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.

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