GAME DAY: SUMMERLAND STEAM AT PRINCETON POSSE

~Princeton_Posse

 PRINCETON POSSE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VS

 SummerlandSteam  SUMMERLAND STEAM
4-11-0-1, 9 PTS RECORD 7-8-0-0, 14 PTS
5-1 HOME / AWAY

RECORD

5-6
L-10 STREAK L-2
0-9-0-1 LAST 10 GAMES 3-7
4TH, OKANAGAN DIVISION DIVISION RANK 3RD, OKANAGAN DIVISION
0-2 SEASON SERIES 2-0
.281% WIN % .467%
34

2.13  GF PER GM (17TH,  KIJHL)

GOALS FOR 51

3.40 GF PER GAME (9TH, KIJHL)

66

4.13 PER GM (17TH, KIJHL)

GOALS AGAINST 45

3.00 GA PER GAME (13TH, KIJHL)

-32 DIFFERENTIAL +6
10/87 ; 11.49% (11TH , KIJHL)

HOME: 6/46 ; 13.04% (12TH, KIJHL)

POWERPLAY % OVERALL: 7/74 ; 9.46% (18TH, KIJHL)

ROAD: 6/58 ; 10.34% (13TH, KIJHL)

67/80; 83.75% (12th , KIJHL)

HOME: 32/39; 82.05% (17TH, KIJHL)

PENALTY KILL % OVERALL: 79/91 ; 86.81% (9TH, KIJHL)

ROAD: 58/66 ; 87.88% (8TH, KIJHL)

DREW CARTER

4G + 9A=13 PTS

LEADING SCORER

JACK MILLS

6G + 13A = 19 PTS

GAME NOTES:

  • Summerland will look to finish the month of October on a high note after struggling through the month to date. With only tonight’s game remaining before the turn to November, the Steam currently sit 3-7 for the month after a strong 4-1 start in regular season action in September.
  • Despite results in October, the effort has been consistent. Summerland is putting a good effort in and controlling possession time well, there have just been a few mental lapses for 2 and 3 minutes at a time costing them games lately. That started in Nelson, and happened again in both losses to the Kelowna Chiefs last weekend. If they put in the ‘full 60’ as Coach Depourcq says, they’ll be successful.
  • In the previous 2 games of the season series to date, Summerland has outscored Princeton 12-2.
  • To be successful, Summerland will need to stay away from the penalty boxes, for one. They are in the top half of the league in the number of times they’ve been shorthanded, and are 19th of 20 in the number of powerplay opportunities they get.
  • For two, they’ll need to maintain control of their defensive zone, stay in position, and make a good first pass up the wall in order to start the breakout.
  • Summerland Forwards Paulsen Lautard and Jack Mills have been suspiciously quiet in their last 5 games. In the past 5 games the two have combined for just 1 assist, after putting up 31 points between them in the first 10 games of the season.
  • Those numbers would tell me that they’re due for an offensive explosion, and watching them night in and night out I’d bet good money that it’s going to come soon. The Steam would like it to be tonight, leading into a 2PM Home date with the Nelson Leafs tomorrow afternoon.
  • No word on who Coach Depourcq has tabbed to start the weekend in the net for Summerland, but I would expect to see the games split between Goaltenders Matthew Huber and Jake Mullen, likely in that order.

STEAM SET FOR HALLOWEEN CLASH WITH POSSE

After a good first month of the 2015/16 KIJHL season, the month of October hasn’t been necessarily kind to the Summerland Steam. The team has gone 3-7 in 10 games to date during the 10th month of 2015, and will look to end the month on a high note with a Halloween clash against the Princeton Posse on Saturday night.

Right now the Summerland Steam sit firmly in third place in the KIJHL’s Okanagan Division, 2 points back of the Kelowna Chiefs and 7 points behind the division leading Osoyoos Coyotes.

If you’re new to the Summerland Steam and to this blog this season, DON’T FRET. Summerland has had notoriously unsuccessful October’s in each of their first 4 KIJHL Seasons. As a matter of fact, the best a Summerland Steam squad has been able to do in the month of October was a .500% win percentage last season, going 5-5. In 2013/14, the Steam went 2-6 in October and sat in last place before collecting points in 33 of their remaining 36 games to win the Okanagan Division crown.

It is not abnormal for the Summerland Steam to struggle in the second month of the schedule, and not much should be read into it. Yes, they’re 3-7 to date for the month, but only one of those losses has been by more than 2 goals. They’re in every game they play, and that’s encouraging. Their possession numbers are good, their offense is potent, and they’re beginning to come together as a group. In talking to Head Coach John Depourcq, Assistants Jordan McCallum and Wade Parker, and GM Gregg Wilson, I can tell you that they’re aware, and they aren’t worried. They LOVE their group of kids, and continue to preach that if they take care of their D zone and limit their turnovers, they’ll have success.

Against Kelowna last weekend, it was two short lapses in the defensive zone that led to quick pairs of goals by the Chiefs. Those quick pairs of opportunities that were converted by the Chiefs offense was all they needed to slip past the Steam by 2-1 and 3-2 scores on Friday and Saturday respectively.

The first, Friday night at home, was two instances that Summerland was stopped in the neutral zone. The first goal, by Jaden McNulty, was a beauty solo effort off a turnover in the neutral zone. The other, a re-direction from Jace Woodley, was a failed clearing attempt at the defensive blue line that ended up behind Steam goaltender Jake Mullen.

