KOSTIW, YUKON BOYS SHINE AS STEAM TAKE GAME 4

I mentioned yesterday in the post-op from Game 3 that it was time for the Summerland Steam to step up. They needed a full 60 minute effort from 20 skaters, and if they got it, they’d be successful in Game 4. They had 20 good minutes in Game 3, and if they played like that for a full 60 there was no reason to think they couldn’t come out on top.

They did just that. After surrendering a 2-0 lead thanks to a second period letdown in Game 3, they learned their lesson and didn’t let it happen in Game 4. They got up 2-0 again, they just didn’t let it go as easily this time. Riley Pettitt (shorthanded) and Jarrett Malchow both scored for the visitors in the first, and sent them into the intermission up by a deuce for the second night in a row. The first goal, Pettitt’s just 2:15 into the game was caused by a misplay at the blue line that led to a shorthanded breakaway. The second was caused by captain Paulsen Lautard, who rocked Kelowna captain Josh Baird with an open ice hit to knock the puck loose. He was then able to retrieve the puck and pick up Malchow streaking up the middle. Malchow made no mistake, going high over the glove of Brady Lenardon in the Kelowna net.

Summerland would experience Kelowna’s pushback in the second, and took a couple too many penalties in the frame. Luke Kalenuik got the Chiefs on the board with a power play goal, and Summerland would go to the second intermission with a 2-1 lead.

The Chiefs would complete the comeback and tie the game at 2 courtesy of Jonathan Lee on another power play in the third. It looked like we might be headed to overtime for a second time in four games, but Wyatt Gale and Michael MacLean had other ideas. Gale would be the one to break the tie with 2:45 to go in the third period, but the guy they call ‘big Mike’ is the reason it was able to happen. MacLean did great job on the forecheck to force his way onto a puck in the corner. He then made an exquisite pass to the slot, where Gale was able to drag to the backhand and go back against the grain to beat Lenardon.

The goal would lift Summerland to victory, despite the best efforts of the Kelowna Chiefs in the final couple of minutes. The win for the Steam ties the series at 2 and ensures that Game 5 in Summerland on Monday will not be the last game of the season for either team. Game 6 will go Tuesday in Rutland, and Game 7 (if necessary) will go Wednesday in Summerland.

 

THOUGHTS:

    • I thought Summerland played a much more complete game in Game 4.
    • Summerland got a much better effort from their entire lineup in Game 4. There were far fewer ‘passengers’, which allowed them to lengthen their lineup a little bit.
    • Lengthening the lineup for the Steam took the emphasis off the unnecessary abuse Jack Mills has been taking from Tyler Love through the first four games of the series. It was less of a factor in Game 4 because of the way the Steam played as a whole, but it went on long enough that it got some people’s attention besides Jack Mills.
    • The two teams got back to playing hockey in Game 4, and it was the most entertaining of the series thus far. Whether that’s because the Mills/Love saga wasn’t the centre of attention, or because both teams decided hockey was the best course of action, it was much better than the first three games.
    • Matt Kostiw was solid again for Summerland in his third game in three nights. He stopped 35 of 37 for the victory, but wasn’t tested with high quality scoring chances more than a handful of times.
    • He and his counterpart, Brady Lenardon for Kelowna, haven’t been talked about a whole lot in this series. That may be because both are doing exactly what they’re meant to do. They’re stopping what they should stop, getting good D in front of them, and not allowing many second and third chance opportunities in high danger areas.
    • Kostiw did well last night to ensure he swallowed up rebounds with Chiefs in his goal crease all night long. The only time he reacted to anything was after the final buzzer went. He had a conversation with a Kelowna forward in his crease, and then everybody broke off.
    • Kostiw had his teammates surround him, and led them to salute the many Summerland Steam fans in attendance. Many made the drive to Kelowna for Game 4, and deserved to be saluted for the noise they made and the energy they brought.
    • As Kostiw skated to them with his arms in the air, he was forced to dodge projectiles (beer cans) coming from angry Kelowna fans. Let’s get one thing clear: It doesn’t matter if you’re in your home building or not, you have the right to salute those who are there to support you. Win or lose. That’s what Kostiw and his teammates were doing, and the Chiefs faithful didn’t like it.
      • The Chiefs did send out a tweet not condoning the actions of the fan(s) misbehaving, but this isn’t an uncommon occurrence.
  • I understand the response from the Kelowna Chiefs twitter account, although it needs to be followed up. Not a huge deal, just a little disrespectful and completely unnecessary.
  • Bottom line is the incident at the end of Game #4 put a nasty little cloud over the top of what was the best game of the series so far. Both teams played well, both goaltenders proved to be pillars of strength, and the bad blood (on the ice) was kept relatively in check for the first time in the series. Yes, it’s physical. Yes, it’s mean, and yes, it’s going to get meaner. But that’s what happens in a 7 game playoff series. That’s what happens when two teams full of 16-20 year old teenagers play each other 15 times in a season.
  • Game 5 goes Monday night at The Station. 7:30 puck drop. At this point I’m running solo so our pre-game show will probably be about 10 minutes, including audio from Head Coach John Depourcq of the Summerland Steam.

