First Round best of 7 series between the Doug Birks Division Kamloops Storm (2nd) and Chase Heat (3rd) commenced February 22nd and by the March 1st 6 games were done, and the 7th and deciding game to be played in Kamloops Wednesday March 2nd. So, a brief recap on those contests.
Game 1, in Kamloops, Tuesday the 22nd and Brayden Haskell starts the goal scoring on a 2 on 1 with Jacob Biensch who got an assist. Storm gets that one back and then Bryan Fraser on an uncharacteristic beauty breakaway with help from Mikkel Hrechka and Dylan Handel pops in the 2-1 goal after 20 minutes. In the 2nd Kamloops gets a pair to take the lead 3-2. The 3rd is all Chase, Biensch from just inside the blue line scoring unassisted to tie things up. Trevor Kennedy with a seeing eye lazer from the hashmarks aided by Hrechka and Matthew Poole scores the winning 4-3 goal. Jack Osmond stops 31 of 34 Kamloops shots between the pipes.
Game 2 again in Kamloops Wednesday the 23rd and the Storm wakeup. Only goal in 1st goes to Kamloops. In the 2nd the Storm score twice before Handel on the man advantage from Biensch and Jarod Sigouin get the Heat going. Storm score again after 40 it’s 4-1. In the 3rd the Storm increase their lead, and Sigouin from Haskell shorthanded scores with the final being 5-2 Loops.
With a one day break in action, Game 3 moves to Chase on Friday the 25th. No scoring in the first 20, in the 2nd Haskell unassisted gets things started. Kamloops equals that and after 40 it’s 1-1. In the 3rd Kamloops gets two prior to Biensch from Kennedy getting to within 1. The game ends 3-2 with a Kamloops win. Osmond repels 32 of 35 Storm shots.
Game 4 in Chase on Saturday the 26th plays out in the Chaos Castle and while the scoring was light the mayhem was not. The two teams clearly have a dislike of each other that tends to happen in the playoffs. Kamloops scores once in the 1st period and once in the 2nd for a 2-0 lead. Chase finds itself on a 5 on 3 shorthanded situation in the 3rd when Aiden Brown comes streaking out of the penalty box on a Storm line change and outduels the Loops goaltender to score a brilliant counter. Unfortunately, not enough on this penalty pockmarked contest as Kamloops takes a 3-1 series lead.
Game 5 returns to Kamloops and Chase is in a do or die situation. The cream tends to rise to the top even during mayhem filled milk carton shakeups. No scoring in the 1st the Heat fend off a couple of minor transgressions to a supposed none to their foes. In the 2nd the Heat explode with 3 tallies in what has been a relatively low scoring series. Brown from Corson Nordick and Tyson Mallet scores a well earned effort by all three. Sigouin from a shot from the corner aided by Ben Schmidt and Handel and then Kennedy on the powerplay helped by Sigouin and Biensch makes it 3-0. 1 minor infraction to the Loops lads is called. In the 3rd it is a horse of a different colour with Kamloops scoring twice on the man advantage to make it close. Lots of touch and go action with a tremendous amount of contempt displayed sets the 2 teams up for Game 6 in Chase. Oh, the Chase victory from the comeback kids has the series now at 3-2 which was also the final score of Game 5. Osmond faced a 51 shot barrage and only allowed 2 markers for the win.
It’s Game 6, Tuesday March 1st, with a win required by the Heat to continue on in the series. The anticipated mayhem didn’t occur to the degree expected in this one before a packed house at our Chaos Castle. No scoring in the 1st and one minor penalty that went to Kamloops. Smack dab in the middle of the 2nd Garrett Martin deposits the puck in the opposition net, ably assisted by Jarod Sigouin. The Storm receive the only minor infraction of this frame. Early in the 3rd Chase receives their only minor penalty of the game and the penalty killers deny the efforts of the Storm. It’s a serious nail biter as the hopes rest on a 1-0 lead. What happens next has the dust bunnies in the rafters jumping as well as the Chase fans in the stands as Justin Vinterlik jams in the winning goal from Malachi Franklin and Sigouin. Adding a little icing to the cake Captain Biensch assisted by Assistant Captain Haskell gets an empty net bonus goal, it ends 3-0 Chase. The “Mesh Master” Jack Osmond starring in this contest while earning a well deserved shutout.
With the series tied at 3 games apiece, Wednesday night March 2nd Game 7 in Kamloops will decide which team advances to face the Revelstoke Grizzlies (1st) in the Division Championship series. Just maybe a new version of the “Cardiac Kids” has been created through all the adversity faced so far in this series…lets hope so as it means more fabulous and thrilling hockey action for our ardent fans.