Both instances are avoidable, and if the Steam can begin to eliminate their turnovers on their side of center, they’ll be just fine. “60 minutes” is something you hear from Head Coach John Depourcq just about every night on our home broadcast, and the past two games have been proof that even if you take 2 or 3 minutes off, it can cost you.

On Saturday night it was two quick goals at the beginning of the 2nd period that undid the Steam and put them in a hole they couldn’t climb out of. They tried, but couldn’t beat Brady Lenardon, who is the 2nd best goaltender in the KIJHL with a 1.71 GAA and .931 GAA. Those numbers are sparkling, and he proved over the two game mini-series last weekend that they’re no fluke.

Any other year those numbers are #1 with a bullet.He’s 2nd, only because Kimberley goaltender Tyson Brouwer is clearly not human. Numbers, I’m sure, are partially due to the quality of the team in front of him, but he’s posted an otherworldly slash line with a 1.41 GAA / .950 sv% & 4 shutouts so far in 12 starts.

As for Summerland, after a good week of practice, the Steam turn their attention to the Princeton Posse on Saturday night. They’ll be looking to get back on track and back in the win column before a home date with the Nelson Leafs on Sunday afternoon.

In their last meeting with the Posse two Sunday’s ago, the Steam came away with a slump-busting 8-0 win. In that game, they took advantage of a dogged Princeton team who was playing their 3rd game in 2 1/2 days, and only sent 12 shots in the direction of Summerland goaltender Matthew Huber. It was Summerland’s chance to bust out of a

CAUTION: You won’t see that Princeton team on Saturday night. Guaranteed.

Princeton is a team that works very, very hard each and every night and is tenacious when playing in their own building on a small ice surface. They’re a hard working, blue collar team led by the likes of Drew Carter, Thomas Cankovic and 16 year old defenseman Sunil Sahota.

Carter, who previously played for Head Coach and GM Geoff Goodman last season in Osoyoos before being traded to Nelson, is the Posse’s leading scorer with 13 points through 16 games played. The real leader though is captain Cody Lassiter. Lassiter plays the type of hard working, blue collar, ‘work ’til the bell tolls’ type of game that has become synonymous with the Princeton Posse organization, and it rubs off on his teammates.

They sit in 4th place in the Okangan Division at the moment, but don’t expect them to stay there too long. They seem to improve every time I see them play or watch video of their games, and they give teams a good game every time they step on the ice. Their goaltending is far better than the numbers suggest, and can steal a game from any team at any point, so Summerland will definitely have to take care of their own zone and capitalize on their opportunities.

Puck drop goes at 7PM on Saturday night at the OK Corral in Princeton, otherwise known as the Princeton & District Arena.

STEAM COME UP EMPTY IN WEEKEND PAIR WITH CHIEFS

Sitting here on Wednesday and looking back, it wasn’t a banner weekend for the Summerland Steam. After an 8-0 rout of the Princeton Posse the previous Sunday to bump a 4 game losing skid, things were looking up as the Steam and the Kelowna Chiefs embarked on a home and home series this past weekend.

Trailing by 2 points in the standings to start the weekend, the Chiefs came into Friday’s game hungry to make the jump over the Steam in the Okanagan Division, and the Steam were going to do their best to NOT let that happen. Both teams were eager to get their season series started after an extremely tough (and entertaining) 7 game series in last year’s playoffs, and it showed early on. Summerland came out with a purpose, and controlled the play in the first couple of minutes. Steam captain Paulsen Lautard had the best chance, as he was hauled down on a partial break and awarded a penalty shot. He came in with speed, made a good move, but was thwarted by Chiefs’ goaltender Brady Lenardon, who moved to his right to close off the blocker side.

The penalty shot in the first period was the most intriguing part, as not a whole lot more happened and the period ended in a scoreless draw. Both teams had sequences of pressure in the first frame, with Summerland holding the edge in CorsiFor% at 58% despite the teams only combining for 16 shots on net.

Unfortunately, on Friday night, a bad 3 minute stretch in the second period was all Kelowna needed to capitalize for two quick goals. Jaden McNulty would score the first for the Chiefs, a beautiful solo effort that led to beating new Steam goaltender Jake Mullen high glove side to give the Chiefs the lead. Just over two minutes later Jace Woodley would add to the lead, tipping a Kevin Roth shot past Mullen from the slot.

Both goals could have been prevented on the part of the Summerland Steam with a clean pass through the neutral zone, but Kelowna did a great job of getting in passing lanes and clogging the middle of ice. This prevented the Steam access to the offensive zone, and allowed the Chiefs to force the two turnovers necessary to go up 2-0.

Riley Pettitt would pull the Steam within one late in the period, beating Brady Lenardon with a shot on the low blocker side through a bit of a screen. After some good work by both teams in the period, we entered the break with a 2-1 score in favour of the Chiefs, although the Steam led 17-13 on the shot clock.

In the third both teams saw chances at the opposing net, but neither could convert and the Chiefs would take a 2-1 victory in the first of two games on the weekend. In game #2 on Saturday night, Summerland didn’t fare much better. Again, the effort was there, they just couldn’t convert.

On the road you always want to get off to a good start, and much like Kelowna did in Summerland on Friday night, the Steam did get off to a good start on Saturday. They had several chances in the Kelowna end in the first eight minutes of the hockey game, but things started to clog up and slow down after the two teams started taking some penalties.

Dakota Kittle opened the scoring for the Kelowna Chiefs on the powerplay with just over two minutes to play in the first period. Jaden McNulty picked up an assist on the powerplay tally, on a play where Kittle was just trying to push the puck to the slot. Instead of reaching a Chiefs’ teammate, the puck found the back of Summerland goaltender Jake Mullen’s leg and crawled into the back of the net.

