After an UNBELIEVABLE month of November that turned sour on it’s final weekend, the Steam wiped the slate clean and started a new month against the North Okanagan Knights on Tuesday night. After having their 9 game winning streak snapped in Osoyoos last Saturday night, the Steam were looking to start a new one and came out hungry on Tuesday night. Our own Joel Barg had a chance to catch up with Steam Head Coach John Depourcq prior to puck drop and he had this to say:
With a full 60 minutes on the mind heading into Tuesday night’s game, Summerland came out early and made sure to test Knights’ goaltender Daniel Paul with five or six shots in the first 5 minutes of the hockey game. It was just the start of the night for Paul, who was extremely impressive in the game, and made several key saves early to keep the score tied at 0 through the first 10 minutes.
After Summerland put the pressure on in the first half of the period, they were finally able to get on the board. The goal came courtesy of Cole Williams, his 9th of the season, after he found a rebound at the bottom of the left circle and roofed it over a sprawling Daniel Paul. Though Williams’ was on the ‘business end’ of the play, it was Adam Jones that did the majority of the work. After retrieving a puck at his own blue line, Jones was able to carry it through the neutral zone and over the North Okanagan blue line. Running out of real estate down the right wing, the left handed Jones put a shot to the net, creating a rebound that Williams was able to lift over Daniel Paul to open the scoring.
The goal would come 11:33 into the game, and would be the only scoring we’d see in the first 40 minutes. Both teams would have a handful of chances, but both Daniel Paul and Steam starter Matt Huber would be up to task.
In the third, Summerland managed to find another gear. Just under 4 minutes in, Riley Pettitt would extend his point streak to 13 games on a Summerland power play with his 10th goal of the season. Pettitt used good speed and a great give-and-go play with Braden Eliuk to burn the North Okanagan defense before going high on the short side to beat Paul.
The only real action at the other end in the third period came courtesy of a penalty called to Steam goaltender Matt Huber. After Knights’ leading scorer Graeme Watkins ‘buzzed’ the crease a third time and knocked the stick from Huber’s hand, Huber made sure he wasn’t going to do it again. That reminder came courtesy of a swinging blocker to the chest area of the Knights’ leading scorer, resulting in a 2 minute roughing penalty for the 18 year old netminder.
Jack Mills would then add a goal for Summerland to put them up 3-0 at 11:33. Mills’ 17th of the year was made possible thanks to a great pass from Steam captain Paulsen Lautard out of the corner. He found a wide open Mills on the back door, who had time to corral it and place it perfectly to beat Paul high on the glove side.
Pettitt would then match his goal total from last season (in 15 less games) with his 11th of the season with just 1:26 to go. This one was a mirror image of the previous, where he managed to pick up speed through the neutral zone, make a cut at the top of the Knights’ zone, and beat Daniel Paul high on the blocker side to round out the score at 4-0.
Huber, who had an eventful night particularly in the third, would draw an assist on the 2nd Pettitt goal and cement status as 2nd star of the night for the Summerland Steam in a 4-0 shutout. It’s his 4th shutout in 5 home starts, while allowing just 2 goals on 98 total shots. If you’re keeping track, that’s a .040 GAA on home ice to go along with a RIDICULOUS .979 SV%.
Summerland currently sits with both of their goalies in the top 4 in the KIJHL. Jake Mullen sits 2nd with a 1.81 GAA and a .932 Sv% overall, while Huber sits 4th on the list with a 1.88 GAA and a .925 Sv%. Both were a BIG contributing factor to a 9-1 month of November, and the Steam will count on them to continue to play well as they head toward the holiday break.
After 2 or 3 days of practice, the Steam will hit the road for a Saturday night tilt in the Similkameen with the Princeton Posse. Princeton just got their X Factor back in the person of Stephen Heslop, who returns from the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors after the December 1st CJHL Roster deadline. Heslop is a guy that is used to facing a lot of rubber, and seems to play better when he sees more shots. It will be important for Summerland to have a good start and play a good road game on Saturday night to try and pick up a win in an always tough barn.
After that matchup with the Posse, the Steam will return home for a Sunday matinee with the Sicamous Eagles. That’s a 2PM start on Sunday, December 6th at the Summerland Arena, and FAMILY PACKS of tickets are just $20! So bring the family down, spend some quality time and watch the hometown Summerland Steam!