OKANAGAN DIVISION FINAL NOW A BEST OF 3

Photos: Sarah Mayer

Man, have we come a long way since the last post to Trolley Talk. With the grind of the playoffs it isn’t easy to come up with something after every game, so let’s get started on a recap now that we’ve got an off-day.

We left off after Summerland was able to hammer out a 5-0 shutout victory in Osoyoos in Game 1. While the severity of the result was unexpected, Summerland played well and put together a full 60 minutes in the shutout effort that saw Matt Kostiw stop 35 Coyotes’ shots and Wyatt Gale record a hat trick. Calvin Hadley and Michael McEachern also chipped in with goals to help the cause.

Highlights: Game 1

Game 2 was a little different story. As a matter of fact it was a MUCH different story, as this time it was Bobby Larue with a hat trick that sent the Coyotes to a 6-2 victory to even the series at one. The Summerland Steam played a good 35 minutes in Game 2, but the 25 minutes they took off cost them the game. Larue was able to record a natural hat trick within 9 minutes of the second period to turn a 2-1 game into a 5-1 game very quickly.

The ‘Yotes would add one in the third, as would the Steam, to round out the scoring at 6-2. Jarrett Malchow and Wyatt Gale scored the tallies for Summerland, while Carter Shannon, Judd Repole, and Drew Carter added to Larue’s hat trick to round out the scoring.

Game 2 Highlights:

In Game #3 we saw much of the same from both teams. Summerland opened the scoring thanks to Calvin Hadley just 1:57 into the game. Dan Stone would then capitalize on a Coyotes power play to even the score at one. Stone would strike again, this time shorthanded, and put the ‘Yotes up 2-1 after a period. The Coyotes would then take advantage of a 9 minute lapse in the second period, much like they did in Game #2, as Rainer Glimpel put them up 3-1 just :09 into the second period.

Josh Pilon would pull Summerland back within one on the power play, but that was as close as Summerland would get. It took just :06 for the Coyotes to score twice near the midway mark of the second period, as Hunter Johnson and Judd Repole scored back to back to again send a 3-1 game to a 5-1 game very quickly. Just 3:20 later, Reid Wilson would score at the end of a Coyotes power play to make it 6-1.

Summerland would show a little push-back in the third, closing the gap to 6-4 on goals from Josh Pilon (his second of the night) and Andrew York.

Game 3 Highlights:

In Game 4 it was a different story again, as Summerland was able to put a full 60 minutes together. They gave up the first goal, a power play goal to Rainer Glimpel, but had a great first period and took the lead with two goals in 1:11 from Calvin Hadley and Braden Eliuk. The ‘Yotes would tie things up before the end of the first period, as Reid Wilson beat Steam starter Matt Huber on the power play from the slot.

The Coyotes scored four times in Game 4, three of which came on the power play. The ‘Yotes went 3-for-3 on the power play.

Riley Pettitt would put the Steam back out to a 3-2 lead just :12 seconds into the second period. It would spell the end for Coyotes’ starter Stephen Heslop, who had zero to do with any of the three goals scored on him in Game 1. The first, a bomb from Calvin Hadley, found it’s way through traffic and past Heslop. The second was a shot from the slot that hit a body in front, then hit Heslop, and fell to Braden Eliuk who knocked it in. The third, Pettitt’s goal that spelled the end for Heslop, was a giveaway by the Coyotes in their own end of the ice that resulted in a clean shot for Pettitt from 12 feet out.

Brett Soles would enter the game, and Heslop would leave the bench completely for the duration of the second period. Personally, I didn’t think Heslop deserved to be given the hook, but Head Coach and General Manager Ken Law obviously saw differently and wanted to make the change.

The change worked, as the Coyotes drew even just 5 minutes later thanks to some hard work from Hunter Johnson. Johnson fought off two Steam defenders behind the net, stepped out in front and had two whacks at a loose puck to beat Huber and tie the score.

The ‘Yotes would then take the lead with another power play goal, their third of the night, courtesy of Cody Allen. Allen ran a little interference on the way into the zone, knocking down Calvin Hadley. That allowed the ‘Yotes to get set up, and Allen found himself at the end of the hammer that put the Coyotes up 4-3 with 11:18 remaining.

Summerland would answer back by carrying the play, and then eventually having a shot find it’s way through off the stick of Adam Jones. Jones’ first of the playoffs brought the game to a 4-4 tie, and we would require overtime to solve Game 4.

In overtime, it was the Steam’s game to lose. They outshot the Coyotes 5-1 in the extra frame, and the fifth and final shot came off the stick of one Jack Mills, to send Summerland to a 5-4 overtime win and a 2-2 series tie.

Game 4 Highlights:

 

Series thoughts:

  • At least one of the teams has made a goaltending change in each of the first four games of the series. In Games 1 & 4 it was the Coyotes, in Games 2 & 3 it was the Summerland Steam.
  • At 5-on-5 Summerland’s been the better team in the last couple of games. The Coyotes power play has been “violently effective” as Mike Swanson put it in our game 4 broadcast, going 6/22 overall but 5/9 in Games 3 and 4 in Summerland.
  • The Steam, meanwhile, have gone 6/19 on the power play throughout the first four games of the series.
  • It’s been tough to pinpoint this series, as a whole. All four goaltenders have played quite a bit, and both teams have shown cracks in their game.
  • Both teams have seen their depth come to play. The Coyotes top line has been rolling ever since the return of Bobby Larue in Game 2, but they’ve also had the likes of Hunter Johnson, Carter Shannon, Colin Bell, and Judd Repole contributing at key times as well.
  • For Summerland the Yukon Line has been their best, no doubt, but Braden Eliuk is tied for the league lead in points with 13 in the playoffs. He, Jack Mills and Paulsen Lautard have been steadily getting better and better as the playoffs continue, and Josh Pilon has proven to be a fantastic add for Head Coach John Depourcq and the Summerland Steam down the stretch and now into the playoffs.
  • If Summerland is going to be successful in what is now a best of 3 series with one of the best teams in the KIJHL, they can’t take periods off like they did in games 2 and 3. A full 60 minute effort has proven that they can hang with the Coyotes and stand as one of the top 5 or 6 teams in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. They just have to be consistent in their 60 minute effort.
  • In MY opinion and nobody else’s, they’ve played a full 60 minutes in 5 of 12 games against the Coyotes this season. In those games, they’re 3-2. They played a full 60 on November 28th and lost 5-2 (with 2 empty net goals). They played a full 60 on January 10th and they won 3-2. They played a full 60 on February 5th and lost 2-1.
  • In the playoffs, they’ve played 2 of 4 games with a full 60 minute effort, and won both of them. 5-0 and 5-4 in OT.
  • Game 5 goes Saturday night at 8:35PM at the Sun Bowl. Game 6 goes Sunday at 6:30PM at the Summerland Arena. That broadcast will be my third of the day, as I will have the call on Fasthockey.com of the CSSHL Bantam Prep and Elite 15s Finals of the CSSHL playoffs at the SOEC, so bear with my surely scratchy voice.

 

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