The first period would end in a 1-0 lead for Kelowna as the teams combined for just 7 shots on goal. The second period started out with a little more purpose, however, as Kelowna scored two goals in under two minutes to start the period to extend their lead to 3-0. Again, two quick goals against had Summerland in a deep hole that was going to be tough to climb out of.

Keenan Scott would get the Steam on the board just over halfway through the second period to cut the Kelowna lead to 2. Scott’s goal, his first in the KIJHL, was a great shot from the left wing. At 4-on-4, Scott was able to take a pass from Lathan McKinney and get loose down the left wing, making a good shot to beat Lenardon up high.

The Steam were unable to close the gap any further in the final half of the second period, however, despite having a ton of chances in front of the Kelowna net. They carried the strong play through to the third, and converted on a chance just 5 minutes in. The Yukon line, back together for the first time in a couple of games, found themselves with the puck deep down in the Kelowna zone. After a brief cycle, the puck came to the slot where Wyatt Gale had a shot at the net. His shot was stopped by Lenardon, but he and Jarrett Malchow followed up, and Gale ended up burying the rebound to close the gap to 1. That’s as close as they would get though, and the Chiefs skated away with a 3-2 win and sole possession of 2nd place in the Okanagan Division.

Despite the result, once again, Summerland’s effort was good. They were without their captain, Paulsen Lautard, who was a late scratch, and it hurt them. Lautard is a dynamic hockey player who forms one third of one of the best lines in the KI this year of he, Jack Mills and Braden Eliuk, and hopefully he won’t be out of the lineup long.

The Steam will be hard at work at practice this week before going to Princeton for a Halloween date with the Princeton Posse on Saturday night. They will then play host to the Nelson Leafs on Sunday at 2PM at the Summerland Arena.

STEAM TO DEBUT NEW SIGNING AGAINST CHIEFS

Jacob Mullen during his time with the Kamloops Storm. Photo: Kamloopsthisweek.com

The Summerland Steam have added ’95 goaltender Jacob Mullen to their active roster ahead of Friday night’s divisional tilt with the Kelowna Chiefs. Mullen, who recently returned from a brief stint with the Okotoks Oilers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, spent last season split between the Grand Forks Border Bruins and the Kamloops Storm. During the regular season Mullen played 28 games with the last place Border Bruins, still managing to put up a .906 sv% on a team that didn’t win a game after the middle of November. At the January trading deadline, Mullen was traded to the Kamloops Storm where he posted a 2.10 GAA and .925 sv% in 11 regular season starts.

In the playoffs, the 20 year old netminder posted a 2.34 GAA and a .926 Sv% with the Storm, marching through to the league final. In that league final it was battle of the goaltenders, as Mullen went head to head with Tyson Brouwer of the Kimberley Dynamiters. The Storm came up 2 wins short of the KIJHL championship as a result, and Mullen was their star during the playoffs.

The Steam hope that Mullen, a native of Coeur D’Alene, ID, can step in and form a platoon with goaltender Matt Huber. Huber has performed admirably and has seen a heavy workload in the past two weeks after the departure of Austin Wells, and the addition of Mullen should make the Steam a better team.

STEAM, CHIEFS SET FOR FIRST OF EIGHT

By the time the Summerland Steam and the Kelowna Chiefs take the ice at the Summerland Arena on Friday night, it’ll have been 237 days since they paid any mind to one another. The two played an exhibition contest early in the year, but that really isn’t a reflection on the rivalry between them. The last time the two teams squared off in a meaningful game was Game 7 of the first round of the KIJHL playoffs on February 28. After a hard fought seven game series, Summerland moved on with a 2-1 win in Game 7 thanks to two goals from Jack Mills.

Fast forward through those 237 days and we sit at Friday night, when the Steam host the Chiefs in the first of eight meetings this season. The two teams have started the 2015/16 KIJHL season in very similar fashion, sitting 2nd and 3rd respectively, and separated by just 2 points (though Kelowna has a game in hand). The numbers for the two teams, nearly identical, would tell you that we’re in for a very close pair of games between the two this weekend. Kelowna will have the edge in goaltending with a team goals against average that sits 6th in the KIJHL heading into the weekend, while Summerland will have the edge in offense with the 6th ranked offense in the KIJHL.

Summerland has had no trouble scoring goals so far this season, but they’ve had some struggles preventing them at times. That’ll have to be taken care of tonight as Kelowna doesn’t give up much in the way of goals against, just 2.33 per game. The goaltending combination of Brady Lenardon and Josh Tetlichi, who spent training camp with the Steam, have been superb for Head Coach Jason Tansem so far this season. It’s only a matter of time before their offense kicks in and starts scoring some goals for them.

With the likes of Josh Kobelka, Ryan Lawson, and Jonathan Lee returning coupled with new guys Jaden McNulty, Tyler Love and the Dale brothers (Brayden & 16 yr old Brody), It’s GOING to happen. The 2.92 clip that Kelowna is scoring at so far this season is something that Summerland has to pay no attention to, because the talent is there and seems like the visitors could explode for an outburst at any moment.

Summerland’s #1 goal in these two games this weekend should be their own defensive zone. If they can contain their own zone like they did on Sunday against Princeton, they’ll be successful. They’ve been scoring goals at a solid pace this season, averaging 3.67 GPG, and that starts in their own zone. The first pass is the key for the Steam, and if they can make a solid first pass and break out of their own zone cleanly they’ll have success.

