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.