Depleted Steam Come Up Empty on 2 Game Weekend Trip

Coming into this past weekend, the Summerland Steam knew they were in tough. With injuries and suspensions mounting, they had to look down the barrel at two divisional rivals that are always tough to play against in the Osoyoos Coyotes and the North Okanagan Knights. With their situation being what it was with six regulars missing, a split would have been just about the most desirable outcome expected.
Going into the Coyotes’ Den is always a daunting task, and with the visitors missing Wyatt Gale, Riley Pettitt, Morey Babakaiff, Everett Scherger, Konsta Jaske, and team Captain Alex Williams, it was a struggle from the start. 

In Osoyoos on Friday, as often happens against the Coyotes, Summerland’s penalty parade started early. They would be shorthanded twelve times on the night, and the Coyotes would score FIVE times on those twelve power plays on route to a 5-1 win.

Judd Repole would draw first blood for the ‘Yotes in the first period, before Josh Pilon would help Summerland claw back to tie in what was the ‘Matt Huber Show’ in the first 35 minutes of hockey. The Summerland goaltender stood on his head and thwarted chance after chance from the Coyotes, facing 46 shots on the night. 

To end the first period, Summerland’s Jarrett Malchow and Osoyoos’ Austin Cleaver got themselves into a tilt and removed from the game. Normally this wouldn’t matter too much in the scheme of the game, but with Summerland only dressing 15 skaters it weakened their position that much more.

From the start of the second period onwards, it was the Coyotes’ power play that was the only positive. They would score four more times over the course of the final two periods, while Summerland had no answer except to continue to parade to the penalty box. Carter Shannon would score twice, while Colin Bell and the recently returned Ryan Roseboom would also tally on the power play. Coyotes Captain Dan Stone chipped in with two assists, while goaltender Adam Jones stopped 21 of the 22 shots he saw.

After getting picked apart by the Coyotes power play on Friday, Summerland took off for Armstrong on Saturday night for their first visit of the season to Nor-Val. There, the North Okanagan Knights awaited, and they were ready. 

From the beginning the pace was fast, the game was physical, and both teams looked ready to roll. After twelve penalty kills against on Friday, Summerland spent significant time on the PK again on Saturday, going shorthanded a total of eight times. Before they got into penalty trouble though, they opened the scoring. Calvin Rout opened the scoring for the Steam about halfway through the first period with his 5th of the season, staking the visitors to a 1-0 lead. 

The lead lasted just 3:04 before Brady Marzocco was able to beat Matt Huber and tie things up at 1. Not long after Marzocco tied the game, Knights veteran Drayton Martin notched a power play goal to give the home team the lead, which would hold through the end of the first and majority of the second periods. 

Ben Dietrich-Scammel was able to pull the Steam even at 2 with his 5th of the season, on the power play, at 19:40 of the second period.  

Again, the tie wouldn’t last much longer than the period break. Just :29 into the third period, North Okanagan’s Dean Whitcomb broke the tie with what would stand as the game winning goal. Summerland made a valiant effort at a comeback late, but Knights goaltender Connor Webb was solid in the victory.

With two losses this weekend, Summerland sees their lead in the division diminish to one point. The Kelowna Chiefs picked up two wins this weekend over Sicamous and Revelstoke to climb over the Osoyoos Coyotes into second place, just one point behind Summerland with two games in hand. The Coyotes got surprised in Princeton on Saturday night, taking a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Posse on Princeton’s ‘Family Weekend’.

With a third of the KIJHL Schedule complete, the Steam sit in a pretty good spot despite the unfavourable results this past weekend. They have the best record and point total in the Okanagan Shuswap Conference, and are a perfect 7-0-0-0 against the Doug Birks Division. 

Inside their division is where they have to improve moving forward, as they’re just 2-4-0-2 against divisional opponents thus far. Summerland is the second most penalized team in the conference (cough cough, Revelstoke) , but have also been the benefactor of the most power play opportunities as well. 

Special teams is an area where Summerland had excelled up until the game against Osoyoos Friday night. They have the best penalty kill in the conference at 87.61% (99/113), and the 4th best power play on this side of the Kootenays as well at 18.63% (19/102). Regarding the penalty kill, the numbers are a bit insane. In 15 games this season, the Summerland Steam have given up 14 power play goals on 113 attempts. Of those 14 power play goals against, 8 have come via the Osoyoos power play over two games. That’s 57.14% of the goals given up by the Steam PK, in two games. 