Kelowna has arguably the top defenseman in the division in 20 year old veteran Kevin Roth, as well as veterans Josh Johnston and Josh Baird back there, so scoring will not be as easy as it sounds. Summerland will need to use the rush to their advantage off their defensive zone breakout, as well as establish a forecheck early in the game to get the Kelowna D turned around and chasing the puck. I’d expect tonight’s game to be tight, physical, and a whole lot of fun no matter who you are.

You’ll see familiar faces in both lineups, as Kelowna’s returned 10 players from last season while Summerland’s returned a total of 13. These players are certainly familiar with each other, and there is definitely no love lost. It’ll be interesting to see who sets the tone early in tonight’s game, as both teams will certainly want to.

Kelowna is coming off mixed results in their last 2 games, drawing both by scores of 1-1 (Revelstoke) on October 16, and 3-3 (Castlegar) on October 18. Summerland, meanwhile, is also coming off mixed results last weekend. They lost 2-1 in Kamloops on Friday night before laying the smack down on Princeton on Sunday by a score of 8-0 in a game they allowed Matt Huber to see just 12 shots.

The second of the eight meetings will be played Saturday night at the Rutland Arena as the back end of a home and home this weekend. Puck drop on Friday night is 7:30 in Summerland, and the game is presented by IGA Summerland. They’ll be on hand with giveaways, contests and prizes to give away. Tickets can be picked up at the door for $10 for adults and $8 for students (7-17) and seniors. Children 6&under are FREE when accompanied by an adult.

STEAM PUT BOOTS TO POSSE, END 4 GAME SLIDE

For the past week and a half leading up to Sunday’s home date with the Princeton Posse, the Summerland Steam were doing all the right things. Unfortunately, doing all the right things doesn’t always compute to the desired results, and the Steam found themselves losers of their last 4 games. It wasn’t for lack of trying. The effort was there, as shown by strong possession numbers, they just couldn’t catch a bounce and win a game.

It all came together for them on Sunday evening against the Princeton Posse. From the drop of the opening face-off, the Summerland Steam had the upper hand and asserted dominance early by controlling the puck and establishing their forecheck.

Jarrett Malchow scored the game’s opening goal just under 12 minutes into the game at the end of a Steam powerplay. As the penalty expired, a combined effort from Wyatt Gale and Braden Eliuk sent the puck to the front of the net where Malchow picked it up and slid it five-hole on Posse goaltender Zak Babin to give the home team the advantage. Malchow’s line, made up of 2 parts Yukon line (Malchow, Gale) and a defenceman (Cole Williams at C), combined for 11 points en route to an 8-0 drubbing of the Princeton Posse.

Not long after the Malchow opener, Cole Williams picked up his first of three on the night to open the lead to 2-0. Williams got loose up the middle of the ice while Malchow carried the puck up the right wing boards. It materialized into a 2-on-1 and Williams was the finisher, beating Babin on the blocker side.

Calvin Hadley would round out the period’s scoring with :14 left in the frame, firing a slapper that got a piece of something before fluttering over the outstretched glove of Posse goaltender Zak Babin.

Summerland outshot the Posse 12-3 in the first period, and continued the onslaught in the second with two more goals. Adam Jones notched his first of the season with a long shot that beat a screened Babin. Cole Williams would add to the lead for the Steam with just under 9 minutes to play in the second period, stretching the lead to 5-0 and effectively ending Zak Babin’s night.

Keenan Scott started the play from his own zone with a long stretch pass to Wyatt Gale, who chipped the puck down the left wing into the corner before skating onto it and finding Williams, who went up top with a backhand chip shot for his second of the game.

Chandler Billinghurst would take over for the Posse after the 5-0 goal, but wouldn’t fare much better. Wyatt Gale made it 6-0 Summerland early in the third period on a 2-on-0 with Jarrett Malchow. After Malchow blew past a defenseman down the right wing, Gale did a good job to turn on the jets up the middle of the ice to match Malchow stride for stride and take a pass he could put up over Billinghurst for his 2nd of the season.

Cody Egilson would then get in on the act, collecting his 3rd goal of the season on a great individual effort. Calvin Rout and Calvin Hadley did good work on the neutral zone wall to get the puck loose, and Egilson was off to the races. Egilson moved down the right wing enough to get around the defenceman, cut across the front of the net, and beat a sprawling Chandler Billinghurst up high to take the Steam lead to 7-0.

Cole Williams would then complete the hat trick, but not without some help. It started in the defensive zone when Posse forward Tristan Vandermuelen attempted to go around Steam defender Lathan McKinney. He was met with a strong hip check that knocked the puck loose, and Keenan Scott was able to find Wyatt Gale up the left wing. He was one on one with a Posse defender until Williams came streaking up the middle of the ice. Gale was able to cut wide and draw the defender before feeding Williams in the slot, where he was able to force a puck through the pads of the Princeton keeper and round out the scoring at 8-0.

At the final buzzer it ended as a Summerland win, and a 12 save shutout for Matt Huber. You didn’t hear his name much in this game story because there really wasn’t much for Huber to do on this night. He faced three shots in the first period, three in the second, and six in the third, none of which were of the dangerous variety. The closest the puck came to crossing his goal line all night was in the first period when it got stuck in his skates while trying to play it, and almost carried right back into his own net as he skated back to it.

Summerland did good work on Sunday night in making sure they took care of their own zone. They didn’t spend much time in their own zone, but the time they did spent was spent well. They had no problems making the first pass out of their zone and keeping the exits clean over the blue line. This led to all the odd man rushes and what I would definitely call a long night for the Princeton goaltenders. Jarrett Malchow collected 1g, 3a in the contest, while Wyatt Gale did the same and Cole Williams added three goals. Calvin Hadley finished the night with his first two points of the season as well, and Riley Pettitt added an assist to his total for the year.

