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After two blow-out weekend wins, the Posse is within reach of the KIJHL President’s Trophy

Princeton beats Osoyoos 7-2, shuts out Kelowna 8-0

As the regular season of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) winds down, the Princeton Posse is winding up.

Last weekend, the Posse pulled off two blow-out wins, one at home against Osoyoos 7-2, and another on the road against the Kelowna Chiefs 8-0, as goaltender Joey Hawkco earned his second shut-out.

“It’s a pretty good start to the last little bit here,” said coach Mark Readman.

With less than three weeks to go before playoffs, the Posse is in a battle royal for the President’s Trophy, awarded to the first-place team overall in the league.

The Posse won that honour in 2022-23, and is a strong contender to win it again.

Should the Posse win that prize, they will be the only team in over a decade to do so in back-to-back KIJHL seasons.

There are only a few things standing in Princeton’s way – Sicamous, Beaver Valley, Revelstoke, Fernie and Kamloops.

As of Monday, Jan. 29, the Posse was sitting in second place in the KIJHL with 57 points, two behind Sicamous at 59 points.

Coach Mark Readman acknowledged the team’s final six games, being all divisional contests, might look like easy skating on paper.

However, he offers the reminder that the game isn’t played on paper.

The North Okanagan Knights, with 34 points, sits second to Princeton in the Bill Ohlhausen division.

“I think (the Knights) are better than what their record shows. They are kind of playing the right way,” said Readman.

“The (Kelowna) Chiefs, they have a good team vibe around them. As for Summerland, we have to play them four times and they are a team that is up and coming.”

In a league trophy run where every win counts, he cautioned, “Regardless of the standings, you can’t be looking past your opponents and counting your chickens.”

That’s demonstrated, he said, by the fact that out of eight regulation Posse losses this season, two were against the bottom-ranked teams in the league at the time.

Readman had high praise, though, for the recent efforts of his team against Osoyoos and Kelowna.

Anmol Garcha, who earned a hat trick against the Chiefs and scored twice against the Coyotes, now sits seventh in the league for points earned.

The Posse bench boss also nodded in the direction of recently reacquired defenceman Grady-Sterling Ponech, and Brennan Watterson as being top contributors during the last two contests.

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Princeton netminder Blake Sittler looks to secure the puck with his glove hand during last Friday’s game against Osoyoos. The Posse won 7-2. (Hanna Gould)
A late third-period melee in the Princeton-Osoyoos game Jan. 26 resulted in several penalties on both sides. (Hanna Gould photo)

Andrea DeMeer

About the Author: Andrea DeMeer

Andrea is the publisher of the Similkameen Spotlight.
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