In the other 13 games, the PK has given up just 6 goals on 91 opportunities. That’s 93.40% against the rest of the league, which is unbelievably stubborn. 

Looking into the numbers and ahead to the second third of the season, there are two obvious areas in which Summerland needs to improve. They’re going to NEED to bring it against divisional opponents, and maybe more importantly, they’re going to NEED to keep those opponents at 5v5. 

At 5v5 this team has the ability to be the best not only in the KIJHL, but in Western Canada. They just need to check the emotions, keep the legs moving, and avoid being shorthanded so often in order to do so. 

After going through a spat with the injury bug and dealing with some suspensions, they now have some time to restore order. The Steam won’t see game action again until Saturday, October 29th at home vs the North Okanagan Knights. This will give them some time to get some bodies back healthy, run out the remaining suspensions, and restore some normalcy to their lines. It also gives teams like Kelowna and Osoyoos to make up the games in hand they currently hold. 

Riley Pettitt, Konsta Jaske, and Morey Babakaiff will all be eligible to return for Summerland’s next game, and there is rumour Wyatt Gale may be a game time decision as well. We’ll see how it all shakes out, but the Summerland Steam are in a pretty good spot at the 1/3 mark of the season, and will look to keep rolling along. 

‘Slugfest’ in Revelstoke Finishes Perfect Weekend for Steam

Photo published by the Revelstoke Review shows Steam defender Konsta Jaske exiting the ice after taking a cheap shot and tussling with Revelstoke’s Dace Norman.

 

 

 

It’s not too often that early in a KIJHL season you can say two teams from different divisions have seen each other twice and officially ‘have a hate on’ for one another. That’s the case with the Summerland Steam and the Revelstoke Grizzlies. For whatever reason, the two teams don’t like each other, and it’s showed in both games they’ve gone head to head so far this season.

Prior to their first of two visits to the Revelstoke Forum this season, the Summerland Steam continued to roll with a Friday night victory at home against the Princeton Posse.
The Posse have been an enigma for the Steam so far this season. Two of Summerland’s four losses, one in each regulation and overtime, have come to the Okanagan Division’s fifth place team, and it hasn’t been for lack of trying. In 3 regular season games against the Posse thus far, the Steam have led on the shot clock from start to finish, and have had no luck beating Posse goaltender Chandler Billinghurst. In two previous meetings to Friday night, the league’s highest scoring team heading into the weekend had only beaten Billinghurst twice.

On Friday night, they were able to beat the Posse starting goaltender three times on route to a 3-1 victory. Jeremy Hite scored his first as a member of the Steam just 3:15 into the first period, getting Summerland the goal they so badly missed out on 5 days prior on thanksgiving Sunday against the same Posse team.

In that game last Sunday, Summerland was thwarted early and then got unlucky. On Friday night, they got that early goal and kept their foot on the gas. Billinghurst, however, was up to the task, making life increasingly difficult for the Steam. Summerland outshot Princeton 18-10 through 2 periods, but still only had a 1-0 lead.

Just 41 seconds into the third period, Tristyn Olson (who else) got the Posse back to even, beating two Steam defenders and then Jared Breitkreuz with a nifty move to tie the score. The tie would last just over two minutes, as the Summerland power play would strike at the 17:03 mark. Michael MacLean potted his second of the season, banging in a rebound off a shot from Steam newcomer Konsta Jaske to give the Steam the lead.

Immediately following the goal, on the ensuing face-off, former Penticton Minor Hockey Midget AA Vees teammates Morey Babakaiff (Summerland) and Nick Graham (Princeton) decided to drop the mitts. They’d been after one another for the better part of two games, and finally decided to settle it with fists. It didn’t go well for Nick Graham, as they squared off, locked up, and Graham was promptly dropped by the heavy right hand of Babakaiff. Both were assessed 5 minute majors for fighting, game misconducts, and additional game misconducts for a ‘staged fight’ by referee Edwin Weightman. Both now sit their team’s next three games for the offence.

A minute and twenty six seconds after the MacLean goal, Josh Pilon netted his sixth of the season on a nifty tuck play to make the game 3-1. The Steam would hold the two goal lead until the final minute when Owen Reith scored his sixth of the year to pull the Posse within one. That would be as close as Princeton would get, as Summerland would skate away with a 3-2 victory.