STEAM DROP GAME 3, RESET FOR GAME 4

In the world of KIJHL playoffs, as previously mentioned, there isn’t time to dwell. That’s exactly what the Summerland Steam will try not to do today as they prep for what is now a BIG game 4 tonight in Kelowna. They’re down 2-1 in the best of 7 series, and had last night’s game within their grasp after a picture perfect road start.

Michael MacLean and Scott Robinson (pp) scored in the first period to send Summerland to an early 2-0 lead after a period. Matt Kostiw started for Summerland and turned away 15 shots in the first period. Summerland did good work to keep Kelowna to the outside all night, and limit the scoring chances inside the ‘high danger triangle’ in front of their net to a minimum. Kostiw was solid for Summerland in Game #3. He made the saves he needed to make to get them out of the first period with a 2-0 lead.

Unfortunately, two of those long shots from the outside beat Kostiw in the second period. One was a knuckler that took a terrible tumble from Josh Johnston, and the other was a rebound off a shot in from the point that Jeff Schlegel was able to chip up and over the falling Summerland goaltender.

Josh Kobelka would break the tie in Kelowna’s favour in the third period with just 6:30 to go. He beat one Summerland defender to the puck in the corner and then beat another Steam defender to the far post on a wrap-around attempt. The goal gave the home team the lead, and Jaden McNulty and Josh Baird would add empty netters to make the final score 5-2 and send the Chiefs to a 2-1 series lead.

Summary:

  • Summerland had a GREAT first period. They did well to drive play forward down to the Kelowna zone, kept good possession, and scored twice to forge ahead.  They stayed out of the penalty box (for the most part) and kept play at 5on5. They were the better team in the first period despite the Chiefs throwing 15 shots at the net of Matt Kostiw from all angles. Kelowna did not have a ‘high danger’ scoring chance in the first period.
  • Kelowna showed some push-back in the second, and it caused Summerland to take a couple of penalties and allow the Chiefs momentum. They didn’t score on those power plays, but the momentum that came with them was enough for the home team to tie the score.
  • The goals Kelowna got in Game 3 (excluding the empty-netters) could have been prevented. Sure, there are a couple that Matt Kostiw might want back, but growing up with goalies in my family I can tell you first hand that they want them ALL back. Kostiw didn’t have a lot of defensive support in Game 3, and it showed. Even from the outside areas, no team should be allowed 41 shots in a playoff game. Both of Kelowna’s goals could have been prevented with wingers high in the zone getting to their D-men.
  • The third yielded just the one mentionable event, the Kobelka goal. The diminutive Chiefs forward did good work down low to use his edges and beat two defenders before wrapping the puck in for the lead.
  • If Summerland wants to get back on track, they very simply have to put their work boots on, grab their lunch pales and go to work. They need to get back to the system that the coaching staff put in place from the outset, and work over the Chiefs like they did for much of the regular season.
  • The reason they had success in the regular season is because they outworked the Chiefs, and the Chiefs didn’t have an answer. Now the Chiefs THINK they have the answer by containing Jack Mills, even though all they’re doing is putting Tyler Love on him every time he steps on the ice. It hit a new level of ridiculous last night, as Mills was trying to change and Love stood between he and the bench. He’s not out there to do anything, and he’s not out there to play hockey, he’s just out to be a pain in the backside of the Summerland Steam, and it’s getting tired.
  • What ensued was a good ol’ ‘Mexican Standoff’ at the bench. Nothing was said, no gloves were dropped, and nobody knew what to do. It ended up so behind the play I’m a little surprised Love didn’t disappear into the Summerland bench. That’s how close he was.
  • It’s gotten so ridiculous that Love can now probably take his shifts without a stick, because I don’t think he’s touched the puck through three games of this series. His sole purpose when he’s on the ice is to try and goad Mills (and Summerland as a whole) into a penalty.
  • I’ve talked to fans over the course of the last three days that tell me they’re not going to come to game 4 or possibly the rest of the series, because it isn’t hockey.
  • “Clearly, some are here to play, and some are here to do something else that doesn’t even closely resemble playing. It looks like what Sean Avery did to Marty Brodeur that one time, but instead of being stationary he’s chasing him all over the ice,” is the exact quote I received FROM  A KELOWNA FAN that I stood beside at last night’s game. That’s how ridiculous it is. And Avery got a RULE named after him. Have a look:

  • All of that needs to be put out of the mind of the players in black on Saturday night if they want to have success in Kelowna. Win despite Kelowna’s antics, and keep in mind the antics are only there because they don’t feel they match up well with the talent the Steam boast up front.
  • If they work hard, Summerland’s talent will shine through, and this whole Love situation won’t make any difference to anybody. If Summerland can get back to making clean zone exits, getting on the body on the forecheck, and not allowing Kelowna into their heads, they’ll be just fine and this series will come back to Summerland for Game 5 on Monday tied at 2.

