With a win in Kelowna on Sunday night, the Summerland Steam sit comfortably in second place in the Okakagan Division of the KIJHL. They’re 15 points up on the third place Chiefs, and trail the division leading Osoyoos Coyotes by just six points. They’ve won four in a row, and not only that, but they’ve retrieved at least a point in every game they’ve played in 2016.

The tests thus far have been graded fair to excellent, with wins over the Kelowna Chiefs (twice), the Osoyoos Coyotes, Princeton Posse, and Spokane Braves. The only blemish on the record in 2016 thus far is an OT loss to the Chase Heat on January 8th that saw Summerland surrender a 4-2 lead with 2:20 to play. Logan Mostat (now departed for Surrey of the BCHL) and Braden Hughes scored in the final 2:20, and Bradley Whitehead notched the OT winner in a game that Summerland looked to be in control of until the latest of stages.

They’ll look to get their revenge on the Heat on Sunday afternoon, but first they face the ever stiff test of the Osoyoos Coyotes on Friday night. The Steam got the monkey off their back the last time they played the Coyotes, beating their rivals from the South for the first time in almost 2 calendar years. It was a game that might have been the best of the year, and of course the two teams saved it for a day with no broadcast. Coyotes Play-By-Play man Tom Shields had his video camera there though, and provided these highlights for all of our viewing pleasure:

This game was FUN to watch. Regardless of the outcome, the fans could leave the Oliver Arena happy and ready for more. They’re going to get it on Friday night when the two teams go head to head for the 7th time this season.

After that game on January 10th, both teams had a couple of changes to make. January 10th was the trading deadline, and both teams got a little bit stronger prior to midnight, PST. Summerland struck a deal with the Campbell River Storm of the VIJHL, sending G Jake Mullen (’95) to the Storm in exchange for G Matt Kostiw (’96). Kostiw has been solid since his arrival in Summerland, starting twice and picking up 2 victories including a shutout of the Spokane Braves in his debut.

The Coyotes meanwhile made a call to former Assistant Coach Geoff Goodman and the Princeton Posse and plucked (in my mind) the league’s best goaltender. That goaltender would be one Stephen Heslop (’95), a player who has been up and down between the Princeton Posse and the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors over the past two season. Heslop has the ability to steal a game, and playing behind one of the league’s best teams will make him even more difficult to solve. Continually seeing 45+ shots during his time in Princeton, Heslop will surely be a little less busy in the Osoyoos net. Mostly because the Coyotes are a much better hockey team, but also because he’ll be splitting crease time with resident #1 goaltender Brett Soles.

In the deal with Princeton, the Coyotes also re-acquired Forward Drew Carter (’97). Carter started the 2014/15 season last year with the Coyotes before being traded to Nelson in the deal that brought Brett Soles to Osoyoos from the Heritage City. Carter, an 18-year-old native of Kelowna, BC was then acquired by the Posse from Nelson in the off-season and started this season with 14 goals and 30 points over in the Similkameen Valley.

In exchange for Heslop and Carter, the Coyotes sent F/D Jake Hryhoriw (1g+1a=2PTS in 20 GP w/ ‘Yotes) and G Adam Jones (8-4, 2.41GAA, .909 SV%) to the Princeton Posse to complete the deal.

The Coyotes got stronger, no doubt, and the Posse picked up a couple of young pieces that can contribute to their team for years to come as both players they received are 1997 born players.

As for the meeting at hand, it’s the 7th of the season between the Steam and the Coyotes, and it’s shaping up to be a beauty. Both teams are in fine form heading down the stretch to the playoffs, and that should make for good hockey on Friday night. Both teams dislike each other, both teams like to play their own brand of hockey and with any luck we’ll get clean, hard hockey when they take the ice Friday night in Summerland.

We’ll go over the three keys to the game when we start the pre-game show at 7:15 on Friday night, but I can tell you right now that the first key will be discipline. It’s almost always a key when these two teams play. It has to be, because Osoyoos seems to have Summerland’s PK figured out.

