Steam Prep for Three in Five After Trip to Desert Last Weekend

yotes-2016

Steam Players and Coyotes’ players face off during the 2nd period on November 26, 2016

It was all going according to plan for the Summerland Steam last Saturday night in the desert. A textbook first period saw them outshoot the Osoyoos Coyotes, and arguably outplay them as well despite a 0-0 score line. The Steam, without Braden Eliuk, Mike MacLean, Andrew York, and Jeremy Hite, did a good job of limiting the Coyotes to just one second chance opportunity in the first period of Saturday night’s game. Matt Huber was good when needed, but Summerland carried the majority of the play.

 They would get on the board in the second, as Cole Williams would fire his 8th of the season past Coyotes’ starter Adam Jones to give Summerland a 1-0 lead. Ben Dietrich-Scammell would follow that up just a couple minutes later, beating Jones with a shot high to the glove side for his 9th of the season. The goals would stake Summerland out to a 2-0 lead, but the Coyotes would get a goal back courtesy of Brayden Durante, his 4th, before the end of the period.

With the Steam up after two, they needed a strong third period to close out the victory. Unfortunately, they didn’t get it. Off the drop of the puck in the third period, there was a weird vibe to the period. Fans were antsy, players were the same, and you could feel something coming that might not be so good. Sure enough, the Coyotes were able to draw a penalty, as they tend to do, and capitalize on the power play.

Steam defenseman Mathew Alcorn was whistled for high sticking by referee Anthony Leardo just 5:36 into period three during a battle on the boards near centre ice. Alcorn used his arms and stick to push a Coyotes player off the puck in textbook fashion. His arms did not leave his side, and his stick raised no higher than waist height as the Coyotes player lost his feet.

Regardless of the situation and subsequent penalty call, the Coyotes score on power plays when given opportunities. Their power play capitalized in this situation, as it so often does, as Colin Bell would find a loose puck in the slot and beat Matt Huber to knot the score at 2.

Just 1:43 after the Bell goal to tie things at 2, Summerland defenseman Konsta Jaske was penalized for hooking. With referee Leardo trailing behind the play, a Coyotes player broke free on a breakaway. Jaske did a GREAT job to track him down, use his edges to get around him, and lift his stick before taking the puck away from the front of the Steam goal. Everyone in the building including the Coyotes and their fans were surprised to hear the whistle and see an arm in the air signaling a penalty.

Jaske was penalized for hooking and though Summerland would kill it off, Bell would notch his second of the game just :02 after the penalty expired to give the Coyotes the lead. After a good cycle around the zone from the Coyotes power play and three or four good shots from defenseman Austin Steger, Bell found another loose puck and wired it over a sprawling Matt Huber. It would stand to be the game winner.

Connor Onstein would add a goal to make it 4-2 with five minutes and change remaining, and Ryan Roseboom would salt the victory into an empty net in the closing minutes to finish things off and close out a 5-2 victory for the Coyotes. Summerland players weren’t happy, as they knew that another game against Osoyoos was well within their grasp. 

They’ve only beaten the Coyotes once this season, a 7-2 drubbing at the Sun Bowl on November 5th, but they’ve had their fair share of opportunity. In all but one of the four meetings so far this season between the two teams, Summerland has held a lead going to the third. On September 23rd Summerland led 2-0 and 4-2 at intermissions, only to allow the Coyotes to storm back and win 5-4 in OT. On October 21st Summerland didn’t hold a lead in a 5-1 loss, but came back to the Sun Bowl on November 5th and put up that 7-2 victory. Last Saturday, they held a 2-1 lead after two periods, only to have the Coyotes draw a couple of questionable penalties and gain advantage by man power. 

Credit to the Coyotes. They’re good at drawing penalties and GREAT at making sure they don’t take them, and they capitalize on their opportunities. Ken Law’s desert dogs rank fifth in the league in power play opportunities with 152, while they’ve only been shorthanded 93 times. To put that into perspective, the rest of the Okanagan Divison isn’t so lucky.

Summerland has been shorthanded 174 times, 2nd most in the KIJHL. The only team above them is the Kelowna Chiefs at 175, and the North Okanagan Knights and Princeton Posse are also in the Top 12. Osoyoos sits at the bottom (or top) of the KIJHL having only been shorthanded 93 times. 