Summerland will now turn their attention to the Kelowna Chiefs, who they haven’t seen in meaningful game action since Game 7 of the first round of the 2015.16 KIJHL Okanagan Division playoffs. The two teams played once early in the pre-season with Summerland taking an 8-6 win, but that doesn’t mean much.

Summerland and Kelowna will play a home and home this weekend, with Friday night’s contest coming at 7:30 at the Summerland Arena and Saturday’s 7PM date goes at the Rutland Arena in Kelowna.

STEAM CONTINUE LOSING STREAK WITH LOSS IN KAMLOOPS

Another Friday night, and another great effort from the Summerland Steam. Unfortunately, it resulted in a 2-1 loss to the Kamloops Storm. Much like their losses last weekend in Castlegar and Nelson, the Summerland Steam deserved better on Friday night at McArthur Park.

The first period had great flow to it and saw some chances at both ends, but both goaltenders were solid and the score stayed tied at 0 until the buzzer. Matt Huber got the nod for the Steam, and was exceptionally good when the Steam needed him, stopping 25 of the 27 shots he faced on the night. Tavin Grant was his opposition at the other end though, and the 17 year old Kamloops netminder was just one shot better.

Goals by Dante Raposo and Tre Sales in the second period were enough to halt the Steam despite a 28 shot effort that saw them win the possession battle with a 55% Corsi%. Raposo opened the scoring with 11:47 gone in the 2nd period after he got between two Summerland defenders and found his way to the net. With a defender on his back, Raposo almost didn’t get enough on his backhand shot as he moved to Huber’s left, but he got just enough of it for the puck to squeak across the line for a 1-0 Kamloops lead. Levi Johnson and Dario Piva assisted on Raposo’s 9th of the season that gave the Storm the first goal of the contest.

Sales would add to the lead just 2:55 later after a long stretch pass sent him down the right wing. He was able to beat Huber on the blocker side to extend Kamloops’ lead to 2-0, which would hold until the end of the second period. Wilson Northey and Austin Crossley assisted on Sales’ 9th of the season to double the lead for the Storm heading to the third period.

In that third period, it was all Steam. Summerland came out with a purpose, and controlled the majority of play. They finally broke through with exactly 11 minutes left, cutting the Kamloops lead to just 1. Adam Jones started the play from his own end of the ice, passing up the left wing wall in the neutral zone to a waiting Cole Williams. Williams, usually a defenceman but playing forward for the past few games, took the pass and carried over the blue line into the Kamloops zone.

He looked for a pass across the goalmouth, and when he couldn’t find one he skated the puck around the back of the net. He wrapped the puck on the net of Tavin Grant, and the rebound popped loose to a waiting Jarrett Malchow who banged home his 4th of the season. All of Malchow’s goals have come in the last 5 games, and he’s been an incredibly important part of the Summerland offense as of late.

Malchow’s marker gave the Steam some life, and on the next shift they continued their attack in the offensive zone. As the puck came around into the corner to the right of goaltender Tavin Grant, Malchow was hard on the forecheck and absolutely planted his man into the boards with a hard, clean shoulder to shoulder check. The puck was there, the hit was clean, but Malchow was still penalized for boarding, significantly limiting Summerland’s attempt at tying the hockey game. They got through the kill and got back to work, but couldn’t beat Tavin Grant again to get the game tied.

Kamloops skated away with a 2-1 victory, their 6th in a row. For Summerland it goes down as their 4th consecutive loss, but three of those losses could have been victories with one more bounce. They’re in a ‘hard-luck’ kind of time right now, and will look to bounce out of it with a Sunday home date with the Princeton Posse.

Despite the record over the past 5 games (1-4), the Steam have to feel positive with the effort they’ve put in. They’ve been in every game but one, and sooner or later the bounces are going to come their way. Their possession numbers are good, they’re still driving play to the front of the opposing net, they’re just having a tough time burying their chances. It will come, and hopefully it starts with that 5:30 home date with the Princeton Posse on Sunday afternoon.

Mike, Joel and I will be ready to bring you all the action starting with our pre-game show staring at 5:15PM ahead of the 5:30 puck drop. We’ll talk to Steam Head Coach John Depourcq as well as (hopefully) Posse Head Coach and GM Geoff Goodman ahead of puck drop as well as have a look at the weekend’s KIJHL action.

STEAM RIDE INTO THE STORM IN SEARCH OF A VICTORY

After starting the week on a sour note in Osoyoos on Wednesday, the Summerland Steam will look to snap a 3 game losing streak when they visit the Doug Birks Division leading Kamloops Storm on Friday night. It will be Summerland’s one and only visit to McArthur Park this season, with the return matchup taking place December 11th in Summerland. Historically, Summerland has had minimal success against the Kamloops Storm. In 8 games between the two teams in Summerland Steam history, they carry a 3-4-0-1 record into Kamloops on Friday night with a -2 goals against differential. This would tell me that throughout the past 4 seasons the matchups have been fairly close, and I would expect no different when the two teams take the ice tonight.