 

  • Puck drop goes at 7:00 from Kelowna. Join Justin McCartney for Play-By-Play, and enjoy the game! It’s doubtful that I’ll be there, so make sure to follow the Chiefs on twitter for updates.

HADLEY POTS GAME WINNER AS STEAM EVEN SERIES

With how short on time we are in the KIJHL Playoffs, there isn’t a lot of time to dive into the ins and outs of any particular game. Things are going to hasten now, as the first two games are in the books of every series across the KIJHL. The Summerland Steam earned a split on home ice in the first two games of the Okanagan Division Semi Final with the Kelowna Chiefs, and the series now shifts to Kelowna for Games 3 & 4.

This is the point in the KIJHL playoffs where things come to being a grind. After burning one of only two off-days in the series after Game 1, the Steam and the Chiefs will now play three games in three days before another off-day on Sunday. The first of those three was last night, a 2-1 victory for the Summerland Steam on the strength of a Calvin Hadley game-winner with 14:39 remaining in the third period. That goal put Summerland up 2-0, and Kelowna fought back with a goal from team captain Josh Baird in the closing minutes. Jack Mills also scored for the Steam, his second goal in as many playoff games.

Matt Kostiw picked up the victory and was very good for a second straight night, making 16 saves on 17 shots in the win. Highlights for both Games 1 and 2 are right here, and I’ve got some thoughts on Game 2 to follow:

Highlights from Game 2:

 

 

Highlights from Game 1:

 

Thoughts – Game 2:

  • Summerland had a much better start to the game than they did in Game 1, but still didn’t have a great first period.
  • Kelowna is doing a great job clogging the neutral zone and forcing Summerland to play the dump and chase type of game.
  • Summerland was a much better team in the Face-Off circle in Game 2. They went 27/44 on Face-Offs, for a 61% win% on the draw. Faceoffs were what caused them to have to mount a comeback in Game 1, as both Kelowna goals in regulation came off draws in Summerland’s D-zone.
  • The Steam also did a better job on the transition in the final two periods of Game 2. They made their own lives easier by ‘making the simple plays’, and found themselves in possession of the puck for much of the night.
  • Matt Kostiw was as good as he needed to be on Thursday night. The Chiefs didn’t test him much, and only once or twice from the ‘high danger’ triangle out in front of the net. Kostiw was only beaten once, in the dying minutes of the third period when Kelowna cut the lead to one.
  • Summerland is still taking too many penalties. They’ve been on the kill 13 times in the first two games, and will have to shore that up if they want success. Their best chance to beat the Chiefs is not by giving Kelowna an average of 6.5 power plays in each game. That’s the thing that will eventually come back to burn them if they’re not careful.
  • On the subject of taking penalties, Tyler Love is firmly planted on the back of Jack Mills. Mills could care less, as he’s got two goals in two games anyway despite the best efforts of Kelowna’s ‘Super Pest’.
  • Love and Mills were at it from the opening faceoff in Game 2, each taking unsportmanlike conduct penalties just :11 seconds into the game.
  • In Game 2, Love (whether by choice, or by coaches’ instruction) completely abandoned anything to do with actual hockey related activities, and just stuck to the back (or the front) of Jack Mills. In an attempt to get Mills off his game, Love continually got his stick and gloves up in the face of Summerland’s leading scorer, but ended up -2 on the night for his efforts.
  • For the Chiefs, Brady Lenardon has been good in the first two games. He hasn’t been tested much, seeing just 24 shots and 19 shots, respectively, but he’s been up to task in the Kelowna goal crease.
  • It will be interesting to see what the two coaches in this series do with three games in three days, particularly with their goalies. Both teams have two (or three) capable netminders, and with three games in three nights followed by only one off day, there’s a good chance we could see multiple goaltenders over the next three days.

 

Puck Drop on Game 3 goes tonight at 7:00 from the Rutland Arena. Catch Justin McCartney and the crew on playfullscreen.com if you can’t be in the arena!

 

 

LITTLES COME UP BIG AS CHIEFS TAKE GAME 1.

