Steam Settle For 4 of 6 Points in trio of OT Games.

Not always does a team play 3 games in 3 days. Even rarer is it that all three games need overtime in order to be settled. That, however, is what happened last weekend as the Summerland Steam played their only ‘3in3’ of the season. 

They opened the weekend with a 5-4 2OT loss to the rival Osoyoos Coyotes in a game that Summerland led 3-0 and 4-1. They were very good in that Friday night game, but as Assistant Coach Carter Rigby said in his interview on Sunday, ‘penalties came back to bite us’.  

Osoyoos scored twice on the powerplay and once at the tail end of a powerplay on their way to a comeback victory that saw Carter Shannon net 4 points including a hat trick and the OT winner. Austin Cleaver and Coyotes Captain Daniel Stone also scored for the visitors, while Wyatt Gale scored twice for the Steam. Ben Dietrich-Scammell and Josh Pilon added the others in a losing effort. 

After a letdown at the end of Friday night, the Steam went into Princeton to play the Posse on Saturday. In a low scoring affair, the Steam fell again in overtime, courtesy of an unbelievable solo effort from Owen Reith. Drew Carter opened the scoring for Princeton in the first period, and the score remained 1-0 until the 3 minute mark of the third period, thanks in large part to Chandler Billinghurst. Billinghurst, the Posse goalie, wasn’t tested much in the first two periods. He was, however, peppered in the third period and was able to keep his team afloat until the final 3 minutes. Riley Pettitt finally broke through, scoring his fourth of the year on a Steam powerplay to even the score at 1 and secure at least a point. 

Cue Owen Reith. The only good scoring chance of overtime came off the stick of Reith, and it was a beauty. The Princeton forward picked up the puck in neutral ice, and danced his way around 3 Summerland defenders, sliding the puck past an outstretched Matt Huber to secure the Posse their first win of the year. 

It was a game Summerland didn’t deserve a single point in, let alone two, in my opinion. They weren’t sharp in the first two periods, and had some defensive malfunction throughout the night. They were able to fight back in the third though and earn a point. 

The Steam would close out the weekend with a home date with the Kamloops Storm on Sunday afternoon. This time, they’d come out on top in 2OT by a score of 3-2 and play arguably the best game of the year (from an entertainment standpoint) to date. The Storm always have a good team. Head Coach Ed Patterson and his staff always do a great job recruiting, and this year is no exception. With 11 ’99 born players on their roster, they’re going to be very good for years to come.

On Sunday, the Storm were at the end of a’ 3in3′ as well. On Friday they beat the Princeton Posse 3-2, before losing 6-3 in Osoyoos on Saturday. On Sunday, both teams came out hard, but you could tell there was a bit of a feeling out period. It took them a few minutes to get going, but once they did it was a very exciting hockey game. 

Jarrett Malchow opened the scoring for the Steam on the powerplay with his second of the season. It only took Kamloops 36 seconds, however, and we had a 1-1 tie courtesy of Storm forward Hayden Dick. 

 The score stayed locked at 1 until another Steam powerplay goal, this one by Josh Pilon, put the Steam ahead 2-1 with 12:31 remaining. It looked like that would be enough for the home team, as they looked to be in control. 

That changed late in the game, with just over 5 minutes to play, as a defensive turnover 8 feet in front of Matt Huber was picked up by Kole Comin and deposited into the net behind a sprawling Huber. The goal tied the game, and send us to overtime for a 3rd consecutive day. 

Like Friday, nothing happened in OT number one. In 3on3 OT it was Steven Fiust who notched his first as a member of the Steam on  breakaway. He picked up the puck in neutral ice and had a clear path to the goal. A sprawling CJ Corrazin of the Kamloops Storm made a last ditch effort to stop Fiust, and swung his stick right into the face of the Steam Forward. Fiust went down temporarily, but was able to get back up and beat Storm goalie Aris Anagnostopoulis on the glove side to win the game and salvage a good weekend for his team. 
The Steam now face Sicamous and Kelowna on back to back nights this weekend before a Tuesday night tilt with the North Okanagan Knights on October 4. 

