This past weekend the HEAT piled onto a metal slumber canister for a tour to the south. The road trip commenced at early dawn on Friday the 11th, the destination for the evening’s competition Spokane Washington. Pillows, blankets, headphones and snacks necessary provisions for the journey. A pack sack full of passports one of the most important items to allow passage through the border without walls.
The game versus the Spokane BRAVES was docile as both teams stuck to a display of flash and dash. The KIJHL’s 3rdleading scorer got the BRAVES on the board in less than 5 minutes. Mid period Colton Nikiforuk from Gavin Mattey and Matthew Poole got the only man advantage tally of the weekend for the HEAT. In the 2ndChase popped a pair, Breckin Erichuk from Caleb Biensch and Hayden Wiebe providing the helpers. Mattey from Erichuk and Wiebe got the 2ndcounter before Spokane made it 3-2 HEAT. In the 3rdMarino Bordin assisted by Nikiforuk scored before the BRAVES got their 2ndpowerplay marker. Vince Bennedetto provided solid tending stopping 41 of 44 attempts he faced, including a 2 man short handed breakaway that was the highlight of the contest. The end result a 4-3 win on the road for the HEAT.
Saturday night the bus boys were in Fruitvale to play versus the Beaver Valley NITEHAWKS. Chase took an early lead with Garrick Ward getting his first of the season from Wiebe and Jayden Russell. The home team popped in a man advantage tally and after 20 minute it was 1-1. In the 2ndthe NITEHAWKS scored a powerplay goal and a shorthanded counter to take a 3-1 lead. The shorthanded goal was once again a two man breakaway, this time Bennedetto wasn’t able to make up for his teammates miscue. In the 3rdthe teams exchanged goals with Mattey scoring with 12 seconds left from Corson Nordick and Erichuk. A 4-2 loss at the hands of the top team in the Neil Murdoch Division and KIJHL. Bennedetto faced 44 shots while once again giving his team a chance to succeed.
The HEAT special teams struggled over the weekend, scoring 1 powerplay goal on 11 opportunities, while allowing a goal by the opposition. On the penalty kill they allowed 4 goals on 11 shorthanded situations. After the weekend the HEAT powerplay is at 18.3% and the penalty kill is 80.4%, disappointing considering the skill level on display. The NITEHAWKS and the BRAVES are the top two teams in their Division while the HEAT are currently 3rdin the Doug Birks Division. Beaver Valley is also the Number 1 team in the KIJHL with 6 straight wins.
Next on the schedule for the HEAT is a Friday the 18thmatchup at the Art Holding Memorial Arena versus the Kamloops STORM. Chase Minor Hockey players wearing their team jerseys will receive free admission to this game. On Saturday the 19ththe HEAT head to Revelstoke to face the Division leading GRIZZLIES. The Mad Bears from the Mountain Mecca pay a return visit to the Chaos Castle in Chase on Tuesday night the 22nd.
Heat Beat: Local lad Russell Hassler is headed to Alberta to play for the Ponoka Stampeders in the Heritage Junior B Hockey League. The entire HEAT organization wishes Russell the very best in all his future endeavours.
The HEAT have 5 players in the top 50 scoring in the KIJHL; Nikiforuk (14), Hughes (17), Mattey (19), Erichuk (30) and Grimaud (48).