Small in stature, but big when it counts. That’s the story on the Kelowna Chiefs’ three goal scorers in Game 1, and it was just enough to take down the Summerland Steam in Double OT.  Josh Kobelka and Jonathan Lee scored for the Chiefs in regulation, and Dakota Kittle netted the (controversial) OT winner 1:58 into double overtime to steal home ice advantage from the Steam. All three players stand at less than 5 foot 7 inches tall, but all played much bigger than that in helping Kelowna to a Game 1 victory.

The game had a strange feeling from the start, as it took both teams half the game to get familiar with one another and each get to ten shots on goal. Unfortunately for Summerland Matt Kostiw, who got the start in goal for Game #1, was forced out of the game due to an equipment malfunction just three minutes and change into the second period. Matt Huber came on in his relief, and gave the team solid minutes. The Chiefs were able to get two goals on him, both coming off defensive turnovers within 15 feet of the Summerland goal. Both ended up in the back of the net courtesy of a backhand into the top corner, and put the Chiefs out to a 2-0 lead in the mid-stages of the 2nd period.

Summerland would have a great third, struggling to beat Chiefs goaltender Brady Lenardon until the final three minutes. In the final three minutes, Paulsen Lautard cut the lead in half at 2:50, and Summerland had tons of time to mount the comeback. Just when it looked like they’d fall short courtesy of a penalty with 1:32 remaining, the Kelowna bench was assessed a bench minor for a late change on the same stoppage. Referee Dustin Minty had warned the Kelowna bench earlier in the game about the lateness of their changes, but decided he’d had enough in the closing moments of the third period.

With Kelowna already on the penalty kill, it pushed the situation to a 4-on-3. Summerland pulled their goalie to make it 5-on-3, and Jack Mills was able to find the back of the net with :48 remaining.

That would send us to some extra time, and a 10 minute period solved nothing. On to double OT we went, and it took just 1:58 for Dakota Kittle to end it with a shot from the left wing wall. The initial shot was stopped, but a net-drive from Luke Kalenuik resulted with the Kelowna forward in the goal crease, and Matt Huber unable to stop the puck from rolling up and over him into the net.

Thankfully it’s just game one and it’s not going to cost anybody their season, but it’s one of those things that Summerland wasn’t thrilled with and neither were the fans. Now it’s going to be a matter of the Steam putting the way Game 1 ended behind them and preparing for Game 2 on Thurdsay night at the Summerland Arena. The Steam need to be just a tad more polished from the start if they want to be successful against a Kelowna team that was physical, and did a good job of clogging the neutral zone and passing lanes in Game 1.

Mike and I (and hopefully Joel) will be live for pre-game at 7:15 on Thursday evening. We’ll break down Game 1, and get set for Game 2 with coaches interviews and a highlight package.

 

Game highlights will be live here when I get them finished:

 

 

STEAM, CHIEFS SET TO RENEW ACQUAINTANCES AS KIJHL PLAYOFFS GET UNDERWAY

Mercifully, the 52 game grind of the KIJHL season has come to an end. Now we sit at the start of a new season. One that comes at us heavily, and is equally as entertaining as it is unforgiving. It’s the playoffs, when all bets are off and anything goes. #4 can beat #1 just as easily as #1 can beat #4. That’s the curse of parity across a 20 team league. Nothing comes easy, you have to fight for every inch, and if you asked any player or coach involved in playoff hockey they’d tell you they wouldn’t have it any other way.

For the second season in a row, the Summerland Steam finished second in the Okanagan Division, and will hold home ice through the first round. For the second year in a row, the Steam are a good hockey team. This season though, I’d argue they border on being a great hockey team. When they’re on they’re a great team, and it comes from all 20 players dressed each and every night buying in to the systems that Head Coach John Depourcq and his staff have put in place. All twelve forwards, six defenseman, and two goaltenders dressed each night have a job to do, and they set out to get it done each and every time they take the ice. They put up a franchise record 34 wins in the KIJHL regular season, including six of a possible eight victories over their first round opponent, the Kelowna Chiefs.

The playoffs are a much different story, however.

Summerland finished 19 points clear of the third place Kelowna Chiefs in the regular season, but when the puck drops on Game 1 of the Okanagan Division Semi-Final between the two teams on Tuesday night in Summerland, all bets are off.

