On Sunday afternoon the Summerland Steam made a return trip to Sicamous, reciprocating exactly one week after Sicamous paid a visit to the Summerland Arena. That game, a 5-1 Steam victory, was tame compared to this one. This one, on Sunday, December 13, 2015, was by far and away the weirdest hockey game I’ve ever watched. Whether it’s minor hockey, pro hockey, roller hockey, field hockey, or any other kind of hockey you can come up with, this was the weirdest game I’ve ever watched.
I’m going to go ahead and skip through the first 2 periods of this hockey game, because the referee made the first 40 minutes completely unwatchable. So unwatchable that some people didn’t bother to stick around for the third period.
I won’t name him, you can look that up yourself, but this isn’t the first time this particular official has forced fans in attendance to pay $10 to watch him officiate, rather than watch young men play hockey.
There were 20 minor penalties handed out between the two teams in the first 2 periods, plus two head contact penalties and an ejection for 3 stick infractions to Sicamous Eagles’ Forward Bryce MacDonald. There were double the amount of penalties called than were actually penalties, but I digress.
There was also a goal waved off, as it was “kicked” in off the skate of Eagles’ Darien Blight. It was originally called a goal on the ice, as a shot from the point seemed to take a re-direct in front of the Summerland net. After a brief conference, the linesman helped the referee come to a decision that it was ‘kicked’, and the goal was called back.
We were still tied at 0 headed for the third period, and Summerland started on the penalty kill. In the third, the teams were allowed to play what somewhat resembled the game of hockey, and we finally had some scoring.
Wyatt Gale would get the scoring started early in the third, on the PK of course, with a shorthanded rush down the right wing. He beat Sicamous goaltender Michael Lenko for his 7th of the season to give Summerland a 1-0 lead despite being on their 12th penalty kill of the game.
Michael McEachern would follow up the Gale goal just over 6 minutes later to make it 2-0. McEachern’s 2nd goal of the season was made possible by some great zone time for Summerland at one of the rare moments in the game the teams were at 5V5. Riley Pettitt did some great work to get the puck free, and the puck came to McEachern to bury with a bullet over Lenko into the top of the net.
With 12:37 to go in what felt like the longest game in history thanks to all the penalties, we got to play five-on-five for a whole 5 minutes before another penalty was called. That put Sicamous on the power play with 5:52 to go, and Summerland would take another penalty with 2:38 to play, but Sicamous couldn’t beat Steam goaltender Matt Huber, who picked up his 6th shutout of the season.
Huber also picked up his 2nd assist of the season as he moved the puck to Wyatt Gale, who iced the puck into an empty net to seal the deal. That goal came shorthanded too, bringing Summerland’s grand total to 16/16 on the PK for the day and a +2 goal differential. Unfortunately, they went 0-for-10 on the power play, dragging their stats down mightily.
With the win, Summerland picks up another 2 points and sits just 4 points back of the Osoyoos Coyotes and 6 points up on the Kelowna Chiefs. Riley Pettitt extended his point streak to 17 games, but Jack Mills had his 10 game point streak halted in the victory.
Matt Huber picked up his league leading 6th shutout, stopping 31 shots for the W. He may get a chance to start again Wednesday when the Steam play at 12PM Noon in Princeton. They’ll play Friday, December 18th against Kelowna as well before going on an 11 day holiday break.