Highlights:

Summerland took their two points, and headed for Revelstoke on Saturday where a whole different can of worms was opened. The Steam got off to another good start, opening the scoring courtesy of Calvin Rout’s third of the season and first of two on the night. Konsta Jaske would increase the Steam lead to two just over halfway through the first period with his first KIJHL goal, a power play goal, in only his 2nd game.

In the second period when things got heated in a hurry, Jaske was right in the middle of it. Not because he chose to, but because he was targeted. Both teams were at each other from the opening faceoff of the second period, and after Calvin Rout put the Steam up 3-0 just 1:55 into the period while already on the power play, the parade to the penalty box intensified. It culminated at 8:06 of the second period, when Revelstoke’s Dace Norman took a cheap shot, and Jaske was on the receiving end.

With the puck coming out from behind the Steam goal and up the right wing boards, Jaske was expecting a pass. As it went past him, Norman charged 5 strides across the blue line to target the head of the Finnish-American Steam defender, sending him flying in a heap into the side boards. No arm went up in the air from anybody wearing stripes, and Summerland’s Andrew York took exception. Though much, MUCH smaller than Norman, York confronted the Revelstoke player only to be met by two other Grizzlies. Jaske then got involed, as did Steam Interim Captain Riley Pettitt, and the ensuing melee caused a long delay.

After the delay finally ended and we started playing hockey again, Summerland looked unphased. The visitors put their focus solely on the game of hockey in order to come away with a 5-2 victory. Braden Eliuk scored a pretty power play goal to make the score 4-1 Summerland, and after Jon Vandermolen made it 4-2, Everett Scherger swatted a puck the length of the ice into an empty net to seal the deal at 5-2.

What all the goonery means is that in addition to the injuries to Alex Williams, Wyatt Gale and Jarrett Malchow, the Steam will be without Riley Pettitt and Konsta Jaske next weekend against the Osoyoos Coyotes and the North Okanagan Knights. Both players are big losses for two important divisional road games on Friday and Saturday.

The Steam continue to lead their division AND the Okanagan Shuswap Conference, right now by 3 points in the conference and 4 points in the division, but they’ve played more games than everyone else. Osoyoos, who sits in second place in the Okanagan Divison, is 4 points back with 3 games in hand. It may still be early in the KIJHL Season, but all of a sudden the head to head matchups within the division are becoming vitally important in deciding who is going to take home the banner at the end of the regular season.

Thirteen games into the 2016/17 KIJHL Season, it’s interesting to look at the Summerland Steam’s stat line. A team that is usually very good against their division, Summerland is just 2-2-0-2 in 6 games against divisional opponents. They are, however, displaying some form of dominance over the Doug Birks Division with a 7-0-0-0 record.

Their 9-2-0-2 record is impressive in itself, but it becomes even more impressive when you notice that Summerland has been without one key piece of their lineup or another for all but the first game of the season. Steam captain Alex Williams has been injured for the majority of the first part of the season, as have 20 year-old forwards Wyatt Gale and Jarrett Malchow. Steven Fiust, Calvin Hadley, Jeremy Hite, and a host of others have also missed time due to injury early on.

“It’s good to go through this now,” says Steam GM Gregg Wilson when asked about the injury bug, “It gets everybody in the game, maybe playing a role they wouldn’t otherwise get to play, and we get to come together as a team to try and keep winning while we go through this part of the schedule. Every team gets hit with injuries throughout the season, and I think it’s something that if well managed, helps bring a team together as the season goes on and builds chemistry.”

Wilson went on to say that it’s a possibility that the Steam will get Jarrett Malchow and Wyatt Gale back sooner rather than later, but said there is no timeline for captain Alex Williams.

The Steam will soldier on, heading to the desert for the first time this season on Friday night to face the Osoyoos Coyotes. They’ll then go North on Saturday to Armstrong’s to play the North Okanagan Knights. Summerland will play their next home game Friday, October 29 vs the North Okanagan Knights at 730 at the Summerland Arena.

 

Rolling Along, Steam Split Weekend Spent Fighting Injury Bug


The injury bug. It happens to every team, every season, and right now it’s wreaking havoc on the Summerland Steam. Coming into this weekend’s play the Summerland Steam had the most points in the KIJHL, sitting in first place in their division. Granted, the Osoyoos Coyotes were just 4 points back with three games in hand, the Steam had been rolling through September to the tune of a 5-0-0-2 record. 