When you look at the numbers, posted below, you may think that Summerland has an advantage based on the scores in the season series. Take my word for it: The 2-1 and 3-2 scores are likely what you’re going to see in this playoff series. Expect nothing else but a tight checking, physical, borderline mean series between two teams who are less than fond of one another. That’s how it was in the Okanagan Division Semi-Final last year, and that’s likely how it’s going to be again this year. Have a look at these numbers and then we’ll move on:

 

 

THE PAST: 

Last season, the Steam and the Chiefs played a fairly even regular season series, with the Steam edging the Chiefs by a 5-3 margin in 8 games. That led to one of the most “off the hinges” playoff series I’ve ever witnessed. We saw a lot of one goal games, a 10-4 game that would knock Summerland’s Jack Mills out with a broken orbital bone, and a 7-6 Double OT win for Summerland in Game 5 that saw them come back from down 5-1 late in the 2nd period to win. Here’s the highlights from that crazy Game 5:

The Steam would take a 3-2 series lead to Kelowna for Game 6, where the Chiefs would force a Game 7 courtesy of their top line of Braeden Cyra, Ethan Rusnack and Nick Josephs. In that Game 7, Jack Mills would return with a full cage and score both goals for Summerland, leading them to a 2-1 Game 7 win and to the second round where they were eliminated in 6 games by the Osoyoos Coyotes. Game 7 highlights:

THE PRESENT:

The KIJHL playoffs are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. After playing three games in three days to end the regular season, the Steam and the Kelowna Chiefs will now have 9 days to complete what very well COULD BE a 7 game series. It was a 7-game thriller last season, and I’ll expect it to be the same in the 2016 playoffs.

Both teams are vastly different than a season ago at this time. The Steam, led by Jack Mills, Paulsen Lautard, and the Yukon Line march into the playoffs on a 3 game winning streak. They’ve gone 13-4-0-1 in the calendar year of 2016 thus far, and have found their identity as a good defensive hockey team who can create chances in several different ways in the offensive zone. Their defense corps, led by Adam Jones, Calvin Hadley, and puck mover Keenan Scott do good work to clear the D-zone on the first attempt, and use their legs when they find the space. One hole they’ll look to fill is that of Lathan McKinney, who’s been lost likely for the rest of the season due to emergency abdominal surgery a couple of weeks ago.

Summerland does good work to move as a 5 man unit. “5 up, 5 down” as we like to say on the broadcast, and are a lot to handle when they’re at their best. If they stay disciplined, and “play our game” as Coach Depourcq states almost every time we interview him, Summerland has a quality chance to be successful.

On the other side, the Kelowna Chiefs have done a lot of searching to find their identity over the past several months. Speaking with one coach in the division who will remain un-named, he said he thought Kelowna was “better now than at any other point in the season, and will be very difficult to play against in the playoffs.”

That’s a big compliment from an opposing coach, and something that the Chiefs should be proud of heading into the playoffs. The Chiefs are 7-11 in 18 games since the calendar flipped to 2016, and had a mid-season change in their leadership group that likely took a little getting used to.

Their on-ice leader for the majority of the season, Josh Baird was named the new Captain of the Chiefs when the Kelowna squad traded Captain Ryan Lawson to the Victoria Cougars. Baird, a player that might be the most versatile in the KIJHL, leads the Chiefs in points and ice time on most nights. He can play forward or defense, and spends time on ice in all special teams situations. Along with the Dale brothers, Josh Kobelka and Jonathan Lee, Baird be hungry to lead his team to success over a Summerland team they’ve had trouble with this season.

Kelowna does good work to get in on the forecheck and make life difficult for opposing defensemen. They’re physical, skilled, and do great work to draw penalties and capitalize with the man advantage. If the Chiefs are healthy, which they haven’t been as of late, they’re a much better hockey team than their 24-23-2-2-1 record would suggest.

Hockey is a game of emotion and I think whoever controls their emotions the best will win this series. I think the ‘X-Factor’ in the series will come down to goaltending. Kelowna employs a 3-man system in their crease with Cody Murray, Josh Tetlichi and Brady Lenardon sharing the duties. Murray, acquired at the January 10th trading deadline, was brought in to form a tandem with Tetlichi after Brady Lenardon was temporarily unavailable. Lenardon was summoned to do backup duty for the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets after an injury to Rockets starter Jackson Whistle forced regular backup Michael Herringer into the starter’s role.

Lenardon has now returned to the Chiefs, and Head Coach Jason Tansem will have three goaltenders to choose from in the playoffs. You can see how all three faired against the Summerland Steam in the graphic above.

For Summerland, a young man named Matt will be between the pipes, and will be their ‘X-Factor’ as well. Matt Kostiw and Matt Huber have formed a great tandem since Kostiw joined the Steam on January 10th. He is Huber’s third goaltending partner this season after Austin Wells started the season, and Jake Mullen joined the team for 2 months in October. Mullen was then traded to Campbell River for Kostiw on January 10, and Kostiw has been very good since joining Summerland. He only played against Kelowna once, allowing 2 goals against on 24 shots in a victory.

