With playoffs just over two weeks away, each and every game is crucial for teams in the Okanagan Division of the KIJHL where five points separate all four playoff bound teams.
So when the 5-39-1-1 Chase Heat came to town for their only appearance this season in Princeton Arena to take on the 24-17-1-3 Posse on Feb. 4 there was still cause for concern.
Sure, on paper the numbers tilted in favour of the home team, but this close to the end of the season there is no such thing as a sure thing, and the Heat came out blazing from the opening
With some key Princeton players out of the line up due to injuries, focus shifted to special teams and it turned out to be a game dominated by both teams’ penalty kill and power play units.
The first period was mostly uneventful with fast-paced back and forth play and only two penalties (both for Princeton).
The second period was a different story altogether.
Princeton scored first at 17:22 with Tim Martens serving the final seconds of a crosschecking penalty.
Adrian Coulter scored the short-handed goal with assists going to Keenan Fordy and Kevin Raimundo.
The Posse added a power play goal at 12:17 (Kevin Raimundo from Eric Kubis and Adrian Coulter).
Chase responded at 9:32 with a power-play goal of their own (Kurtis Johnson from Mitchell Rosko).
The Heat ended up tying the game at 4:49 (Jared Seutter from Jordan Steel) – the only goal scored on even strength in the entire game.
With just 18 seconds left in the period Princeton’s Keenan Fordy took a pass from Curtis Bellamy, penetrated the Heat defence and had nothing but Chase goalie Jacob Mattes between him and the net.
Fordy stretched out to full extension as he tried to shift direction to Mattes’ right side. Mattes dropped to his knees and kicked his right leg out but Fordy had an extra few inches on him and managed to coax the puck with one hand on his stick just past the tip of the leg pad and into the goal.
Alex Demchuk was credited with the second assist on the short-handed goal.
The third period saw Chase tie the game at three-all at 3:38 with a short-handed goal scored by Kevin Leschuk with assistance from Cody Wiseman.
Princeton’s power-play unit sealed the deal with just 1:20 left in the game when Blake Roney scored for the home team. Assists went to Eric Kubis and Alex Demchuk.
Final score: Princeton 4, Chase 3. Shots on goal: Princeton 27, Chase 20. Penalties in minutes: 8 for 25-minutes, Chase 10 for 28-minutes.