Steam Roll Through Weekend, Prepare for Coyotes Friday

To say the Summerland Steam are off to a good start to the 2016/17 KIJHL Season would be a bit of an understatement. After two wins this past weekend over Revelstoke and Sicamous, the Steam are 3-0 and have scored 17 goals in three regular season games to date. They’ve looked mighty good doing it, and are showing early signs that they’ve got the ‘make-up’ to contend for a division championship . They dispatched the reigning Western Canadian Champs on opening night to the tune of 7-2, and backed that up with back to back 5 goal efforts in convincing wins over Revelstoke and Sicamous this past weekend.

The most convincing part of the three wins over Doug Birks Division opponents to start the season wasn’t the scores themselves, but that every forward has at least a point, and 11 different players have tickled twine in the first three games of the season. Not surprisingly, the only player to not register a point thus far is team captain Alex Williams, who with 15 points in 107 regular season KIJHL games isn’t known to light up the scoresheet by any means. ‘Grizz’ is, however, doing what ‘Grizz’ does, and that’s be steady on the blue line, a steady voice in the dressing room, and a no-nonsense type of captain.

The usual suspects have been just that for Summerland to start the season. The Yukon line is all over teams with their forecheck, and they’re putting up the points to prove it while Calvin Hadley, Cole Williams, Scott Robinson and Brogan Lautard have been rock solid on the point alongside Alex Williams. Goaltending’s been good for Summerland, too. Matt Huber is steady as always, and newcomer Matthew Vernon had a solid debut in Sicamous on Saturday night.

The Steam knew coming into this season that they would have a strong team on paper, but on paper really means nothing until you start to play the games. They’ve come out in the first three games, though, and shown that what they’ve got on paper is exactly what they’ve got on the ice, too. Head Coach John Depourcq and his staff along with GM Gregg Wilson and Director of Player Personnel Mike Rigby have done a great job in surrounding the 13 returnees from last season’s squad with quality players that can make plays and create loads of depth.

They went out and acquired Kelowna native Steven Fiust from the Revelstoke Grizzlies in the offseason, as well as plucked Kelowna talents Ben Dietrich-Scammell (Okanagan Rockets MML), Jeremy Hite and Mathew Alcorn (Kelowna Midget T1) to help fill the holes vacated by outgoing players from last season. They also looked locally, finding Morey Babakaiff (Penticton Midget T2) to play alongside Devon, AB native Everett Scherger and returnee Calvin Rout on a line that’s caused their fair share of damage so far in the early part of this season.

On the ice the Steam are fast, physical, and have a finishing ability that hasn’t been matched so far early in this KIJHL Season. That, however, is going to be put to the test on Friday night when the desert dogs from the south pop in for their first visit of the year. The ’97 South Series’ is something that is always an entertaining event. The eight game series between the Steam and the Coyotes gets heated quickly, and after playing 30 games against one another since the start of exhibition season in 2014/15, it’s likely to pick up right where it left off last year in Game 6 of the KIJHL’s Okanagan Division Final.

For the first time in a long time, the Coyotes have more rookies than they do veterans. The rookies outnumber the vets 12-11, which is something that is a little different from previous seasons.

Does it matter much? No. Absolutely not. 

Head Coach/GM of the Coyotes, Ken Law, and his team recruit so well that being young isn’t a detriment to their team. They’ve got enough veteran leadership in their lineup to help bring the rookies along, and they’re going to be dangerous as ever. Like Summerland, they’re also 3-0 to start this young KIJHL season. They’ve scored eleven times while only surrendering three, and like Summerland, are led by a core of veterans who know how to navigate the start to a KIJHL season and lead by example.

The likes of Colin Bell, Judd Repole, Carter Shannon and team captain Daniel Stone, all returnees, have combined to put up 19 points in the Coyotes first three games. Much of that damage has come on the power play, clipping already at 22% through three games. As a matter of fact, 36% of Coyotes’ scoring this season has come on the power play, which is something Summerland is going to want to look out for.

