After a disappointing loss in their home opener on Friday night, the Summerland Steam got back out on the road on Saturday to visit the Spokane Braves. It was the one and only time the Steam will cross the border in the 2015/16 KIJHL Season, and they came away with a 5-3 win thanks to 4 goals from Cole Woodliffe.
Spokane would open the scoring in the first just 3 minutes in thanks to Steele Anderson. Braves veteran Kurtis Redding would draw an assist on the play that gave the home side a 1-0 lead. Woodliffe would then respond just under 2 minutes later after he had a couple of chances at the side of the net. He finally banged one past Braves’ goaltender Blake Norman for his first of the night and first of the season, assisted by Riley Pettitt and Wyatt Gale.
Kurtis Redding would then get on the scoresheet again for the Braves in the second with a power play tally. After taking a pass from Paxton Malone, Redding was able to work his way through the middle of the Steam Penalty Kill and wire a shot over Steam goaltender Matt Huber. It gave the Braves the lead once again, and the second assist went to Steele Anderson on Redding’s first of two in the second period.
Woodliffe would then bang home his second of the night in front of the Braves net after Matthew Monk got a shot through traffic. The Monk shot was one of 57 on the night that the Steam put on net, as they buzzed around and carried play for the majority of the game.
Despite outshooting the Braves handily, the Steam trailed three times in the hockey game. Kurtis Redding gave the Braves the lead for the 3rd time late in the 2nd period with his 2nd goal of the game before Woodliffe completed the hat trick with just 3:08 to go in the frame. The third of the night for Woodliffe would also produce the first KIJHL point for Steam rookie Michael McLean, who recorded the primary assist on the tally. Braden Eliuk nabbed the other assist on Woodliffe’s hat trick goal, and the second period ended in a 3-3 tie.
After 2 periods the Steam and the Braves were tied at 3, but the Steam led on the shot clock by the hefty margin of 42-23. The visiting team would finally take the lead for the first time in the game with 11:43 to play in the third when Wyatt Gale got loose in the slot and deposited a Jarrett Malchow pass into the back of the net. The goal from Gale gave the Steam the lead, and Woodliffe would add an empty netter to round out the scoring in the final minutes.
A few notes:
- The Steam did a much better job with their zone exits out of the defensive zones in Spokane. It allowed them to drive play forward without turning the puck over, much unlike the night before at home against Osoyoos.
- The Steam put 57 shots on goal on the night. It’s the third time in four games they’ve put up a shot total of 50+, and brings their shots on goal total to a staggering 191 through 4 games played.
- Matt Huber was very good in his 2nd KIJHL game.
- Jarrett Malchow returned to the lineup for the Steam and it was beneficial to them. The Yukon line once again did what they do, which is make things difficult for opposing defencemen and create zone time for the offense.
- Cole Woodliffe looked good in his first game of the season on Friday night, but he was other-worldly in Spokane. He scored 4 goals on the night, but he was EVERYWHERE, and was used in every situation by the Steam coaching staff.
- Raphael Bassot missed his third straight contest for the Steam after taking a knee from Princeton’s Bradley Palumbo in game 1 of the KIJHL season. The 16-year-old product from Penticton, BC, had a really good camp for the Steam, and hopefully he’ll be back in the lineup sooner rather than later.
The Steam will now have a week of practice before heading to Armstrong for their first meeting of the season with Bryant Perrier and the new-look North Okanagan Knights. The Steam will play three consecutive games against the Knights, starting on Sunday afternoon, September 27th at 2PM at the Nor-Val Center in Armstrong. Summerland will then travel back to Armstrong on October 2nd (7:30PM) before hosting the Knights on Sunday, October 4th at 2PM at the Summerland Arena. Mike Swanson and Joel Barg will have play-by-play duties for that contest, as I am away until Oct 5.