After a nightmare trip to Game one, and an ending that wasn’t so bright, the Summerland Steam started off well in Game two at the South Cariboo Rec Centre. With the 100 Mile House Wranglers out to a 1-0 series lead thanks to a Cole Zimmerman goal in Double OT, the Steam came out with a purpose in Game 2 looking to even the series at one.
In Game one, the Steam looked road wary. After their bus broke down and caused their four hour travel day to turn to eight, they were able to put up a gutsy effort and hang in thanks to a stellar goaltending performance form Matt Huber. Jarrett Malchow and Keenan Scott scored the goals, but they weren’t enough as a perfect shot from Zimmerman gave the Wranglers the 1-0 series lead.
To start Game two, Head Coach John Depourcq sent the Yukon Line to the ice for the opening face-off. His hunch was rewarded, as just :30 seconds into the game Jarrett Malchow notched his 6th of the playoffs to give the Steam an early lead. Off a d-zone clear, Malchow found himself on a 2-on-1 with Riley Pettitt. Pettitt showed good patience to wait out the sprawling Wranglers defenseman and feed Malchow, who beat Zane Steeves in the Wranglers’ net.
Paulsen Lautard would then add to the Steam lead with 7:30 gone in the first off a feed from Jack Mills to put the visitors up 2-0. The Steam had a great first period, playing solid defensive hockey and taking the puck to the net on more than a handful of occasions.
They would go to the break leading 2-0, and it would be up to Matt Huber and the defense from that point on. I can’t possibly overstate the importance of the performances Matt Huber put in during the two games in 100 Mile House, because he was that good. He was sensational again on this night, in Game Two, and shut the door on the Wranglers save for one long shot that took a deflection in front.
The deflection would come with 10:51 gone in the 2nd period off of a long point shot by Wranglers defenseman Todd Bredo. Bredo lofted one from 52 feet that took a deflection off some part of Justin Bond in front, and found it’s way past Huber to close the gap to one.
It was all they would get, as Huber would stand tall through the back half of the second and through the third to preserve Summerland’s 2-1 victory. In the past two contests, Huber’s faced 66 shots, and allowed just four goals against. That’s a 2.00 GAA and a .939 Sv% against one of the best teams in the KIJHL, in case anyone was counting.
The Steam forwards had their chances on this night as well. They did good work to get pucks deep and go to work, making things tough for the Wranglers’ defensemen all night long. They made life tough for Zane Steeves in the Wranglers’ goal, as he was was nearly equally as good for the Wranglers as Matt Huber was for the Steam. Ultimately, the Steam were able to get one more past him for a victory in Game 2, and will come home from the South Cariboo with a split and home ice advantage.
Now they must take care of their own, win their home games, and not look back. The Steam played what I would count as a “perfect road game” on Wednesday evening. What I mean by that is they capitalized on a couple of opportunities, didn’t allow TOO much until a late push from the Wranglers, and came out with a victory.
They’ll need to come out with a good start in Game 3, because the Wranglers will surely be ready to roll. I bid everybody a great day off, and we’ll see you for full pre-game at 6:45PM on Friday night from The Station at the Summerland Arena.