ANOTHER 4 POINT WEEKEND PUTS STEAM BACK ON TRACK

It wasn’t that long ago on this blog that I was talking about the fact the Summerland Steam were going to be okay. They’d been playing good hockey, commanding the majority of possession and shots on goal, they just weren’t getting bounces. Their record was below .500%, but they deserved much better, and last weekend it finally all came together. The Steam picked up two wins against Princeton and Nelson on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, to bump a small losing skid. After winning one of their previous 7, Summerland was able to pick up 4 points and put the engine back on the track heading into this weekend.

They were looking to keep the momentum rolling in the right direction and continue their winning ways against the Kelowna Chiefs and Castlegar Rebels on Friday and Saturday. It turned out they were able to, dispatching the Kelowna Chiefs by a 5-1 score on Friday night, and shutting out the Castlegar Rebels by a 3-0 score on Saturday.

Matt Huber got the start on Saturday after Jacob Mullen picked up the W on Friday night. Huber wasn’t forced to be busy, making just 23 saves, but he did make a few very key saves to preserve his third straight goose egg and 4th of the season.

Summerland got off to a hot start again, taking it to the Rebels early in the game and jumping out to a 6-0 shot advantage in the first five minutes. Despite only seeing each other twice every other year, you could tell from the very beginning that the environment was hostile on the ice. Just over 3 minutes into the contest a fight broke out between Summerland’s Andrew York and Castlegar’s Luke Madge, seemingly out of nowhere. As the two skated towards the faceoff circle for a faceoff, one asked the other to go, and the gloves were cleaned up before we knew it. Neither York nor Madge strike you as a typical fighter, both being of relatively small stature, but Madge definitely got the best of York in the impromptu tilt.

With just over 7 minutes gone in the period the Steam would get on the board thanks to a hot shot from Calvin Rout. Rout took a beautiful pass from Michael MacLean in the slot and rifled the puck over Rebels goaltender Logan Sawka. The goal, Rout’s first KIJHL point, put Summerland up 1-0 and would turn out to be the eventual game winner.

Not long after Rout’s first KIJHL goal, it was Raphie Bassot’s turn to get in on the scoring action. The play started on the wall and in the corner, where Cody Egilson fed Riley Pettitt the puck. Pettitt was able to shake off a pair of Rebels’ defenders and find a wide open Bassot in the slot. He one timed the puck and found the back of the net for his first KIJHL goal, and the Steam had a 2-0 lead going to the break.

In the second period there wasn’t a whole lot of scoring chances either way, nor was there any scoring to speak of until the 16:28 mark of the period. At that mark it was another Steam rookie, Brogan Lautard, with his first KIJHL goal. The play started on a rush from Brogan and Paulsen Lautard with the elder Lautard, Paulsen, doing some good work to free the puck up to the front of the net for brother Brogan. Brogan made no mistake, getting three cracks at the puck in front of Logan Sawka to make the score climb to 3-0.

On the ensuing faceoff, Paulsen Lautard lined up with Chance Szott of the Rebels. Prior to the puck dropping, Szott asked Lautard if he wanted to fight. Lautard obliged, and the minute the puck dropped so did the gloves. Unfortunately, once the gloves dropped, so did Szott, as he decided he wanted no part of the much larger Paulsen Lautard. I’m not sure there was even a punch thrown in the ‘fight’, but both players were ejected and given a 5 minute major for fighting.

Besides a spear by Rebels’ Carson Wornig on Steam forward Riley Pettitt, there wasn’t a whole lot of action in the third period. On that play Wornig was assessed 4 minutes for spearing after hammering Pettitt in the ribs 3 or 4 times while the puck was underneath him. Pettitt was also assessed a delay of game penalty on the play.

Despite a comeback attempt by the Rebels, which didn’t go much of anywhere, the Steam walked out with a 3-0 win and outshot the visitors from Castlegar by a 41-23 total.

Summerland will now turn their attention to the 100 Mile House Wranglers, as they’ll play a “Home & Home” with the Wranglers next weekend. The first game, Friday night, will take place in 100 Mile House, with the second game being Summerland’s “Home” game, taking place in Williams Lake.

Summerland will return to the ice at the Summerland Arena on November 20 when they play the division rival Kelowna Chiefs.

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