braden Hughes potted the home team’s final goal of the night at 7:10 in the third period off Alex Durbeniuk and Cody Koskimaki.
Game 2, played Feb. 26 in Chase, saw the home team’s single win, a 4-3 victory involving a hat trick by Kaleb Boyle, with singles in all three frames. The first two were assisted by Cody Hodges and Wesley Matsuda, the third by Venne and Okino. Chase’s fourth goal, scored by Okino in the first frame, was assisted by Zac Hoskins and Koskimaki. Jacob Mattes, working behind the crease for the Heat, stopped 43 out of 46 shots on net.
The Heat were in 100 Mile on Feb. 28 for Game 3, where the Wranglers earned a 5-4 OT win in a game that could easily have gone either way. Boyle was first to light up the board with a first period power-play conversion assisted by Buddy Summers and Venne. Summers did the same near the end of the frame, assisted by Okino and Venne. Jordan Passmore and Chad Wilde added goals three and four midway through the second period, with Travis Churchill assisting the former and Koskimaki the latter.
Game 4, played March 1 in 100 Mile, saw the Wranglers chill the Heat with a 5-3 win. The Heat came out strong in the first, but couldn’t find the back of the net. In the second period, Boyle potted an early power-play marker assisted by Koskimaki and Matsuda. Johnson added a second goal for Chase late in the period, assisted by Passmore and Churchill. The frame ended with 100 Mile ahead 4-2. Kolton Moore made that 4-3 early in the third period, assisted by Okino and Churchill. A late goal by 100 Mile’s Robert Orrey sealed the home team’s win.
Game 5, Chase’s last stand, was back at the Art Holding Memorial Arena on March 3. Despite equal opportunities on net in the first period, only the Wranglers were able to ripple the mesh – twice. The Heat dominated the second frame, with goals by Summers and Moore taking away the visitors’ advantage. Both teams rocked hard in the third frame, with 100 Mile breaking the tie at the halfway mark. By the last five minutes of the period, both teams were pouring everything they had left in them to earn the win. At 1:11, the Wranglers scored an empty netter, with the final goal of the night scored at :17 by Koskimaki, assisted by Johnson.
On the night of his hat trick, Boyle, the Heat’s co-captain, was awarded the Doug Birks Division Leading Scorer Award.
He finished regular season play with 37 goals and 74 points.
In the playoffs, he earned five goals and six points.