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.
- 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.