That’s something the Steam will need to look for when they make their final trip to the Sun Bowl for the regular season on January 13th. That’s the next time they see the Yotes, and for now they’ll have to focus on the task at hand.

 A two game weekend awaits the Steam starting tonight with a visit to the North Okanagan Knights in Armstrong. The Steam and the Knights have seen each other 5 times so far this season, with Summerland holding a 4-1 record thus far. The Knights sit in fourth place in the Okanagan Division with 19 points, and will be looking to get in the win column on home ice to start December and further their lead on the 5th place Princeton Posse. The Knights have undergone some roster changes in the past couple of weeks, but you can bet Head Coach Bryant Perrier will have the boys from Armstrong ready to go. 

North Okanagan and Summerland have always had a great rivalry, and this season has been no different. The Knights always come ready to work and give an honest effort each and every night, which is something Summerland does well also. Expect the game to be fast and physical, and for the emotion to show up in both teams early and often. Summerland’s speed and skill are usually matched by North Okanagan’s grit and goaltending, and it makes for a very entertaining matchup.

Summerland expects to get Forward Braden Eliuk back in their lineup after missing him for two games while he recovered from an injury suffered against Kelowna on November 18th. Eliuk, averaging a point per game this season and quarterbacking Summerland’s top power play unit, will be a huge addition to he lineup. He’ll get to face the same Kelowna Chiefs that hurt him on Saturday night at the Summerland Arena when they pay their second visit of the year. 

The Chiefs play an aggressive brand of hockey, as Summerland saw on November 18th. Two things they didn’t see in that game were forward Brody Dale and goaltender Tanner Marshall, who were both with Jr.A clubs at the time. Dale, arguably Kelowna’s best player last season and no doubt their best player so far this season, was with the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL, while Marshall was with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

The Chiefs are a skilled team, but their propensity to take penalties has hurt them so far this season. They are the most penalized team in the KIJHL by nearly 200 penalty minutes and have been shorthanded 175 times in 24 games. That’s an average of 7 penalties per night, effectively putting them on the penalty kill for nearly a full period every night. 

 Kelowna sits in third place in the Okanagan Divison with 14 wins and 30 points. Looking a little deeper into the numbers, I was a little surprised to see the Chiefs have just 4 wins against teams that are above a .500% winning percentage. One of those is against the Summerland Steam, so the Steam better be ready to handle Kelowna and their game plan. The Chiefs are quick, they’re mean, and they’ve got high end skill in players such as Brody Dale, Brett Witala, and Ryan Pereverzoff that teams have to look out for. If they can stay out of the penalty box, they’ll have no problem ‘running with the big dogs’ in this division and conference all the way to the playoffs.

December 1st is the day that BC Hockey tabs as the first roster deadline of the season. Teams are required to trim from the 45 player cards they have to start the season down to a total combination of 25 player cards, occupied or not. This causes a flurry of movement around BC’s Junior Hockey ranks, but didn’t mean too much in the Okanagan Divison.

The only notable moves were made by the Osoyoos Coyotes, who sent defenceman Kyle Rosolowski to Nelson in exchange for the playing rights of Penticton, BC native Michael Crawford. Crawford, a former Coyote, returns to the team after spending parts of the past two seasons with the Springfield Express  of the WSHL. The Coyotes also sent Levi Lambert to the Golden Rockets in exchange for Future Considerations, as well as sending Carter Shannon to Abbotsford a couple of weeks ago. 

As for the Steam, there isn’t much to report. GM Gregg Wilson said the phones were busy, but nothing of any substance was ever discussed. He and Coach John Depourcq like their team, and are excited about what’s to come heading into a busy stretch leading to Christmas. 

Friday night begins a stretch of three games in five days for the Steam, as they’ll visit North Okanagan Knights Friday, take on the Kelowna Chiefs at home on Saturday, and the Princeton Posse at the Summerland Arena on Tuesday night. Joel and I will have full pre-game shows for both games starting at 7:15 ahead of 7:30 starts. 

