For the second night in a row, the Summerland Steam did battle with the Osoyoos Coyotes on Wednesday night. This time the setting was the Sun Bowl Arena in Osoyoos, and after the biggest crowd of the year to date in Summerland on Tuesday, it was quite possibly the largest crowd to date in Osoyoos as well.
The result wasn’t kind to the Steam on Tuesday night at home, falling 4-0 to the division leading Coyotes. The ‘Yotes win puts them 6 points clear of the Steam in the Okanagan Division standings, and 4-0 in the season series vs Summerland.
The Steam were hoping to change that on Wednesday with their 3rd visit of the season to the Coyotes’ den. The visitors got off to a good start, putting three quick shots at ‘Yotes goaltender Brett Soles in the first two minutes of play.
The Coyotes would answer back, testing Steam starter Matt Huber with a couple of shots as well. Most of the ‘Yotes 12 shots in the period came from either long range or out wide, with Summerland doing a pretty good job to clog up the middle of the zone.
Each team had one full power play chance in the period, and Summerland would get another partial but were unable to capitalize. That partial power play came near the end of the period, but ultimately the highlight of the first frame was a spirited tilt between Summerland’s Michael MacLean and Osoyoos’ Hunter Johnson. Nobody really knows what sparked the tilt, as it happened WAY behind the play, but it was a fun tilt to watch nonetheless.
Summerland started the second period with :19 of PP time, but were unable to capitalize. Although they had a couple of great early shifts, the Coyotes opened the scoring just 2:55 into the period. The goal came on the first sustained pressure of the period from either team, as Carter Robinson was able to tip his 6th of the season past Matt Huber. The initial shot came from Steele Anderson at the point, who put a low, hard shot towards the net.
Summerland would get back even just 1:05 later thanks to the top line. Braden Eliuk made a great play to spring Paulsen Lautard and Jack Mills on a 2-on-1. Lautard came down the right wing and threaded the needle through to Mills, who beat Soles for his 19th of the season.
Just :31 after Summerland got back to even, Bobby Larue would score his 3rd goal in the past 2 games to restore the Coyotes lead. Cody Allen would then restore the lead when he beat Huber with a long shot from the point through traffic. His 6th of the season, assisted by Reid Wilson, capped off a stretch that saw 4 goals in just under 6 minutes between the two teams.
If a 3-1 lead wasn’t enough, Jackson Glimpel would add to it and make it 4-1 Coyotes just 1:35 after the Allen goal. Glimpel’s 8th of the season was assisted by Evan Loura and Judd Repole as Loura made a great goalmouth pass that Glimpel was able to tap in without much resistance from the Steam defense.
Just when it looked like Summerland might gain some life and pull themselves back together, they got themselves into penalty trouble. The Coyotes didn’t capitalize, but it put Summerland at a distinct disadvantage in getting back in the game.
Bobby Larue would notch his 2nd of the night and 19th of the season a little later in the period, with just 1:52 to go.
With Summerland already in penalty trouble, things didn’t get any easier for them when their best penalty killer was ejected from the hockey game with just :01 to play in the second period. As the puck was tied up along the wall, Coyotes captain Rainer Glimpel made a quick turn as Riley Pettitt was getting into the scrum. They came togther, and out of the pile was an ejection for checking from behind and a roughing minor to Pettitt, while the ‘Yotes Austin Cleaver was assessed a roughing minor as well.
After the dust settled on the second period, it wasn’t pretty for the Summerland Steam. Again, the period had good pace, but Osoyoos did a great job to connect on the chances while Summerland continued to take penalties and allow those chances.
The Coyotes power play wasn’t successful in the second period, but it certainly allowed the ‘Yotes to create chances and carry possession time through the majority of the period, outshooting Summerland 19-9.
The third period didn’t start with the luster that the first two did. The Coyotes seemed content to cruise to a victory, and did a good job to ensure Summerland didn’t get much offensive push.
Both teams essentially just went through the motions in the third, and the Coyotes cruised to a 5-1 victory. With the loss, the Steam fall 8 points behind the Coyotes in the Okanagan Division Standings. The Coyotes hold a game in hand as well, which is pretty much good for a 10 point lead.
That 10 point lead may well be enough to win them the division, although there are still 3 head to head matchups remaining. Summerland will have to go back to the drawing board to figure out how to beat the ‘Yotes eventually, because those 3 games could be huge in deciding the division standings at the end of the season heading for the playoffs.
Summerland will look to get the train back on the track on Sunday afternoon at 2PM when they host the Kelowna Chiefs for the 4th and final time at the Summerland Arena.