The Steam know all too well the kind of damage a Coyotes’power play can cause, and tempers seem to flare occasionally between these two teams. Being that they’ve seen one another 30 times in 2+ years it comes as no surprise, but emotions need to stay in check in order to not get burned by the Coyotes’ PP.

Last season in the playoffs, Summerland was able to beat Osoyoos 4 times in 6 games, 2 more times than they’d beaten them in the last three regular seasons. They did so by staying disciplined and making the Coyotes play at 5v5, which will have to happen again for Summerland to be successful. 

Being the first time the teams see each other this season, there may be a bit of a feeling out period. Knowing the two squads though, that will last until the last bar of O’Canada rings through the building, and then they’ll be ready to get after one another. 

It should be a clash of Okanagan Division Titans on Friday night at The Station, so get your tickets early and come and enjoy great hockey!

Steam Open Season With Win Over Western Champs

Leading into the 2016/17 KIJHL season, Head Coach John Depourcq and GM Gregg Wilson of the Summerland Steam were pretty confident that they’d put together a good mix of players. Those players wasted no time showing what they could do, as they opened their schedule with a statement win to the tune of 7-2 over the defending KIJHL, Cyclone Taylor Cup, and Keystone Cup Champion 100 Mile House Wranglers.

I had a chance to talk with both coaches prior to puck drop. Both were excited about what they had and lauded the ‘process’ of getting the season started. Both interviews can be found on soundcloud.com or below:

John Depourcq:

Dale Hladun:

With upwards of 15 new faces in their lineup, the Wranglers struggled to keep pace with the veteran laden lineup of the Summerland Steam on Friday night. From the start the pace was quick, and Wranglers goaltender Clay Stephenson was busy. He faced twelve shots in the first period, and stopped eleven. The only shot to elude him was a screened shot from Calvin Rout, who walked to the middle at the top of the circle and rifled a shot high over the glove of a stunned Stephenson. Rout’s first of the season gave Summerland a 1-0 lead heading to the first intermission.

The Steam picked up right where they left off to start the second, as Wyatt Gale would notch his first of the year while shorthanded just over five minutes into the period. With rookie Mathew Alcorn in the penalty box for high sticking, Gale and teammate Steven Fiust forced a turnover at the Wranglers’ blue line and forced it deep into the offensive zone. While Fiust raced towards the loose puck, Gale beat his man to the front of the net and met the pass from Fiust for the chip in.

With the score 2-0, the Wranglers showed a little push-back and tested Steam starter Matthew Huber. Huber, a returnee from last year, was solid as he needed to be on Friday night, stopping 23 of 25 shots he faced on the night.

Steam rookie Everett Scherger would convert a beautiful pass from fellow rookie Morey Babakaiff to make it 3-0 Steam before the Wranglers would beat Huber. Just :08 after Scherger notched his first KIJHL goal, Justin Bond would break the goose egg with a beautiful shot low to the glove side of Huber to cut the lead to 3-1.

That two goal lead would last just fifteen seconds for the Steam though, as Riley Pettitt would restore the three goal lead with his first of the season. Jarrett Malchow did great work to get the puck into the offensive zone, where Pettitt beat his man to the loose puck and chopped it past Stephenson to make it 4-1 for the home team.

Pettitt would then convert his second of the game on the powerplay, pulling the puck out of a pile in the corner, sliding off the wall and beating Stephenson over the glove to put the Steam up 5-1 going to the third period. Josh Pilon would put some ink on the scoresheet early in the third, converting a beautiful pass from teammate Steven Fiust to put the Steam up 6-1 and essentially ice the victory.

After Garrett Hilton scored for the Wranglers to make the score 6-2, Riley Pettitt would complete his hat trick by beating Stephenson high over the glove to complete the scoring at 7-2 with exactly a minute remaining.

 

Here’s the Highlights:

The home team was in control for the majority of Opening Night, and there was plenty of excitement in the building on a night where Summerland IGA was providing a barbecue for ticket holders and collecting donations for the Summerland Community Food Bank. The Steam will try and build on a positive start to the season when they take the ice again next Friday night at home against the Revelstoke Grizzlies.