STEAM, COYOTES SET TO RENEW HOSTILITIES

Photo: Sarah Mayer (shotsbysarah.tumblr.com)

Photo: Sarah Mayer (shotsbysarah.tumblr.com) // Steam F Kendell Wilson and Coyotes’ D Cody Allen are separated by an official during a January 2015 game in Oliver, BC

After meeting twice in the KIJHL Preseason, the Summerland Steam and the Osoyoos Coyotes are well on their way to renewing their Okanagan Division rivalry. After a season series in 2014/15 that favoured the Regular Season Champion Coyotes heavily, the teams went head to head in the Okanagan Division final during the ’14/15 KIJHL playoffs. The Coyotes came out on top in a 6 game series that turned into an instant classic, including a 3OT game that those in attendance will surely not forget for a long time.

The offseason is now over and the calendar has turned to a new season, which began last weekend on September 11th. The two teams went their separate ways on opening weekend and despite the same style of game, collected different results. Summerland took to the road, picking up wins in Princeton (4-2) and Grand Forks (7-2), while Osoyoos also visited the Princeton Posse and came up on the short end of a 3-2 score.

For Summerland it was the veterans that led the way on opening weekend. Jack Mills recorded 3 goals and 3 assists in his first two games while Steam captain Paulsen Lautard collected 4 goals and 2 helpers in the 2 victories. Riley Pettitt and the Yukon Line also chipped in with Pettitt collecting 3 goals, Jarrett Malchow notching 3 assists, and Wyatt Gale collecting 2 assists of his own in the Steam’s first two victories.

The offensive output from the Steam veterans has allowed some of the rookies to get the feel of KIJHL hockey in the first 2 games without an extreme expectation to produce right off the bat. Matthew Monk and Keenan Scott, in particular, were impressive and had an impact in the first two games of their KIJHL careers. Both rookie defencemen were able to collect their 1st KIJHL point in the first couple of games while getting used to the defensive systems put in place by the Steam coaching staff.

After the first two games of the season, the Steam got in a good week of practice in preparation for an always stiff test from the Osoyoos Coyotes. Head Coach & General Manager Ken Law always puts a competitive team on the ice, and if they’re in the same form as they were when they played the Steam in the pre-season, we’re all in for a treat on Friday night.

Summerland and Osoyoos both have high hopes for the 2015/16 KIJHL season, and the two teams will now come together on the second weekend of the KIJHL season to begin the quest for divisional supremacy. It will be the first of 8 regular season meetings between the two South Okanagan rivals that sees plenty of carry over from last season. The Coyotes boast 8 returnees including Rainer Glimpel (this year’s captain), Daniel Stone, Cody Allen and goaltender Brett Soles, while the Summerland Steam carry 13 returnees including Paulsen Lautard, Jack Mills and Defenceman Adam Jones.

There are plenty of new faces on either side of this rivalry, but there are also enough returning faces for either team to pick up right where they left off. If you were around for either of the two exhibition games the teams played against one another, you’ve already seen the rivalry beginning to brew. Both had the majority of their regular season roster dressed on September 8th in Summerland, and it showed in the calibre of play. It was fast paced, it was fun and it was extremely entertaining, and I would expect no different from the first meeting of the 2015/16 season on Friday night at the Summerland Arena.

Puck Drop is 7:30 PM from The Station and tickets will be available at the door. If you can’t be with us in person, you can join myself, Mike Swanson and Joel Barg on KIJHL.ca where we’ll have a full pre-game show starting at 7:15 including coaches comments and keys to the game!

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