October seems to be a trying month for Steam teams of the past, last season going 4-7 in the second month of the season. This October didn’t get off to a much better start, with the Steam losing their first of the season in regulation to the Kelowna Chiefs by a score of 3-2 on October 1st. Josh Kobelka notched the winner for Kelowna on a breakaway in the 2nd period, while Riley Pettitt and Wyatt Gale scored for Summerland in the game. 

After that game against Kelowna is when the injuries began to mount for Summerland. Over the course of that game against Kelowna and a Tuesday night 4-2 victory over North Okanagan, the Steam lost 5 regulars from their lineup due to injury. 

5 guys from your lineup in the span of 2 games is a big number, but it’s an especially big loss when those players are the guys who do the majority of your offensive damage. That’s the case for the Steam right now as Wyatt Gale, Jarrett Malchow and Steven Fiust are three of the five injured bodies. 

Jeremy Hite and Alex Williams are the others, and although they haven’t provided much offence to start this season, they’re big losses for their own reasons. Hite has established himself as a good penalty killer and shot blocker recently, and plays well on a line with Steven Fiust and Josh Pilon. Williams, the Steam captain, is equally as important on the back end. He provides a steady presence and a calmness to him that is valued by his teammates and coaches.

Riley Pettitt has been tapped with taking care of the ‘C’ while Williams heals, and he’s done a great job thus far. Last Tuesday he collected two goals in a 4-2 victory over the North Okanagan Knights, and he followed that with 3 assists vs the Chase Heat in a come from behind 5-2 victory on Friday. 

Pettitt led the charge, but it took a whole team effort to get the job done after trailing 2-0 heading to the third period in that game. It took a 4 goal comeback, plus an empty netter to get the job done as Josh Pilon, Cole Williams, Scott Robinson, Everett Scherger, and Braden Eliuk helped Summerland secure a win with 5 unanswered goals in the third period.

A ‘score by committee’ approach is always what you want to see from a team, especially early in the season, but it was great to see Summerland battle back to take that game on the road in Chase on Friday. Unfortunately for Summerland, however, they used all their scoring luck and good bounces in that game, and didn’t save any for a Thanksgiving Sunday matinée with the Princeton Posse. 

For the second time in as many meetings, Princeton opened the scoring. Just 4:27 into the game, Tristyn Olson found himself sprung on a partial breakaway by a pass from Drew Carter down the right wing side. Olson was able to notch his 6th of the season by making a good shot to beat Steam starter Matt Huber to give the visitors a 1-0 advantage. 

The score would hold despite Summerland having 5 power plays and 41 shot attempts in the first period and a half. Princeton did a good job to get sticks in lanes and block or deflect a majority of Summerland shots before they got to Posse goaltender Chandler Billinghurst. Of the 29 that did get through to him on the night, only one snuck by.

 It was a power play goal from Riley Pettitt with 1:17 remaining in the second period, assisted by Scott Robinson and Cole Williams, to tie the game at 1. Pettitt’s team leading 9th goal and 15th point of the season came off a shot from the left circle that ramped up a Posse stick and under the bar to even the game. 
The score would stay even until the latter half of the third period, when Tristyn Olson notched another. On a broken play in the Posse zone that saw Josh Pilon hooked off the puck and then hauled down, the Posse were able to turn the puck back through neutral ice to Olson who had another clear cut breakaway. He made no mistake, going to his forehand to beat Huber and give the Posse the lead. 

The Steam bench was irate with referee Dustin Minty, who had a quick conversation with his linesmen before upholding the call and cementing the 2-1 Posse lead. The lead would hold, despite Summerland’s best efforts, and the Posse would put the nail in the coffin of the Steam with an empty netter, from Olson again, to finish things off. 

Summerland now sits with a record of 7-2-0-2 through 11 games, good for 14 points and a 2 point lead in the division. They’ll get some much needed rest this week, not playing again until Friday when they host the same Princeton Posse at the Summerland Arena at 730pm. 

The break should allow them to get at least a couple of bodies back and should also allow the newest member of the team, defenceman Anthony Olivierio, to get settled with the team. Olivierio, acquired in the middle of last week from the Castlegar Rebels in exchange for Future Considerations, was pressed into game action immediately. He looked good in his first pair of games for Summerland, and should do well as a depth piece to Head Coach John Depourcq’s defence corps. 

The team expects they could get both Jeremy Hite and Steven Fiust back prior to next weekend when they face Princeton at home and travel to Revelstoke on Saturday night. It is still to be determined when to expect the return of Wyatt Gale, Jarrett Malchow, and Alex Williams.