Heat spend weekend on road, building character

For the Chase Heat, the wheels on the bus started to go round and round at 6:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27.

For the Chase Heat, the wheels on the bus started to go round and round at 6:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27.

Three road games in two-and-one-half days was a weekend of character building early in the year.

Friday saw the Heat in Kimberley facing the Eddie Mountain division-leading Dynamiters in their old barn. For 57 minutes the local hot product led the  Nitros 3-1, and then the wheels fell off the bus. Our boys panicked and when the clock wound down it was a 4-3 victory for Kimberley. Jake Mattes went the distance facing 43 shots, Kaleb Boyle, Cody Hodges and Kurtis Johnson getting the Heat goals with Connor Venne getting two assists. Boyle’s and Johnson’s were on the powerplay. Four hundred fans went home happy, six didn’t.

Saturday the bus cruised into Fernie with the team facing the Ghostriders, a perennial hot team in an arena they call the Zoo. Five hundred fans watched their local team hold on for a 5-4 win after the Heat tried to pull off late game heroics but ran out of time. Mike Byer went the distance between the pipes facing 34 shots, Zac Hoskins got his first of the season, with Jay Sidhu, Boyle and Venne getting the others. McKenzie Guardiero continued to play in-your-face hockey including a tilt with the Riders Austin Hirano. This was a chippy affair with two Heat players sustaining significant injuries. The culprit in both situations ended up receiving a league three-game suspension.

Game three, Sunday afternoon at Johnny Bucyk Arena in Creston versus the Thunder Cats saw a repeat of the previous evening. The Heat owned the third period but fell short with a 5-4 loss. Nic Fidanza potted two, one on a penalty shot, Hodges on the powerplay and Johnson getting the others. Mattes faced 49 shots in goal with Fidanza being the star of this outing.

Then the long rainy ride home after facing the East Kootenay’s top three teams.

No points in the standings on the weekend, but a challenging, character-building weekend for 20 tired young men.