Steam Edge Division Foes, Prep for a Trip to the Desert 

The Summerland Steam continue to roll. Expected at the start of the season to be one of the top teams in the KIJHL’s Okanagan Shuswap Conference, the boys from Summerland just keep putting wins together. After having a 5 game winning streak snapped in Chase on November 12th, Summerland played an ‘extended weekend’ set this past weekend. Nearing the halfway point of their season, the Steam have persisted through the injury bug already, and managed to keep winning while they did it to maintain first spot in their division and conference.

Back to full strength and healthy, the Steam continued to look solid this past week. They started by picking up a 4-3 victory against Kelowna on Friday and then they scrapped their way to a 2-1 win over the North Okanagan Knights on Tuesday night. They maintain a 2 point lead on their division and conference, but have played more games than most chasing them. 

Wyatt Gale scored twice on Friday night against the Chiefs, while Josh Pilon and Ben Dietrich-Scammel added singles. Ryan Pereverzoff scored twice for the Chiefs and Brett Witala also tallied.

The Steam and the Chiefs always get after one another when they play, and Friday night was no exception. Kelowna’s Dakota Kittle was ejected from the game just minutes into the second period after he was assessed a major penalty for a hit to the head of Steam Forward Riley Pettitt. Pettitt left the game and did not return. 

Minutes later, gloves were shed between Kelowna’s Tyler Love and Summerland’s Steven Fiust. After the way Love acted during last year’s playoff series I was a little surprised it took until the middle of the second period for someone to challenge him, and I kind of expected it to be a player who played in the series in March. 

In any event, the pair were assessed matching fighting majors and game misconducts and sent to the showers.

Down two centres already Summerland could hardly lose a third, but they did late in the third period. With the game tied at 3, Summerland’s Braden Eliuk was hobbled by a Brad Marchand – like ‘low bridge’ from Kelowna forward Elliott Pickrell.

It was the third time in the game Pickrell made an attempt to low-bridge (or ‘clip’) a Summerland player, and in that particular instance he hit his target, Eliuk’s knees.  It was far enough behind the play that no penalty was called and it was missed by the broadcast camera, and Eliuk had to be helped off the ice by his teammates and team trainer Jessica Slivka. Pickrell had already been suspended 5 games for clipping this season, early in the year when he made the same type of hit on Princeton’s Craig Thompson.

Ben Dietrich-Scammel would break the tie soon after the Eliuk injury, and Summerland would go on to win 4-3. 

Dietrich-Scammel would be in the centre of things on Tuesday night as well. Riley Pettitt and Steven Fiust both returned to action, but Braden Eliuk remained sidelined with injury and his timetable for return remains undetermined. 

On Tuesday night the North Okanagan Knights rolled into town. The Steam last saw the Knights on November 9th in Enderby, where the visitors were 4-0 winners in dominant fashion. That wasn’t the case on Tuesday, as both teams came to play and were intent on coming away with two points.

An evenly played game saw the teams remain locked at zeros until the 2:16 mark of the second period. Riley Swiscoski notched his first KIJHL goal to give the North Okanagan Knights a 1-0 lead, beating Steam goaltender Jared Breitkreuz, after a great pass from Jack Berger. 

It would be the only offense the Knights would mount, as the Steam outshot the visitors 28-18 on the night. They did trail, however, 1-0 after two periods of play. 

North Okanagan did a great job to trap Summerland and not allow them quality opportunity at the net of Daniel Paul. When Paul was tested, he was solid, and it took until the midway point of the third period for Summerland to mount the offence they needed. 

As the heat began to rise in the offensive zone for the Steam, a well timed line change allowed Josh Pilon to cruise through the middle of the zone. Riley Pettitt and Ben Dietrich-Scammel worked the cycle in the corner, and Dietrich-Scammel found Pilon in the slot. He beat Daniel Paul for his 11th of the season to tie the game at 1.

It would stay that way despite offensive pressure in both ends of the ice until the final 3 minutes of play. It looked like were firmly booked for some overtime, until Pettitt and Dietrich-Scammel went to work again. Summerland was able to intercept the North Okanagan rush at their own blue line, and head the other way. 

