As they barrel down the tracks towards the end of the season, the Summerland Steam headed to Revelstoke on Friday night to tangle with the Revelstoke Grizzlies. Coming off a pair of losses last weekend that saw Summerland play four periods of good hockey and two periods of not so good hockey, they were looking to get pointed in the right direction. With only 10 games to play in the regular season before they’re almost certain to meet the Kelowna Chiefs in the first round of the playoffs, Summerland got off to a good start and rolled to a 6-2 victory at the Forum in Revelstoke.
Summerland’s lineup got a big boost on Friday night in Revelstoke, but was also missing a couple of key pieces. Jarrett Malchow returned to the lineup after being out with an injury since December 1st, but Steam Captain Paulsen Lautard and defenceman Lathan McKinney were both absent from the lineup. Malchow made a mark in his return, scoring a goal and getting in a spirited tilt with Revelstoke’s Griffin Fried in the third period.
The Steam got the scoring started early, just 5:44 into the game, as Jack Mills potted his team (and division) leading 25th of the season. Mills benefited from quick transition, as the puck took just :05 to move from behind the Steam net at their own end of the ice to behind Revelstoke starter Trevor Dilauro. Calvin Hadley made a good play up the wall in his own end of the ice to get the puck to Riley Pettitt. With speed, Pettitt came down the right wing, slowed up, and waited for Mills to get free on his way to the net. A perfect pass from Pettitt landed on the stick of Mills, who directed it through the legs of Dilauro for a 1-0 lead.
The lead wouldn’t last long for Summerland, however, as the Grizzlies would net a power play goal just 1:53 later to tie things up at 1. It took them just seven seconds of power play time for recent University of Jamestown commit Kyle Baron to do what Don Cherry always told him to do:
“Put the puck on net, you never know what is gonna happen”
Off a won draw by Aaron Aragon in the offensive zone, Baron was able to drag the puck to the middle of the ice. There, he attempted a shot, which ramped up off the stick of a Summerland defender and floated through the air. Everybody on the ice was looking for the puck, including Steam goaltender Matt Kostiw, as it flipped end over end and into the net above him. Baron’s 4th of the year tied the game at 1, and it looked like both teams were established in the game.
Action would go back and forth after that, with the shots being even at 12 after the first period. Just when it looked like we’d go to the intermission tied at 1, Summerland received their only power play of the game with :16 remaining in the period.
A power play that looked nothing short of anemic for the first three months of the season has looked better recently, and it took them just :10 to capitalize on their only PP chance of the night.
That would send the game to intermission with the Steam leading 2-1, and it wouldn’t take them long to add to their lead. Just :30 into the second period, Braden Eliuk would score what I would categorize as the “TSN Turning Point” of the game, from centre ice, no less. Eliuk, just trying to dump the puck in and go to work, put it right into the pads of Trevor Dilauro. As Dilauro moved to kick the puck away, the round rubber disc took a sensational hop, and ended up behind him. Eliuk’s 9th of the season was definitely his luckiest to date, and Summerland had the two goal lead they wanted just seconds into the period.
Revelstoke would get back within one at the 11:40 mark of the period on another power play. This one just took :14 seconds, and involved Kyle Baron again. The Revelstoke defender did good work to hold the offensive blue line, before walking to the middle and putting a shot at net. This one was tipped at the hashmarks by Michael LeNoury and past Matt Kostiw to cut the Summerland lead to 1. LeNoury’s first of the season would draw the Grizzlies within one, but that was as close as they would get.
Former Revelstoke Grizzlies F Josh Pilon would ensure of that, as he would extend the Summerland lead to 4-2 with 3:10 remaining in the second period. Pilon, traded from Revelstoke to Summerland in November, would score against his old team thanks to good positioning and great work from his line mates Braden Eliuk and Wyatt Gale. Both did well down low to free up the puck, and Eliuk was able to find a wide open Pilon who beat Dilauro for his 3rd with the Steam and 5th of the season. Pilon’s goal was all the insurance the Steam needed, but it wasn’t all they got as they tacked on a couple of goals in the third period.
The third period was an eventful one with a couple of goals and a couple of fights to keep things interesting. Jarrett Malchow would collect his 8th of the season just 1:48 into the third period, assisted by Riley Pettitt and Jack Mills. Both did good work to cross up the Revelstoke defense below the goal line, and Pettitt fed a wide open Malchow in front who beat Dilauro to pad the lead.
Braden Eliuk would then pick up his second of the game and round out the scoring at 6-2 with 15:23 remaining in the third period. On a bit of a broken play, a shot that came in from the point from Alex Williams was blocked high in the zone. The loose puck came right to Josh Pilon, who fed Eliuk in front of the net and he made no mistake.
That would round out the scoring, as Summerland would cruise to a 6-2 victory, but that wasn’t the end of the action. Jarrett Malchow and Griffin Fried would shed the mitts about thirty seconds after the goal, a tilt won decisively by Malchow.
Things looked to be grinding down to the end of the game until the 2:19 mark, when a Grizzlies defender looked to pick a fight with Summerland’s Michael MacLean. MacLean wanted no part of it, and penalties were going to be called on the play until Calvin Hadley stepped in with a shot on net as the whistle blew. That drew a crowd, and ended up with the Steam’s Alex Williams receiving a fighting major.
It isn’t very often you see one player taken from a pile and assessed a fighting major, but that was the case as Williams was shown the door. He’ll likely be forced to sit Sunday night in Kelowna because of that call.
Despite the late fireworks, Summerland would go on to win the game 6-2 and pick up a much needed W. They’ll go back to work Sunday night in Kelowna for a 7PM start in the 8th and final meeting of the regular season with the Kelowna Chiefs.