It’s speed and skill versus toughness and physical play as the second round of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoffs kick off Tuesday in Princeton.
The speed and skill will be brought to the table by the Kelowna Chiefs, who knocked off the defending KIJHL champion Osoyoos Coyotes in six games to advance to the second round.
The toughness is the Princeton Posse, who will host the Chiefs in Games 1 and 2 in the best of seven series Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We’re confident but leery right now,” said Chiefs head coach Ken Andrusiak. “We have to keep going. We played really well in the last series.”
Following a triple overtime win in game four to even their first round series at two games apiece last week against Osoyoos, the Chiefs won game five in Osoyoos and game six back in Kelowna late last week to upset the Coyotes and advance to the series with Princeton.
The Posse held a decided advantage in eight regular season meetings between the two teams, winning six while the Chiefs won just twice.
But Andrusiak says his team is on a roll and looking forward to the match-up.
“We’re trying to get these kids to think about the process and the game plan and not worry about the other team and the scoreboard,” he said. “We’re pretty young so it took them a long time to understand that message. I’m not worried about Princeton, I’m more worried about how we play.”
Games 3 and 4 in the series will take place Friday and Saturday nights at Rutland Arena in Kelowna.