Playoffs are fun, and we’re about to get down to business. Puck drop goes for Game 1 of the Okanagan Division Semi-Final on Tuesday night at 7:30. Mike and I will be live for pre-game at 7:15 with audio from both coaches and a highlight package from last year’s playoffs as well. Game 2 will go Thursday, February 25th at 7:30 at the Summerland Arena.

 

LET’S. PLAY. HOCKEY.

STEAM FINISH 2015/16 SEASON WITH PERFECT WEEKEND

 

DSC_1045

Photo: Sarah Mayer

The Summerland Steam are a good hockey team. It showed this past weekend as the Steam finished the regular season with 3 wins in 2.5 days to etch themselves in the history book with their 34th victory on Sunday afternoon. That victory, a 4-1 win over the North Okanagan Knights, gave the 2015/16 edition of the Summerland Steam the most regular season victories in franchise history, and tied them for the most points in a season with the 2013/14 Division Championship team.

On Friday the Steam dumped the Princeton Posse by a score of 5-1. Cody Egilson scored twice while Michael MacLean, Josh Pilon and Jarrett Malchow also tallied for the home team. Matt Huber picked up the victory. Highlights:

On Saturday night the Steam made their final road trip of the regular season to Armstrong, where they came home with a 4-3 victory over the Knights. Raphie Bassot scored Summerland’s league leading 15th (!!) shorthanded goal of the year near the midway point of the third period to give the Steam the victory. Matt Kostiw picked up the victory in goal, while Michael McLean, Michael McEachern and Paulsen Lautard also tallied for the Steam in the victory.

With the team being just one win from that record, they hosted the North Okanagan Knights again on Sunday afternoon for the final time, coming away with that 4-1 victory. Braden Eliuk, Michael MacLean, Jack Mills, and Scott Robinson scored the goals, while Matt Huber picked up his 18th victory of the season. He faced just 12 shots in the victory to give the Steam their franchise record 34th regular season victory. Highlights:

 

That wasn’t the only record to fall on the weekend. On Saturday night in North Okanagan, a 4-3 win for Summerland, Jack Mills became the Steam Franchise’s new single season point leader with 66. Mills recorded an assist on a goal from Michael McLean to eclipse the record, which was held to that point by Steam Assistant Coach Jordan McCallum. McCallum recorded 65 points during his one season in a Steam uniform in 2011/12.

With all the records that have been broken this season by this Summerland Steam squad, one can’t help but look back fondly. You can look back at the 4-1 start to September, the miserable 4-7 month of October that did nothing but strengthen the bond between 25 young men, or the unbelievable 8-1 run they put together in November. Who can forget a 17 game point streak for Riley Pettitt that lasted from October 18 to December 13?

You can look at January 3rd when Captain Paulsen Lautard became the Steam franchise’s all-time leader in Goals scored in the regular season, or this past weekend when the boys put 3 wins together in 2.5 days to set a new win record at 34. You can’t forget Jack Mills and his push to the single season point record, recording 26 points (11g+15a) in his final 18 games to secure his place in Steam history.

All of these records and achievements deserve their own recognition, and will likely get it when this crazy roller coaster ends (hopefully) several weeks from now. Unfortunately with the playoff format there’s only one day to look back, but much more glory potentially awaits. Head Coach John Depourcq has said to us several times this season that this 2015/16 version of the Summerland Steam is the best group of kids he’s ever had in Steam jerseys, and they’ve got a great opportunity to go a long way. With the right mix of size, speed and skill, and just the right amount of luck, this team has the ability to make a deep run at a KIJHL Championship. With the book on the regular season now firmly closed, we can look ahead to the best time of the year. The playoffs.

It all starts between the Summerland Steam and the Kelowna Chiefs on Tuesday, February 23rd at 7:30PM at the Summerland Arena. Check out the preview here in a little while, and have a look at the full schedule over at summerlandsteam.com

 

 

 

 

 

EGILSON NETS A PAIR AS STEAM DOWN POSSE

12765653_1988146924744203_1959226034_o

Cody Egilson moves up the ice with the puck during Friday night’s 5-1 victory over Princeton. Egilson scored twice. Photo: Kyle Sunderman

In the final meeting of the 2015/16 season between the Summerland Steam and the Princeton Posse on Friday night, the Summerland Steam set out with a point to prove. It was evident from the opening face-off that they didn’t want this game to be as close as the last time they played the Posse, which resulted in a come-from-behind 4-3 win that took two third period goals to complete.

This game wasn’t as close. Summerland came out with a purpose early and put 10 shots on net in the first 7 minutes. All were thwarted by Posse goaltender Adam Jones, who was the single solitary reason the game didn’t turn into a total blowout. He was stellar in this game, making several saves he had no business making. A few of them you’ll see in the highlight package below.