Dietrich-Scammel led the way carrying the puck, and stopped up on the right wing half wall as Jarrett Malchow headed for the net front. Seeing he would have to get the puck into Malchow’s backhand, Dietrich-Scammel deferred and waited for Riley Pettitt to follow up. He hit Pettitt with a perfect pass, and Pettitt made no mistake into the open cage for his 12th of the season. 

It would prove to be the game winner to push Summerland to 16-5-0-2, and 6-1 in the month of November. They’ll look to finish the month on a high note, the way it started, with a win over the Osoyoos Coyotes this Saturday night down in the desert. 

As we hit the halfway mark of the KIJHL season, the Steam and the Coyotes have only seen each other three out of eight times. Two of those have been at the Sun Bowl, where Summerland is 1-1 this season. They’ll look to use the same formula as their last visit, which resulted in a 7-2 victory.

The Steam and the Coyotes always have good games and good rivalry, and this season has been no different. At 5 on 5, as always, they put forth a fast moving, entertaining product for fans to watch, and Saturday night should be a lot of fun. 

Saturday night starts what is a crucial 8 game stretch to the holiday break for the Steam, as they face the best their conference has to offer headed toward Christmas. 

They’ll start with the Coyotes and work their way through their division, playing Osoyoos, North Okanagan, Kelowna, and Princeton in their next four games. They’ll then play the 100 Mile House Wranglers on consecutive nights, one in Summerland and one in 100 Mile House. Prior to the holiday break the Steam will finish their pre-Christmas schedule on the road against the Kamloops Storm and the Kelowna Chiefs.

That’s not an easy trek, but it’s one that the Steam will begin mostly healthy and playing good hockey. They have the best team goals against average in the conference, and are second in the entire KIJHL. In the month of November to date, they’ve outscored their opponents 28-11 through 7 games in November. Quick math shows they’re scoring 4.00 goals per game, while giving up just 1.25 goals per game. That’s good. 

 All of the teams they’ll play between now and Christmas, besides one of the North Okanagan Knights or Princeton Posse, will be playoff teams. Like most in the KIJHL, each of the six teams Summerland will see between now and the break are teams that play different styles and brands of hockey. Summerland will be best suited to stick to the plan their coaching staff has set out for them, as it’s worked to the tune of a successful first half and a 73.9% win percentage through 23 games, 5th in the KIJHL. 

The boys get on the road this weekend, and I’d urge you to get down to Osoyoos for the game Saturday night as well, a 735 start. The Steam will return home Friday, December 3 when the Kelowna Chiefs make their second visit in as many weeks. That one will be a 730 start with pre-game beginning at 715. 

Bruyere Stops Streak, Steam Split Weekend

The way the Summerland Steam were playing heading into this past weekend, it was going to take a great effort to stop their 4 game winning streak from continuing on. A two game weekend on the road was something the Steam were looking forward to, and it started in Princeton with a Remembrance Day meeting with the Posse.

Jared Breitkreuz got the start, giving Matt Huber a rare night off, and he didn’t disappoint. He looked extremely good backstopping Summerland to a 3-1 victory in one of the toughest barns in the conference to play in. Cole Williams scored for the fifth straight game, this time on the powerplay, to stake Summerland to the lead. Konsta Jaske would add a shorthanded goal and Wyatt Gale notched another power play tally before Owen Reith replied for Princeton.

Summerland would take a 3-1 victory with Breitkreuz picking up his third win and maintaining a 1.00 goals against average and raising his save percentage to a whopping .946%. The team, overall, picked up it’s 5th straight win, and went on to Chase on Saturday night for a clash with the Doug Birks Division leading Chase Heat.

It felt like the playoffs from the time the two teams hit the ice in Chase, and they played like it. Two teams that lead their divisions and are battling for the conference lead went at each other like they were the cream of the crop, and it didn’t disappoint.

Not even a minute into the hockey game, Matt Huber, fresh off his night off the previous night, had to make a five-bell save on Heat forward Cody Hodges. Hodges wound his way through neutral ice and around 4 Steam players only to be stopped on the breakaway by Huber, sprawling to his left to make the save. 

Soon after the Huber save on Hodges, Hodges was shown the door for checking from behind after a takedown on Steam forward Riley Pettitt. 

