STEAM DERAILED IN CHASE

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Summerland’s Riley Pettitt defends against Chase’s Spencer Farstad in a game Friday, January 8th in Chase. Photo: Kyle Sunderman

Heading into Friday night’s game in Chase, the Summerland Steam were feeling pretty confident after a statement win to end last weekend against the Kelowna Chiefs. They were looking to go into the Art Holding Memorial Arena in Chase, play a good road game, and get the heck outta dodge with 2 points. They almost had it, too.

The Steam and the Heat were very evenly matched going into the game. Both with 45 points, top 5 caliber goaltending and a potent offense, the game was everything we hoped it would be. Once everybody got into the game it was one of the best of the season, in my opinion, with action going back and forth pretty much all night long.

Summerland got off to a dream start on the road. As the road team, the plan would normally be to get into the game, establish your forecheck, and to use an old pirate line ‘take what ya can and give nothin’ back.’ Summerland did that on Friday night in Chase. They established their forecheck on the first shift and got on the case of Chase starting goaltender Nic Bruyere with a couple of early tests.

The good start for Summerland also allowed starting goaltender Matt Huber to ease his way into the game. He was able to get a few early touches on the puck and make a couple of relatively easy saves to get himself in the game.

Just over 5 minutes into the game, Summerland got the early goal they were searching for. It came off the stick of Riley Pettitt after some good work on the left wing boards in the neutral zone. Wyatt Gale and Braden Eliuk did the work on the wall, and would draw assists on Pettitt’s 15th of the campaign. Pettitt took a nifty little pass from Eliuk and was in alone with the Chase goaltender. After a cheeky little move, the Summerland forward was able to beat Bruyere five-hole to give the Steam a 1-0 lead.

It was a lead they’d hold onto for the remainder of the period, thanks to some rock solid goaltending from Huber. He made a couple of saves that were outstanding and made the easy ones look easy, which is always what you want to see from your goaltender.

The second period started very similar to the first. Summerland continued to get better in the first few minutes of the period, but it was Chase that would answer back near the halfway mark of the period. Travis Beaubien would collect his 8th of the season after Huber made a great save on a shot from Zachary Fournier. Unfortunately, the rebound kicked right out to Beaubien, who was able to deposit it into the empty cage to tie the game at 1. Austin Willier would draw the second assist on the goal that tied the game.

With the score tied 1-1, Summerland wouldn’t waste any time going back to work. On our broadcast every night we seem to bring up ‘the shift after a goal’, and how important it whether you just scored the goal or just allowed it. The Steam had a good shift after the goal by Beaubien, and were rewarded on the next shift with a goal from Raphie Bassot.

After a faceoff loss in their own zone, the Steam did good work to go and get the puck back. The line of Cole Williams, Bassot, and Josh Pilon played well together all night, and were rewarded with a goal thanks to good puck retrieval and a good zone entry. Just across the offensive blue line, Bassot did good work to start the play by getting the puck to Cole Williams. Williams had an attempt at goal but was thwarted by Bruyere in the Chase net. Josh Pilon did a good job to follow the play up, bumping the puck over to Bassot who beat the goaltender five-hole for his 2nd goal of the campaign.

With a 2-1 lead, the Steam were looking for more. They got it just :49 later thanks to leading scorer Jack Mills. His team leading 21st of the season came off some good work from linemates Cody Egilson and Paulsen Lautard. After Mills cleared the defensive zone, Lautard was able to skate onto it in the neutral zone. He found himself on a 2-on-1 with Cody Egilson, but couldn’t convert. Egilson then displayed some great puck retrieval skills and had a shot at goal. The original shot was stopped by Bruyere, but Lautard picked the puck up and fed it to the slot for Mills to hammer home.

Now with a 3-1 lead on the road, Summerland looked like they were in a good spot. They would head to the third period with the score holding at 3-1, and knew if they could just finish the way they started they’d be fine. It wasn’t to be though, as the Steam would take back-to-back penalties to start the third period.

The Heat would climb back within one thanks to a power play goal from Tommy Brown just 2:12 into the third period. Chase was able to win a draw on the power play in the offensive zone, and team captain Trevor Okino walked in with a shot on net. Huber made the initial save, and then made an absolute sparkler of a save on Braden Hughes at the left post. Unfortunately the puck popped loose and Brown cleaned up the garbage in front of the net for his 9th of the season.

At that point we all knew it was game on, and the pace was feverish for the remainder of the third period. Michael McEachern looked to give Summerland the insurance it needed with 6:45 remaining in the third period. The 19-year-old from West Kelowna notched his 4th of the season after some good work down low from Josh Pilon.

Pilon would collect his 2nd assist of the night after he got the puck to the slot to Scott Robinson. The newest member of the Steam had a shot at net that was blocked, with the puck popping loose to McEachern in nearly the same spot. He made no mistake, beating Bruyere on the blocker side to give the visitors a 4-2 lead.

With that 4-2 lead and 6:45 to play, one would think it was plausible to assume Summerland had a great chance to win the game. They did, but Chase did a good job to push back.

That. That blurb above there is a tweet I sent out with 5 minutes to play in the hockey game. With Summerland up 4-2, good defensive zone work and some discipline probably would have gotten them the win. Instead, they allowed Chase to come in on the rush with 2:47 to play that resulted in a penalty. On the way into the zone, Summerland’s Michael MacLean got tangled up with a Heat player, causing him to go down and the referees arm to go up. Now, here’s where it gets interesting.

Instead of taking the man who committed the infraction, MacLean, the referees singled out defenseman Alex Williams. Williams, one of Summerland’s best penalty killers, went to the box, and the Heat were able to capitalize on the power play again to climb within 1.

Logan Mostat was the guy who made the play, entering the zone and driving wide on a Summerland defender. On his backhand, down the left wing, the right handed shooting Mostat sent a backhand towards the right post. Huber got a piece of it, but it crawled over the goal line and brought the Heat within one with 2:11 remaining on the clock. Mostat’s 22nd of the season would make the score 4-3, and would also be the last goal he scores this season for the Chase Heat. According to the Heat webcast last night, Mostat will join the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles for the remainder of the season as of January 9th.

The Mostat PP tally set up an opportunity for the Heat to tie the game with the extra attacker on the ice. They did so with just :52.9 remaining on the clock courtesy of Braden Hughes. Hughes, robbed of a sure goal by Matt Huber earlier in the game, made no mistake this time, blasting a slapper from the high slot through traffic. His 8th of the season tied the game, and we were bound for overtime.

In OT, the play went back and forth for a moment before Chase got their game defining opportunity to complete the comeback. The goal came from Brad Whitehead, a recent acquisition from the Sicamous Eagles. He was allowed to skate through the middle of the neutral zone, cut to the right side and take a wrister that beat Huber short side for the OT winner to give Chase a 5-4 victory.

Summerland picks up a point out of the deal, but they won’t be happy with the result after being up 4-2 with less than 2:20 to play. They played a good 55:00, but the complete 60 minute effort is something the coaching staff pushes for every night, and on Friday night in Chase it fell just short.

Surely they’ll be looking to bounce back on Sunday in their next game, but that won’t be easy. The opponent is the Osoyoos Coyotes, a team who seems to have Summerland’s number. Summerland is 0-5 against the ‘Yotes this season, but that just means they’re due. I have a feeling they’ll be ready to jump back at it on Sunday.

I won’t be around for that game on Sunday, which is a 1:35 start from the Oliver Arena. Please follow along with @KIJHLCoyotes on Twitter for game updates.

Summerland’s next home game is Tuesday night, January 12th vs the Princeton Posse.

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