Kamloops is off to a hot start. The 2014/15 Okanagan/Shuswap Conference Champions had quite the turnover rate to start the 2015/16 KIJHL season having very few returnees from their championship team last season. Head Coach Ed Patterson and his staff, along with GM Barry Dewar, do a great job every season of scouting and signing quality players, making the Storm a perennial powerhouse in the Doug Birks Division and the KIJHL. They’re always near the top of the standings, and this season is no different. Led by youngsters Robb Johnson (5+8=13pts) and Dario Piva (5g+8a=13pts), both born in 1998, the Storm are at the top of the Doug Birks Division with a 5 point cushion over the 2nd place Chase Heat just 12 games into the KIJHL Season.

Looking at the roster for Kamloops, it really is quite remarkable that they are where they are. Not only are they the top of the division in the Shuswap, but they’ve only got 1 player born in 1995 (20 year old) and 2 born in 1996. The rest are born in 1997 or later, including 15 year old Ryan Chyzowski, who is a player born in May of 2000 and doesn’t turn 16 until May 5 and recorded his first point (a goal) in his first KIJHL game on October 9.

By the numbers, which you can find HERE, the Summerland Steam and the Kamloops Storm match up well. The difference may well come down to goaltending, an area where Kamloops excels and Summerland has struggled of late. As you can see by that stat graph, Kamloops rides the goaltending of two ’98 born goaltenders, Tavin Grant and Spencer Eschyschyn, to the 4th best goals against average in the league. By the looks of those stats Kamloops isn’t going to set the inside of the net on fire by any means, but with a 2.17 team goals against average, they’re going to win a lot of games. When all you need to do is score 3 goals to win, life gets made pretty easy, and that’s where Kamloops is at right now.

Summerland, on the other hand, is having no problem scoring goals or carrying great possession numbers. Over the past 4 games their only negative possession numbers have come in the 2nd and 3rd periods of Wednesday night’s 7-2 loss to the Coyotes. Summerland’s struggle at the particular moment is in their defensive zone, and after watching practice last night I can tell you their working at it. A middling team goals against average (3.45 GA per game, 12th in the league) is no reflection of the goaltending Summerland has been getting from Matthew Huber and Austin Wells. That goals against average is a direct reflection of Summerland’s defensive zone play, which has been less than stellar of late. They’ve been working on their zone exits in practice, and if they can get out of their defensive zone cleanly and limit their turnovers, they’re going to be just fine.

Their offense is clicking at a solid clip with Jack Mills and Paulsen Lautard leading the way in the points category. I’d argue that the most important line though is Riley Pettitt’s line. No matter who the coaching staff puts on either side of Pettitt, they seem to drive offensive zone time and draw the toughest matchup from other teams. This gives Mills, Lautard et all the opportunity to put up points without having the toughest defensive matchup, and Pettitt’s line still puts up their fair share of points despite an always tough defensive matchup.

Some good news for the Summerland Steam is they’ll have their leading scorer in the lineup on Friday night. After taking a hit from behind from Osoyoos Coyotes’ Forward Hunter Johnston on Wednesday night, Steam forward Jack Mills was off to the hospital to get stitched up. It took 17 stitches to close about an inch long gash above his right eye, but he says he’s “good to go” and will be in the lineup on Friday night in Kamloops.

The Steam will be without forwards Braden Eliuk (shoulder), Andrew York (Shoulder), and Michael McLean (Concussion), as per team GM Gregg Wilson. You can also expect to see young AP goaltender Nathan Spark backup Matthew Huber again tonight, as Austin Wells won’t be in the lineup. Unless something’s changed since practice last night, expect Matt Huber to get the nod between the pipes for the Steam.

Puck drop is 7PM from McArthur Park, and make sure you tune in to the Kamloops broadcast on PlayFullScreen, as in the past it’s been one of the best in the KIJHL.

STEAM COME UP DRY IN THE DESERT

After winning 1 out of 3 on a Kootenay swing last weekend, the Summerland Steam were hoping to start their week off on a positive note on Wednesday night in Osoyoos. The Coyotes and the Steam have had a long standing rivalry, dating back to the inception of the two “new” franchises in 2010/11 and 2011/12 respectively. It’s been a one sided rivalry of late, with Summerland coming out winless in the past 9 meetings, not including exhibition and playoff games.

Wednesday night didn’t start off any better for the visitors from Summerland, as Osoyoos’ top line of Bobby Larue, Rainer Glimpel and Braeden Tuck got things started for the ‘Yotes just 20 seconds into the contest. Tuck scored the opener by beating Steam starter Matt Huber at the 19:40 mark of the first period, assisted by Larue and Glimpel.

Cole Williams would tie the game up just 2:03 into the game on a wraparound, but that would be all they would get. Matthew Monk recorded another assist on the Williams goal, continuing his near point per game pace early in the season.

After a period the Steam and the Coyotes were tied at 1, and the Steam held the edge in shots 14-11. Each team had a few scoring chances in the first period, but both Matt Huber and ‘Yotes goaltender Brett Soles were solid in the crease. The first period saw a little bit of everything. Lots of physicality, a good flow of play, no penalties and good, clean hockey.

That changed quickly in the early stages of the second period. After Austin Cleaver notched his first KIJHL goal, the Steam were dealt a hefty blow when Coyotes’ forward Hunter Johnston was assessed a 5-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct after a nasty hit square to the numbers of Summerland’s Jack Mills. The Steam’s leading scorer, Mills was escorted off the ice and straight to the hospital for stitches after the dasher boards opened up a near inch long cut above his right eye. He didn’t return to the game, and the Steam suffered because of it.

Not only were they without their leading scorer for the rest of the night, the Steam also got themselves into penalty trouble. They only managed one shot on net in the 5 minute powerplay that resulted in an early shower for Johnston, and even took a penalty of their own to take 2 of those 5 minutes away. Once the major penalty was over, the parade to the penalty box started for Summerland.

