After six years of putting the building blocks together, the Heat found the right 23 players and with excellent coaching from Brad Fox, have won their first Doug Birks Division regular season championship.
With five games remaining in the regular season, they clinched the title versus last year’s Western Canadian Champs, the 100 Mile House Wranglers.
The first round of playoffs commences on Friday the 24th at the Art Holding Memorial Arena versus the Revelstoke Grizzlies. Game 2 is Saturday night, the 25th, then the series shifts to Revelstoke for games 3 and 4 on the 27th and 28th. If necessary, game 5 would be Thursday, March 2 in Chase, then March 3 in Revelstoke for game 6 before returning to Chase for game 7 on Saturday, March 4.
Three hundred and five fans filled Art Holding Memorial Arena on Friday the 10th to watch the Heat snatch a 3-2 victory versus the 100 Mile House Wranglers.
Pat Brady from Kolten Moore and Evan Hughes opened scoring in the first. In the second, Zachary Fournier found the back of the net assisted by Kaden Black and Spencer Farstad. Then 100 Mile got a pair from Ryan Friesen and Stephen Egan to tie up the game.
In the third, Brett Alexander scored a thriller assisted by Grady Musgrave and Landon Russell. Nic Bruyere stopped 49 of 51 shots to backstop the monumental outcome – division champs!
The Heat hopped aboard the diesel pusher and travelled to Revelstoke on Saturday the 11th to face the Grizzlies. This event was the Travis Beaubien Night as he led his team to a 5-3 win on the road.
In the first, it was Beaubien from Musgrave to make the bears grouchy. In the second, Jordan Rea got the Stoke even at 1-1. In the third, Beaubien scored on the power play from Michael Fidanza and Cody Hodges. Then Moore scored a beauty from Beaubien and Hodges. But Revelstoke fought back, first Jon Vandermolen on the power play and then Tommy Bodtker. Not to be outdone, Josh Bourne from Moore and Fidanza placed the puck in the foes net, and the icing on the cake was a final tally from Black assisted by Farstad and Fournier.
A 5-3 win on the road versus the Heat’s first playoff round opponents. Zak Larson blocked and stopped 40 of 43 shots by the Grizzlies.
Family Day, Monday the 13th, saw the Kamloops Storm travel to Chase for a 2 p.m. matinee contest. A shorthanded goal from Fournier in the first period from Moore got this event started. In the second, the Storm’s Brett Olstad got his first of three. A highlight of this match was a rarely called penalty shot, taken successfully by Josh Bourne while the Heat were shorthanded. Newly acquired Mitchell Cobbett got that back for Kamloops on the power play. At the end of two it stood 2-2.
In the third, Hodges scored from Fidanza, and then the wheels fell off the Heat machine as Kamloops scored four unanswered goals. It was Mitch Friesen, Olstad with his second, Evan Walls and then Olstad with his third silenced 261 in attendance. This one ended 6-3.
The last remaining regular season games find the Sicamous Eagles in Chase on Friday the 17th and then the Heat travel to 100 Mile for game 47 on Saturday the 18th. Discount playoff tickets will be available on Friday night as well as Award Banquet tickets for the bun toss Sunday the 19th at the Adams Lake Conference Centre.