The Steam would score 5 on the night from four different goal scorers. Cody Egilson would notch two, while Jarrett Malchow, Josh Pilon, and Michael MacLean would also convert for the home team. Pilon added two assists for a three point night, and Jack Mills chipped in two assists in the effort as well. Matt Huber made 20 saves on 21 attempts to pick up his 17th win of the season.

Highlights:

 

After the victory on Friday, Summerland sits with 32 wins and 66 points on the season. If they win their final two games, they’ll eclipse their win total and tie their point total from the 2013/14 season when they won the Okanagan Division Championship. With 2 wins in their final 2 games, the 2015/16 Steam would set a new Franchise Record for wins in a season.

Both of their final two games come against the North Okanagan Knights as both teams get set for the playoffs to start on Tuesday. Summerland will start at home vs Kelowna (7:30PM) while the Knights will travel to face the Osoyoos Coyotes (7:35PM) in round 1.

Puck drop tonight in Armstrong will go at 7:30PM, while tomorrow’s contest with the Knights at the Summerland Arena will be a 2PM start. Tickets for all Summerland Steam home games are available at a discounted price at Nesters Market in downtown Summerland.

 

Mike, Joel and I will be live for pre-game tomorrow at 1:45PM.

GAME DAY: SUMMERLAND STEAM VS PRINCETON POSSE

~

SummerlandSteamSUMMERLAND STEAM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VS

 

Princeton_Posse

PRINCETON POSSE

31-16-0-0-2, 64 PTS RECORD 9-38-2-0-2, 22 PTS
16-7-0-0-1 HOME / AWAY

RECORD

3-19-1-0-2
L-1 STREAK L-11
6-4-0-0-0 LAST 10 GAMES 0-9-0-0-1
2ND, OKANAGAN DIVISION DIVISION RANK 5TH, OKANAGAN DIVISION
6-1 SEASON SERIES 1-6
.653% WIN % .216%
160

3.27 GF PER GM (10th, KIJHL)

GOALS FOR 93

1.82 GF PER GAME (20TH, KIJHL)

117

2.39 PER GM (3RD KIJHL)

GOALS AGAINST 202

3.96 GA PER GAME (17TH, KIJHL)

+43 DIFFERENTIAL -109
28/211; 13.27% (12th, KIJHL)

HOME: 12/93 ; 12.90% (15th, KIJHL)

POWERPLAY % OVERALL: 25/246 ; 10.16% 14th, KIJHL)

ROAD: 13/118; 11.02% (15th, KIJHL)

249/283; 87.99% (3rd, KIJHL)

HOME: 106/124; 85.48% (9TH, KIJHL)

PENALTY KILL % OVERALL: 232/280; 82.16% (15TH, KIJHL)

ROAD: 126/153 ; 82.35% (15th, KIJHL)

JACK MILLS

29G + 34A = 63 PTS

LEADING SCORER

BAILEY SHAVER

10G + 11A = 21 PTS

MATTHEW MONK

5G + 16A = 21 PTS

GAME NOTES:

  • On Friday night against Princeton, the Steam will start a stretch of 3 games in 2.5 days to close out the regular season. They’ll play the Posse at home Friday, travel to Armstrong to face the North Okanagan Knights Saturday, and host those same Knights at home to close out the regular season on Sunday afternoon.
  • Riley Pettitt will miss the next two games to finish up a 3-game suspension picked up on February 13th in Armstrong.
  • Expect Summerland to use several Affiliate Players this weekend in an effort to rest up for the playoffs, which start Tuesday at home against Kelowna. Including the last 3 games of the season, the Summerland Steam are scheduled to play 10 games in the next 13 days.
  • The only way to get a little rest headed into the playoffs is to play some Affiliate Players this weekend, so that’s what management is going to do to prepare for the playoff grind.
  • The Steam were dealt a blow last week, learning that defenseman Lathan McKinney would miss at least 4 weeks after an emergency abdominal surgery last weekend. McKinney, one of Summerland’s best two-way defenders, will be greatly missed and likely will not return this season unless the Steam go to the Okanagan Shuswap Conference Final or beyond in their hunt for the KIJHL Championship.
  • Summerland has a great record against their opponents this weekend. Against Princeton and North Okanagan, their two opponents this weekend, they’re a combined 11-2 in 13 games played, and have a +28 goal differential in those games.
  • The Steam power play has been great recently after a string of futility that saw them go on an 0/50 through December. In their last 9 games, the Steam power play has gone 11/36 for a 30.55% conversion rate. They’re 6/24 in February.
  • The Princeton Posse come to town on Friday night in what will be their final game of the 2015/16 season. The Posse, under first year Head Coach Geoff Goodman, will not move on to the KIJHL post-season.
  • The Posse have lost 11 in a row and are 2-20-2-1 in their last 25 contests. Since the calendar turned to 2016, the squad from the Similkameen Valley has managed just 1 win in 17 contests. That was a 3-1 victory in Revelstoke over the Grizzlies on January 15.
  • Having said that, they almost got the best of Summerland just last week. On Family Day, February 8th, the Posse had leads of 2-0 and 3-1, but couldn’t hold on for the win. Summerland would get two goals near the midway point of the third period to win 4-3.

