There was no shortage of hockey in the news last week.
Many Canadians were consumed by the dramatic success of our national team at the World Junior Hockey Tournament.
Closer to home, local fans had their eyes on the Princeton Posse, which widened its lead in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) after a 5-4 overtime loss to Sicamous Friday, Jan. 6, and an exciting 5-3 win over last year’s league champions the Revelstoke Grizzlies last Saturday.
As of Sunday, Jan. 8, the Posse held first place with 52 points, three points ahead of second place Kimberly Dynamiters.
Coach Mark Readman said the organization especially savoured the victory over Revelstoke.
“Anybody who knows anything about the (KIJHL) or has tracked it over the last five years knows that the Grizzlies and the Dynamiters, they are the jealousies of the league, of really being dominant programs,” he said.
It was made better that the win was on Revelstoke’s home ice, which is considered an elite Junior B environment, he added.
“We had that added extra motivation (and we competed) against the top end with 12 forwards that all played phenomenal, same thing with six defenceman who were monsters and kept it simple.
“There were lots of ups and downs but we found the balance.”
There was a bitter-sweetness to the weekend, however, as it marked Ethan Rau’s last game e in net for Princeton against Sicamous.
The KIJHL trade deadline was Jan. 10, and the team’s number one goaltender moved up to Junior A in Melville, Sask.
“It hurts, of course,” said Readman. “But we want guys to come into our program to succeed. Ethan is deserving of this opportunity, but it hurts to see him go.”
Twenty-year-old Peyton Trzaska, who has played the last two years in Princeton, has returned, and it was he who backstopped the Posse against Revelstoke, making 40 saves.
Readman commented briefly on another KIJHL issue that arose last week, when a line brawl broke out during a game between between Nelson and Beaver Valley. The Nelson Leafs’ coach resigned after being suspended by the league, and the team was fined $5,000.
The incident was discussed with Posse players, said Readman.
“The league handled it quickly and in the right way. That kind of stuff is obviously in the past… It’s not acceptable in today’s game.”
The Posse, which has already secured its playoff berth, has 11 more contests in the regular season.
On Friday, Jan. 13, the team hosts the third-place Columbia Valley Rockies with puck drop at 7 p.m.
“It should be a phenomenal game,” said Readman.
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