It took Daniel Stone only 8 seconds to cash in on the first powerplay of the night for the Coyotes’, which put them up 3-1 and firmly in the driver’s seat. They never looked back. Braeden Tuck would add his 2nd of the night with :23 left in the second period to put Summerland in a 3 goal deficit heading to the third period.

In that third, the Coyotes’ added onto their lead. Cleaver picked up his 2nd just under 3 minutes into the period before goals by Bobby Larue and Rainer Glimpel rounded out the Coyotes’ side of the scorecard. Jarrett Malchow would add his third of the season for the Steam late in the third period, but it was unfortunately too little, too late as the Steam fell 7-2.

THOUGHTS:

  • The Coyotes were far superior on this night, and pushed their regular season unbeaten streak against the Steam to an even 10 dating back to last season. The top line of Braeden tuck, Bobby Larue and Rainer Glimpel combined for 10 points and continued their dominance over the KIJHL. Rainer Glimpel, the Coyotes’ captain, seems to be the cog that runs the machine, as his 4 points tonight push his total to 25 on the season in 10GP and send him rocketing to the top of the KIJHL scoring list.
  • On the bright side for the Summerland Steam, Matthew Sokol had quite possibly his best game to date for the Steam, and collected his first KIJHL point with an assist on Malchow’s third period marker.
  • Matthew Monk, Keenan Scott, and Brogan Lautard continued to show why they keep getting put in Head Coach John Depourcq’s lineup night in and night out. All were noticeable in tonight’s game.
  • After the Mills injury, and without forward Braden Eliuk, the Steam’s lineup went into the mixer. Raphael Bassot got a look in the top six for a brief period and didn’t look out of place. He skates extremely well, hits like a Mac truck, and plays the kind of 200-foot game that will keep him in Coach Depourcq’s lineup for the forseeable future, in my opinion.
  • Alex Williams returned the Steam lineup after missing last weekend’s games with a busted up hand. He was egged into a fight by Coyotes’ D-man Jake Hryhoriw (Rye-Hor-Ee) in the late stages of the second period, and held his own for a few moments before the much bigger Hryhoriw took over.
  • Summerland were without 20 year old goaltender Austin Wells on the night. AP Goaltender Nathan Spark got a chance to get in the game after the Coyotes’ notched their 6th goal of the night with around 13 minutes to play.
  • Matt Huber was good for the Steam, particularly early on, despite the score. The coaching staff gave him the mercy pull in the third period after the Coyotes scored their 6th goal on the night, simply because Huber was receiving very little help in his own zone.
  • Summerland was very good early in the game in ensuring they kept the puck clear of the front of the net. They were also making clean zone exits which led to odd-man rushes and good scoring chances in the first period. They weren’t so good in that department in the final 2 periods, and that’s what caused the score to inflate the way it did.
  • The Steam will now turn their attention to the Kamloops Storm, whom they visit for the one and only time this season on Friday night. They will return home Sunday for a 5:30PM start against the division rival Princeton Posse.

STEAM TAKE 1 OF 3 ON KOOTENAY SWING; DESERVED BETTER

While the Summerland Steam didn’t get the results they wanted on a 3 game swing through the Kootenays this weekend, the effort was there. After a win in Beaver Valley on Friday night where they put 49 shots on goal, the Steam followed up the effort with a 40 shot performance in Castlegar on Saturday night. That one resulted in a 5-3 loss that saw Matthew Monk collect his first KIJHL goal with a rocket of a slap shot on the powerplay in the third period. Paulsen Lautard also recorded his 9th of the season and Jarrett Malchow notched his first of the campaign in the defeat.

Saturday night in Castlegar was just “one of those nights”. A night where Summerland did everything right, and just ran into a hot goaltender. That goaltender was Joseph McLeod, who absolutely stood on his head all night long for the Rebels in stopping 37 (more, in my opinion) shots in the victory. McLeod made about 6 of what people in the hockey world call ‘five-alarm’ saves, which are saves that generally goaltenders have no business making. He was outstanding, and with a little help from Darren Medeiros, Nick Headrick and the gang the Rebels came away with the 5-3 victory while recording just 23 shots on goal.

When I watch away games and don’t call them on webcasts, I do my best to count shots on goal, shots that miss the target, and shots that are blocked in an effort to help the coaching staff and management team get an idea of possession time. In that Saturday night game in Castlegar my totals were 48 on net, 27 misses, and 8 blocks by the Castlegar defense. That’s 83 attempts at the net in 60 minutes, which is an extremely high number in the world of advanced stats in hockey. Castlegar was credited with 23 shots on net in the game. I had them actually at 32 on net, 16 misses, and 4 blocks by Summerland defenders for a total of 52 shot attempts. These are numbers I use to help get what’s called a Corsi %, which basically means I take the total amount of shot attempts for both teams, and calculate a percentage for which team maintained possession the best based on those shot attempts.  In the game on Saturday night, Summerland’s Corsi% was 61.5%, which is nearly 7% higher than what advanced stats guys would call an ‘elite level corsi number.

By the numbers, Summerland dominated the hockey game, and that’s what it looked like while watching it. They were swarming the Castlegar zone for much of the night, but they couldn’t beat McLeod.

**If Advanced Stats in hockey are something you’re curious about but also terrify you (like they did for me when I started looking into them) here’s a great crash course on this particular metric.

