The Chase Heat rode the play of Jacob Mattes until it was time to ride the wave of momentum on Friday.
The Heat topped the Kamloops Storm 4-3 in a KIJHL game played at McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre. Mattes, a 19-year-old goaltender originally from Kamloops, made 48 saves in the victory.
It was his play that kept the Heat in the game through the first two periods, in which the Storm outshot its guest, 39-20. And it was a goal from Shayne Woodland early in the third period that turned the momentum in Chase's favour.
It never lost it.
"Once we got that goal, we knew we had to keep coming," said Mattes, who now has three victories this season. "That was a big boost for us."
For Storm head coach Brad Priestlay, watching Mattes stonewall his team must have seemed like an awful nightmare.
It seems that Mattes, who came up through Kamloops Minor Hockey before joining the Penticton Lakers as a 17-year-old in 2010-11, always plays well against the Storm.
"Mattes, last year, he came in and stole games from us," Priestlay said. "He did the same thing tonight. We got lots of shots and tested him, but he came out with a big effort."
The Storm had its chances.
The best of them came about seven minutes into the game, when Storm forward Ryan Skinner got the puck alone in front. His first attempt hit the outstretched right leg of Mattes, as did his second . . . and third.
Even though the Storm was the better team early, Chase actually scored first. It was Shelby Kostyshen, with 6:57 remaining in the first period, putting the Heat's third shot of the game past Storm goaltender Ty Hamer-Jackson.
Kamloops was rewarded in a strong second period, with Daniel Buchanan and Taylor Ward scoring to give the Storm a 2-1 lead heading into the third. The way that Mattes and Hamer-Jackson were playing, it seemed as though the game might end that way.
But Woodland's goal opened the doors. The defenceman joined the rush on a penalty kill, and found the puck on his stick and a wide-open net in front of him.
Woodland went high, the puck hitting some piece of metal in the net. The Heat cheered, but the goal-light didn't go on and play continued. At the next stoppage of play, about 15 seconds later, referee Shane Hillman discussed the play with his linesmen, and they determined the puck had gone in.
Just like that, it was a tie game, and the Heat - and its loyal followers - had momentum.
"(The puck) went in," Priestlay confirmed. "Hockey's a funny game - one little bounce here or there, and that swings the momentum. After they got that one, momentum swung their way."
The goal game only 2:15 into the third and, seven minutes later, Chase had a two-goal lead, thanks to goals from Connor Venne and Ravi Chand. It was all but over, although Kamloops' Austin Braid scored as time expired.
The late goal hurt Mattes' statistical line, but he was glad to draw first blood on the Storm.
"They were our biggest rival last year," he said. "Every game was a thriller, and we hope it's the same this year."
JUST NOTES: Hamer-Jackson made 28 saves in his first start of the season. . . . Kostyshen and Chand each had two assists for Chase. . . . The Storm is at home to the Osoyoos Coyotes today, 7 p.m., at the Sport Centre. Chase has the night off, but will welcome Osoyoos to the Art Holding Memorial Arena on Sunday at 2 p.m. . . . Kamloops was 1-for-10 on the power play, while the Heat was 1-for-8.