Already without Kaden Black, their leading scorer, the Heat were up against it without two of their best forwards. Summerland used the 2 minute power play following the Hodges penalty to establish their game plan. They didn’t score, but they took over the period from there onward. 

Everett Scherger would get the Steam on the board first in the contest nearly midway through the first period. Scherger found some open space in the slot, and after good work down low by Josh Pilon and Steven Fiust, the opportunity materialized. Scherger found open space,  took a pass from Fiust in the slot and put home his 4th of the season past Chase goaltender Nic Bruyere. 

Unfortunately for Summerland, that would be all Bruyere would yield on the night. The 20 year-old Chase goaltender stopped 32 of 33 he saw on the night, and got help from Pat Brady (9), Michael Fidanza (8) and Michael Howlett (6,ENG) on the scoreboard. 

Summerland would take their lead to the first period break, but Pat Brady would score in the second on a zinger of a shot from the left circle to tie things at 1. 

Fidanza would then finish off a pretty three-way passing play in the third to give the Heat the lead. Despite the best effort from the Steam, the Heat were able to hang on and add an empty netter by Michael Howlett to salt the game away.

Summerland had their chances, but couldn’t beat Nic Bruyere. They fired 33 shots on net on the night and went 0-for-6 on the power play. Four of those power plays came in the third period, so the opportunity was there, but Bruyere was just better in Chase’s 3-1 victory. 

With that, the win streak stopped at 5 for the Steam, and they’ll look to start another one Friday night when the Kelowna Chiefs pay their first visit of the season to the Summerland Arena.

The Steam and the Chiefs have (somehow) only seen one another once so far this season as we near the halfway mark. That game, a 3-2 Kelowna victory at Rutland Arena, was entertaining and fun to watch. I would expect nothing less out of two bitter rivals who want nothing but to win on Friday night. 

Kelowna is coming off an 8-2 drubbing of the Princeton Posse on Tuesday night, and will be looking to close the gap on the first place Steam and second place Coyotes. They sit just 2 points back of second place coming into the weekend, and 4 points behind the first place Steam. 

Kelowna is a young hockey team. They are led by captain Josh Johnston, a 20-year old, and veterans Dakota Kittle, and Josh Kobelka, but it’s their young guns that do the majority of their damage. Brody Dale, now 17 after recording 36 points (124 rookie last season, leads the Chiefs in points with 32, and 16-year old goaltender Tanner Marshall had fit the bill of a starting goaltender thus far. 

Dale has been in and out of the Chiefs lineup of late, as he’s been up with the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL. Marshall has been a different story, starting a majority of the games for the Chiefs and being backed up by 18-year old Brandon Gaucher. Through 15 starts, Marshall owns a 2.94 GAA, 9 wins, and a .911% save percentage. Not bad for a 16-year old tapped with playing the likes of Summerland, Osoyoos, Chase, and 100 Mile House to name a few.

The Chiefs will need both to be on their game against a Summerland Steam team that is finally healthy and has won 7 of their past 10.

The Steam will be hosting their 2nd annual ‘Fill The Net’ Food Drive, presented by IGA Summerland on Friday night. Bring a non-perishable bag of food, drop it off at the door, and get 2for1 tickets to tonight’s game.

Joel and I will have full pre-game starting at 715 ahead of a 730 start time. 

Scoring Frenzy Helps Steam Roll Through 3 Game Streak

Goals are good. They win you hockey games, and when you score 18 times in a three game span, you’d expect to win all your games played. That’s just what the Summerland Steam expected to happen when they scored 18 times in three road games this week, and they picked up a trio of convincing wins and 6 points for their efforts. 

Finally back to somewhere near full health, Summerland was able to put some regularity back in their lines this past week. Wyatt Gale returned from injury, and suspensions were finally not an issue on a weekend that saw Summerland pick up convincing wins over the division rival Osoyoos Coyotes and the lowly Sicamous Eagles.

  • Their weekend started on Saturday with a visit to the desert to play the Coyotes. Travelling to the Sun Bowl Arena in Osoyoos has not been a pleasant experience for ANYONE in the past several years, but it has been especially unkind to the Summerland Steam. This time, however, four unanswered goals in the second period were enough to allow Summerland to cruise to victory. 