The Steam did a good job of being disciplined on January 10th, and they’ll need it again if they want the same result. The Coyotes PP has been Summerland’s kryptonite this season, going 10/37 in the 6 meetings thus far. That’s good for a 27.02% clip, 8.36% better than their PP average against the rest of the league this season,  which sits eighth in the KIJHL. On the flipside, Summerland’s PK is one of the top units in the KIJHL, sitting fourth headed into the weekend. They’ve only allowed 28 PPG all season long, and 10 of them have come to the ‘Yotes.

Some notes for both teams:


  • The ‘Yotes lead the OK Division with 60 points. At the time of this write, they currently lead the North Okanagan Knights 2-0 in the late stages of the 2nd period on Wednesday night.
  • The Coyotes are expected to have the full compliment of players for Friday night’s game barring any injuries or suspensions in the 2nd half of their Wednesday night game. It almost looked like F Bobby Larue (’95) would have to miss some time after taking a ridiculously ugly sequence of hits from Spokane Braves ‘C’ Kurtis Redding. That can be found if you skip to 5:05 of the following video:

  • It looks as though the former Spokane Brave, Larue, takes a cross check in the back from Braves captain Kurtis Redding. Redding then follows up with a kick to the head/neck area of a downed Larue, and THEN follows that with another cross check just for good measure. It was an incredibly ugly sequence that resulted in Redding getting himself a yet to be determined suspension. The ruling on the ice was a match penalty, which is an automatic 3 games, but the league has yet to announce a ruling.
  • Brett Soles played Wednesday night for the ‘Yotes, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see Stephen Heslop in the net Friday night against Summerland. Heslop made his Coyotes debut last Sunday with a 3-0 shutout of the North Okanagan Knights in Armstrong.



  • The Steam come in winners of four in a row. Their latest, a 4-2 win over Kelowna, saw Matt Kostiw pick up his 2nd win in as many tries since joining the Steam. The coaching staff will have two great options in Kostiw and Matt Huber to choose from. Huber picked up a win in his last start on January 10th vs Osoyoos.
  • Summerland’s PP is showing a little life. They’ve been snakebit of late, going 0/47 over the last 12 games, but they looked better in their past 2 games and got some good chances. Some more work with the man advantage, and they’ll be a dangerous team.
  • The strange thing about the Steam PP thus far is that it hasn’t ‘hurt’ them yet. By that I mean they keep winning despite it, and their inefficiency with the man-up hasn’t been the sole reason they’ve lost yet this season.
  • All 18 skaters will need their best effort on Friday to take down the division leaders. One of the important things to come out of that January 10th win was that Summerland’s big guns led the way. They got a goal from Jack Mills and a goal and an assist from Paulsen Lautard, and they’ll need everybody to chip in again on Friday.
  • On Sunday against Kelowna, Adam Jones was Summerland’s best player, bar none. He had a shorthanded goal as well as an assist, and seemed to be Head Coach John Depourcq’s choice to match up with Kelowna’s top players. Alongside partner Lathan McKinney, Jones has put together a good season thus far. He leads all full-time Summerland defensemen with 3 goals and 15 points in 39 games while playing heavy minutes in all situations. He spends time at even strength, obviously, and on the power play, but I’d argue where he’s most valuabe is when Summerland needs a big penalty kill. He may very well win the team award for ‘Top Defenseman’ for the 2nd straight year and if I had a vote in the box, he’d be it.
  • Speaking of Head Coach John Depourcq, he’ll likely be absent from the bench when the team takes the ice on Friday night. Our thoughts and prayers are with Coach Depourcq, his wife Lorri, son Cody and the entire Depourcq family as they mourn the loss of John’s father, Roy.



  • Puck drop Friday is 7:30 from the Summerland Arena, and the Steam have a pretty great special going on. If you come to Friday’s game and enjoy all that the Steam and Coyotes rivalry has to offer, you can bring your ticket stub to Sunday’s afternoon game against the Chase Heat and get in for just $5.IMG_20160119_140552
  • That’s a 2PM start from the Summerland Arena. Joel and I will be on-air a full 15 minutes prior to each game for the Best Western Inn at Penticton Pre-Game Show.

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