After Saturday night, the Steam were looking to finish the weekend strong on Sunday in Nelson. The effort was once again there, but two defensive miscues cost the Steam the game in a 4-2 loss that the Nelson Star called “A paddling they won’t soon forget.” This is the first time in all the years I’ve been in hockey that a 4-2 game with an empty net insurance goal where the winning team got outshot 33-29 was considered “A paddling” that the losing team will never forget.

Check out the article, if you wish. In it the Star notes that “The Nelson Leafs refuse to fall to the Summerland Stream”. Yes, the Stream. A credible news source the Nelson Star may be (They’re usually fantastic), but they sure didn’t proof read the article, let alone watch the game. In it, the Summerland Steam were the better team for nearly the full 60 minutes. Summerland was credited with 33 shots on net in the game by the official scoresheet while the Leafs were given credit for 29. By my count the Leafs directed 36 shots on Steam starter Matt Huber, who was very good in this hockey game. The Leafs also missed the net 18 times and had 9 shots blocked by Summerland defenders.

On the other side, Summerland directed 41 shots at Leafs’ netminder Patrick Ostermann, who was very good in this game as well. In addition to the 41 shots the Steam put on net, they missed the net 21 times and had 14 shots blocked by Leafs’ defenders.

The numbers would state that the Summerland Steam were the better team in the game on Sunday afternoon, posting a 55% possession stat, but in the end the only thing that matters is the scoreboard, and the Steam let one slip away.

Riley Pettitt opened the scoring for the Steam in the first period with his fifth of the season. Jarrett Malchow and Brogan Lautard drew assists on the tally and gave the Steam a 1-0 lead after a period. Pettitt’s fifth of the season in just his 9th game brings him nearly halfway to his 2014/15 season total of 11.

In the second period the Leafs showed a little pushback and came out strong. Early in the period, a great shift by former 100 Mile House Wrangler and Kimberley Dynamiter, now Leaf Tyler Garcia, led to the Leafs’ first goal of the game. After Garcia made a couple of big hits in the neutral zone to free the puck, Brendan Smith found Nolan Percival, who beat Matt Huber for his first of the KIJHL season.

The goal, just 2:16 into the middle frame, tied the game at 1 and gave the Leafs the momentum they needed. The Steam continued to push, but Patrick Ostermann did a good job in the Leafs net to stay square and make the saves he needed to make to keep the Leafs in the game.

The Leafs would take the lead late in the 2nd period, when Nick Ketola found a seam in the Summerland defense and was able to convert on a partial breakaway to give the Leafs a 2-1 lead after 2 periods.

In the third, Summerland again came out with a purpose. The two teams were extremely physical with one another all night long, and a hit along the boards in the Nelson zone led to the 2nd Summerland goal. Matthew Monk was the benefactor after Wyatt Gale made a hit on the boards to prevent a Leafs’ player from clearing the puck. Monk was able to take a screened shot from the blue line that Leafs’ goaltender Patrick Ostermann didn’t see until it was too late, and Monk’s 2nd in consecutive games tied the game at 2.

The score would stay that way despite chances at both ends until the 7:12 mark of the third period when Leafs’ Captain Rayce Miller collected his 3rd goal of the season. It gave the Leafs the lead they needed on a defensive hiccup by the Summerland defense that ended up costing them the game.

Eammon Miller would add an empty net goal to round out the score at 4-2 with just :06 on the clock, sealing a Nelson victory despite Summerland’s best effort. After the 3-2 goal on the defensive mishap, the Steam did everything in their power to re-tie the score but were unsuccessful.

In all, the Summerland Steam will be disappointed with the 1-2 record they come home from the Kootenays with this weekend, but they shouldn’t be disappointed in their effort. In their 3 games in 2 1/2 days, they posted possession numbers of 60.5% (@BV), 61.5%(@CG), and 55%(NEL), which means they have the puck A LOT. When you have the puck a lot you stand a chance night in and night out, and the Steam proved that this weekend. If they can keep the positive possession numbers up and refine their defensive zone play, they’re going to have a lot of success this season. We’re only 9 games in and all teams are still working on Team Chemistry, and I think in Summerland it’s coming along nicely.

Thoughts:

  • Possession numbers are a great metric to use to look at areas where you can improve, and these numbers show that Summerland has some work to do in the defensive zone.
  • Jack Mills had another great weekend for the Steam, collecting 4A in 3GP and bringing his point total to 18 in 9GP.
  • Matthew Monk finally collected his first KIJHL goal on Saturday night in Castlegar. It was an absolute rocket of a shot on the powerplay in the third period. Monk has been arguably Summerland’s best rookie through 9 games, and he’s had several chances. It was great to see him convert one. He followed up with another goal Sunday afternoon against Nelson, as well.
  • Matt Huber was solid in both of his starts on the weekend. the 18 year old netminder allowed 6 in the 2 starts, but 4 came on defensive turnovers within 20 feet of his net.
  • It was great to see the Yukon line come up big when needed over the weekend. All three (Pettitt, Gale, Malchow) recorded points in at least one of the three games and they continue to cause problems for opposing players on the forecheck.
  • Summerland sits second in the division as the weekend comes to a close after the Osoyoos Coyotes went 1-1 over the weekend. The ‘Yotes took a 4-1 loss in Revelstoke on Friday night before pounding on the Sicamous Eagles 7-1 on Sunday evening. Osoyoos still holds 1 game in hand, as well.
  • The Steam and the Coyotes will face off in a Wednesday Night Rivalry game this week in the desert. That game goes at the Sun Bowl Arena in Osoyoos at 7:35 on Wednesday night and as always when the two teams play, I recommend you find the time to get to the rink or at least catch Tom Shields and the crew on the Coyotes’ webcast.