 

  • Puck drop goes at 7:30 at the Summerland Arena, and you can pick up tickets in advance at Nesters Market. Joel, Mike and I will be on for pre-game at 7:15 prior to puck drop.

TROLLEY TALK LIVE: FEBRUARY 17

Coming down to the end of the season, Mike and I had a chance to sit down for a bit of a chat about what’s to come. The coming weekend that sees Summerland finish the KIJHL Regular Season with 3 games in 3 days, two of them at home, and then start the playoffs on Tuesday, February 23rd against the Kelowna Chiefs.

We talked a little Steam, the Okanagan Division playoff picture, and the playoff situations in all the other divisions as well:

 

 

STEAM GO 1-1 HEADED TO FINAL REGULAR SEASON WEEKEND

On what was the penultimate weekend of the KIJHL Regular Season, the Summerland Steam were looking to continue building good habits in their two games last weekend. Coming into the weekend winners of two straight, the boys from the South Okanagan tripped up the boys from the North Okanagan to the tune of a 3-0 shutout on Saturday night. Jack Mills notched three points (1g+2a) in the victory over the North Okanagan Knights that saw Matt Huber collect his 7th shutout of the season. The 18-year-old from Calgary, AB, now has a share of the league lead, tying him with Kimberley Dynamiters G Tyson Brouwer.

In that game Huber made 28 stops, backing Summerland to the 3-0 victory. Jack Mills (29), Josh Pilon (7), and Keenan Scott (2) would score for the Steam and extend their win streak to 3 heading into a Sunday afternoon matinee with the Neil Murdoch Division leading Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

In that game on Sunday afternoon at the Summerland Arena, the Nitehawks were the better team in the first period, and staked themselves out to a 4-1 lead after a period. Defensive miscues cost Summerland the first period, and put them in a hole they just couldn’t quite dig out of. Keillan Olson and Jake Yuris would stake the Nitehawks to a 2-0 lead just 8:00 into the game, both beating Steam starter Matt Kostiw on blown defensive coverages. Calvin Hadley would reply for Summerland on the power play near the midway mark of the period, blasting his 4th of the season past Nitehawks starter Tallon Kramer. Kramer would go on to be very, very good in this hockey game, but got beat in the first by the long Hadley shot through traffic.

The Nitehawks would then get their two goal lead back on a delayed penalty with 3:27 remaining in the frame. Devin Nemes would be the recipient of a great back-door feed from Devin Ghirardosi, and he made no mistake guiding the puck into the empty cage to restore the Nitehawks two goal lead.

They’d cap their scoring with just over 1:00 remaining in the first period thanks to Dylan Heppler. Heppler managed to strip the puck off a Summerland player in the neutral zone and find Jake Yuris cross-ice. Yuris dumped the puck into the Summerland zone, where it eluded Kostiw, bounced off the end boards, and jumped away from two Steam defenders into the slot. There, a waiting Heppler was able to pound the puck five-hole and give the Nitehawks a 4-1 lead.

The second period was much different, and Summerland looked alive from the beginning. They’d do well to control the puck possession game for the remainder of the contest, as they were able to battle back to a score of 4-3 late in the third period, but were unable to get the game tied in the dying seconds. Jarrett Malchow and Paulsen Lautard would score for the Steam in the final 4:00 of action, but that was all they would get. Tallon Kramer made a couple of very big saves late to keep the game from being tied when the final buzzer sounded.

Highlights:

 

Summerland will finish the regular season this coming weekend with three games in three days against Princeton at home on Friday night, North Okanagan IN Armstrong Saturday, and the Knights again on Sunday afternoon, February 21st.

They’ll have ONE one day off (yes, I know, right?) and then go to work in their first round playoff series. They’ll start on Tuesday, February 23rd with a home date with the Kelowna Chiefs in Game 1 of the Okanagan Division Semi-Final.

For the second year in a row, the Steam and the Chiefs will meet in a series that could potentially go 7 games in 10 days. Last season it was Summerland coming out on top in a Game 7 that was an instant classic, with Jack Mills returning from a broken orbital bone to score twice and lead Summerland to a 2-1 victory.