*Breaking News*, Captain Jacob Biensch of the Chase Heat has been recognized by the KIJHL as the Most Valuable Player in the Doug Birks Division as well as the Top Scorer! Be proud Chase, the Marsden Saskatchewan product is a 20 year old, loyal to the Heat Organization and through his time in Chase has raised his game, and become the Leader. The entire Heat Organization from fellow players, Staff, volunteers and fans wish you well in all your future endeavours! Heat Proud.
Well the KIJHL and our Chase Heat made it through Delta and Omicron and the scheduled 42 games. There were hiccups and screwups and rescheduled games, but the next chapter is right around the corner, Playoffs.
Before we go there the bits and pieces, facts and fiction, and status and statistics are worth a review. The KIJHL played this 2021-22 season with 19 teams as the Spokane Braves sat out due to pandemic travel restrictions. All team games were held within their Conference, so our Heat played the majority within the Doug Birks Division (Revelstoke, Sicamous, Kamloops, 100 Mile House) and met up home and away versus the Bill Ohlhausen Division (North Okanagan, Kelowna, Summerland, Osooyoos and Princeton). To get to play against a Kootenay Conference team you must get all the way to the League final. The same thing happened a few moons back when we made it all that way to meet the Beaver Valley Nighthawks and fell just short of moving on to the Cyclone Taylor Cup. Maybe this year, we will have to wait and see what puck luck and the hockey gods have in store for the Heat.
The Heat finished 3rd in their Division and their playoffs begin with a faceoff versus the Kamloops Storm Tuesday the 22nd at McArthur Island in “Little Montreal”. Game 2 is on Wednesday the 23rd and then it switches to the Art Holding Memorial Arena for Games 3 and 4, on Friday the 25th and Saturday the 26th. Check the website, Facebook, Twitter and radio for games 5,6 and 7 if they are necessary. Revelstoke and Sicamous will be following the same pattern, a whole bunch of hockey action all in 9 days or less.
So how did the Heat arrive in these circumstances? Well they were lead by Captain Jacob Biensch who finished 3rd overall in scoring in the KIJHL ( 37 games, 26 goals, 27 assists for 53 points with only 12 penalty minutes!). This result has him being the leading scorer in the Division. 25th overall was Jarod Sigouin with 11- 25 for 36, 29th spot for Dylan Handel 17-18 for 35, 39th was Lucas Ouellette 14-19 for 33, and 46th Brayden Haskell 9 – 23 for 32. Five fine fellows in the top 50 in the League. Matthew Poole on the backend finished 4th overall with 7 -22 for 29 points and 59th in the overall KIJHL scoring. The Heat were 11th overall in the standings, with 7th in goals scored being of note as well as being relatively low in penalty minutes.
Two meaningless games were played this past weekend with a number pf players receiving a break to prepare for post season play. Friday the North Okanagan Knights paid a visit to the local Chaos Castle. Brayden Haskell scored both Heat goals, the 1st assisted by Owen Dean and Poole and the 2nd from Biensch and Corson Nordick. Not enough as the Knights won in a shootout 3-2. In the 2nd contest at home the 100 Mile House Wranglers wagon trained to Chase. Justin Vinterlik scored in the 1st period from Aiden Brown and Braeden Huth. In the 2nd Tanner Chapman from Dean and Ouellette, followed by Mikkel Hrechka from Vinterlik and Malachi Franklin wasn’t enough. The Wranglers rode out of town with a 4-3 win.
So next weekend the Number 1 entertainment in the Village of Vitality on the shores of the Little Shuswap are a pair of hotly contested playoff games versus the Kamloops Storm. Guaranteed are a display of skills and thrills, muscle and tussle, music to twist and shout to, suds to guzzle and food to chomp, opportunities to standup and stomp…it’s a participation challenge…so drag your friends, neighbours and the kids out to both. Come see what all the buzz is about!