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.

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