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.

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