Ryan Roseboom opened the scoring for the Coyotes just :21 into the contest to give the home team a 1-0 lead, but it would be their only lead of the night. Cole Williams would tie the score, notching his third of the year with 6:12 remaining in the first frame on a power play.

 The Steam would never look back from there, scoring with just over 12 minutes remaining in the second period to take a lead for good. Andrew York tallied his first of the season after taking a pass from Calvin Rout. Jeremy Hite would draw the second assist, the first of his 3 on the night. 

Just 3 minutes later, Calvin Hadley scored what would stand as the game winner off a won draw from Riley Pettitt. Hadley was able to drag the puck to the middle of the zone and wire a slap shot over the glove of Coyotes’ goaltender Adam Jones. 

Kaleb Comishin would score for the Coyotes to pull them within one, but that would be as close as it would get. Konsta Jaske, Ben Dietrich-Scammell, Cole Williams (ENG) and Brogan Lautard would all score for the Steam in the third, finishing off a 7-2 victory. 

The win propelled Summerland two points ahead of the Coyotes in the Okanagan Division standings, and they looked to make that gap four points with a win on Sunday at home against Sicamous. 

The Eagles were a team that Summerland had seen twice earlier in the season, beating them by a combined score of 12-1 in two games. Since then Sicamous has replaced their Head Coach, Ty Davidson, with Matt Stang. Stang put his spin on the Eagles roster by immediately changing over nearly half the roster, and came into Summerland last Sunday having won three of their past four games.

On Sunday the Eagles weren’t so successful, as Summerland came up with a 7-1 victory that bordered on utter domination. The Steam poured 20 shots on goal in the first period a day were only successful once. Riley Pettitt notched his 10th of the season with exactly a minute left in the period, beating Max Gaudet with the 20th shot of the period. 

Gaudet was terrific on Sunday afternoon, but it wasn’t enough as Summerland poured in five goals, three on the power play, in the second period. Pettitt, and two goals from Jarrett Malchow put Summerland up 4-0 midway through the second period, all on the power play. 

A goal from newcomer Levi Johnson would end the afternoon for Max Gaudet and push the score to 5-0. Cole Williams would then pop the twine again behind replacement goaltender, AP Aaron Lamb, to round out second period scoring at 6-0. 

Ethan Trampuh would get the Eagles on the board in the third, but it would be all the Eagles would get past Matt Huber. Andrew York would add another power play goal late to seal the deal at 7-1. 

The win opened up a 4 point divison lead for Summerland. The two weekend wins were thanks in large part to special teams, where Summerland went 6/9 on the power play and 11/12 on the penalty kill. 

They used the same recipe Wednesday night in Enderby, where they faced the North Okanagan Knights in a ‘Destination Game’. 

Good special teams and solid defensive systems allowed the Steam to blank the Knights 4-0, with Matt Huber being forced to make just 24 stops for his first shutout of the season. Cole Williams scored for the third straight game and Josh Pilon, Wyatt Gale and Jarrett Malchow also tallied for the Steam. The visitors went 2/8 on the power play and a perfect 7/7 on the penalty kill on route to their third straight victory. 

In these three victories the Steam have fired 133 shots on goal and scored 18 times. They’ve found a chemistry now that everyone is healthy that allows them to find their way to the net, and right now they’re making the most of their opportunities. If they can keep doing what they’ve been doing in the past few weeks, they’re going to have pretty good success. 

Right now the Steam lead the Okanagan Division by 6 points on the 2nd place Osoyoos Coyotes. The Coyotes do have three games in hand to use up as of today’s date, but 6 points is still a sizeable lead in the division. Summerland is currently at the top of the Okanagan Shuswap Conference in a tie with the Chase Heat, and sit in a tie for the most points in the KIJHL with 3 other teams. Nearing the halfway mark of the season, the Steam find themselves inside the top 5 in the league in win%, goals for, goals against, differential, total goals, power play, and penalty kill. 

They’ll look to continue their winning ways this weekend with 2 road games, Friday night in Princeton and Saturday night in Chase. They’ll return home on November 18th when they host the Kelowna Chiefs on a night where tickets will be 2for1 if fans bring a non-perishable food donation to support the Summerland Food Bank.