The Kamloops Storm continued its torrid pace, winning three straight weekend games to remain atop the KIJHL.
The Storm had beaten the host 100 Mile House Wranglers 5-3 on Friday, and followed up with home victories over the Summerland Steam and Sicamous Eagles. Kamloops needed overtime Saturday to win 3-2 over the Steam, which had ended the Storm’s 12-game winning streak six days earlier, before dumping Sicamous 4-0 on Sunday.
Liam McLeod picked up the shutout over Sicamous, stopping 29 shots. Bobby Kashuba scored the first and fourth goals for the Storm, with Rourke O’Briain and Stefan Wood also scoring. Felix Larouche and Josh Rasmussen each had two assists for Kamloops, which fired 61 shots at Sicamous goaltender Chris Turner.
Max James had the overtime winner on Saturday. Daniel Buchanan forced the extra period with 5:38 remaining, only 91 seconds after Summerland’s Kienan Scott had put the Steam ahead.
Kamloops’ Luke Gordon, on a power play, and Summerland’s Michael Winnitoy had traded goals in the first period. McLeod made 34 saves for Kamloops, two more than Summerland’s Darren Hogg.
It has been an excellent campaign for the Storm (28-5-0-1), which sits first in the Doug Birks Division. Although there is still more than a third of the season remaining, Kamloops almost has clinched a playoff spot.
The Revelstoke Grizzlies (7-21-0-3), who are last in the Doug Birks Division, can only reach 59 points, meaning the Storm only needs to win two more games to clinch a playoff spot.
Kamloops leads the division by 21 points over the expansion Wranglers.
The Storm has two games remaining before taking 12 days off for Christmas — it will play the Eagles in Sicamous on Friday and the Heat in Chase on Saturday.
The Heat, as a holiday gift to the fans of both teams, is offering free admission to Saturday’s game, which is scheduled for 7 p.m., at Art Holding Memorial Arena.
Chase dropped a 6-4 decision to the visiting Osoyoos Coyotes on Sunday afternoon. The Heat fell behind 4-2 in the second period, but fought back to tie the game in the third. Osoyoos scored twice in the final 7:19 to secure the victory.
Connor Venne had three assists for Chase, whose goals came from Connor Harding, Buddy Summers, Kaleb Boyle and Chad Wilde. Jacob Mattes stopped 45 shots.
Colin Chmelka and Troy Maclise each scored twice for Osoyoos, Aaron Azevedo had a goal and three helpers and Brett Anderson also scored. Lawrence Langan made 36 saves in the victory.
Chase, before its free home game with the Storm on Saturday, will play twice. It is scheduled to play host to the Eagles on Wednesday, 7 p.m., before heading to Summerland on Friday to play the Steam.
The Heat is 15-15-0-2 and third in the Doug Birks Division.