Steam Take 2-1 Series Lead After Splitting First Two

📸: Vicky Rich

 

Three very different hockey games have the Summerland Steam out to a 2-1 series lead in their first round series with the Kelowna Chiefs. For the third straight year, the Steam and the Chiefs face off as the 2vs3 matchup in the KIJHL’s Okanagan Division Semi-Final. For the third straight year, the Kelowna Chiefs came out and picked up a victory in Game 1 of the series, in Summerland. This season, they opened the KIJHL playoffs with a 3-2 win that saw them play a perfect road game on the way to victory. They were able to clog the neutral zone, make it difficult for Summerland to get through transition cleanly, and capitalize on their chances when they came up.

The Chiefs top line of Brett Witala, Jason Village, and Josh Kobelka drove the bus for the Chiefs in Game 1, and led them to victory. Brett Witala opened the scoring on a 2-on-1 courtesy of a pass from Jason Village. Witala took it off his skate, without making a kicking motion, and it bounced past Steam goaltender Matt Huber. Ryan Pereverzoff would then make the Chiefs lead 2 on a sharp angle shot over the short-side shoulder before Summerland would mount their comeback.

Riley Pettitt would get the Steam on the board, picking up a rebound and waiting out Chiefs goaltender Tanner Marshall and beating him up high to cut the lead to one before the end of the first period. Early in the second, Jarrett Malchow would take advantage of a Kolten Carpenter turnover, and blast a slapshot over the shoulder of Marshall to tie the game at 2.

It would remain that way until the dying moments, when Witala and Village would strike again on another 2-on-1. This time it was Witala carrying the puck, and he did well to create a rebound off of Matt Huber for Jason Village to bang into an empty cage with 2:10 remaining. The goal would stand as the winner, and the Chiefs would ‘steal’ one in Summerland.

Game 1 Highlights:

In Game 2 it was a much different Steam hockey team. They got off to a good start, opening the scoring courtesy of Wyatt Gale just :50 into the hockey game, and didn’t let the Chiefs control the neutral zone like they did in Game 1. Gale was able to pry a puck loose from traffic behind the goal of Tanner Marshall, make a move out front, and stuff the puck into the net before Marshall was able to pick him up.

Konsta Jaske would then pot a powerplay goal to make it 2-0. After a puck was worked to Braden Eliuk at the left point, he made a cross ice pass to Jaske, who fired a shot that changed direction off a deflection from a Kelowna defender. After changing direction, the puck rolled past Tanner Marshall, who could do nothing but watch helplessly as he slid across the crease.

Josh Kobelka would then get the Chiefs on the board with a powerplay goal of their own before the end of the first period, with just 3:11 remaining, to cut the Steam lead to just a goal at the end of the first period. In the second Summerland added to their lead. Wyatt Gale would net his second of the night after a mad dash up the ice, stepping over the blue line and finding some space to beat Marshall high over the glove for a 3-1 Summerland lead.

After that, with just :51 seconds remaining in the second period, was when the series turned on it’s ear. Prior to this time the series had been a little tentative, with two teams feeling each other out and playing an exciting, end to end style of hockey. At this time though came the first major penalty of the series. It came to Calvin Hadley, as he barreled through the Kelowna goal crease and flattened Tanner Marshall, of course drawing a crowd and starting a melee. Marshall was forced from the game and potentially the series by the hit, which is very unfortunate for the young man who had a terrific season to date for the Chiefs as a 16-year old. Hadley was assessed a 5 minute major for Goaltender Interference, a game misconduct, and a two game suspension for the offence that put the Chiefs (understandably so) on edge.

The Chiefs would get another power play goal early in the third. They cashed in on their 5 minute power play using the same play as their other power play goal in the game, by sending a superb pass to the back door to find the open man. This time that man was Brendan Mongey. Jason Village would draw the primary assist on the goal, making a great pass through traffic to find Mongey at the side. Mongey would bank the puck off of Huber, and into the back of the net to bring the Chiefs back within one.

The third period of course produced more fireworks, as we were sure to see some retribution from the Chiefs for the Hadley run at the end of the second frame. It came in the person of Ryan Pereverzoff, in two instances in a matter of minutes. In the first, Pereverzoff did a good job to chase down a 2-on-1 and break up a potential scoring opportunity for Wyatt Gale. He followed the great play though with an extremely late, malicious check on Gale into the end boards while the puck was being moved out of the Chiefs zone. There was a solid count to four between the time he puck left Gale to the time he got hit, so much so that the puck was so far gon the referee was none the wiser.

Pereverzoff and Andrew York then got tangled up, sat for two minutes, and on his next shift Pereverzoff started a melee in the crease of Matthew Huber. While following through on a shot that found it’s way into the mesh above the glass, Pereverzoff found himself in prime position to give Matt Huber a shot. From a knee while following the shot through, Pereverzoff gave the Summerland goaltender a push in the chest that sent him backwards and started a dust up behind the Summerland net.

With 2:20 to play, an odd time for a play like that to take place with his team down a goal, Pereverzoff sat for just :11 before Summerland capitalized on the power play to give themselves a 4-2 lead with just 2:09 to play. Calvin Rout would be the guy to score the power play goal, his first of the playoffs, as he found a loose puck out front of Brandon Gaucher and stuff it through him. They would hold the lead and win the game by the same score to even the series at 1.

Game 2 Highlights:

 As the series shifted to Game 3 in Rutland, things got a whole different level of heated. Both teams were extremely physical in a game that saw Summerland play the perfect road game this time. They did good work to keep Kelowna’s top tier talent in check, kill any power plays the Chiefs had, and pick up a 3-1 victory to take a 2-1 series lead.

Wyatt Gale opened the scoring with just :26 remaining in the first period, on the power play, as he took a pass off his skate that bounced into the net behind Chiefs starting goaltender Brandon Gaucher. Gaucher, taking the place of the injured Tanner Marshall, was good for the Chiefs in this game but not quite as good as Matt Huber at the other end. Huber allowed just one on this night, a goal to Ryan Pereverzoff early in the second period that tied the game at one.

Morey Babakaiff would score just 2:08 later for Summerland, which would stand as the game winner after the Steam were able to shut the Chiefs down in the back half of the hockey game. Summerland’s Jarrett Malchow would hit an empty net with :11 remaining in the third to round out the scoring, but they had to play the last 15 minutes of the game without one of their top players.

Riley Pettitt would be removed from the game after a stoppage at 14:29 of the third period. With a penalty already coming to Tyson Taylor for Charging on Matt Alcorn, Kelowna’s Brendan Mongey took a 5 minute major for Head Contact and a game misconduct. Pettitt, the victim of the Mongey hit, was bloodied and slow to get up on the play, but did skate off under his own power. It will be interesting to see if Pettitt is able to return to the series for Game 4 tomorrow night in Rutland. Mongey will likely sit for Game 4, as I believe there is a mandatory one game suspension for any major head contact penalty.

Speaking of head contact penalties, Summerland’s Mike MacLean is eligible to return to the Summerland Steam lineup for Game 4 on Tuesday night in Rutland. He’s been missing since February 18th, serving a 3 game suspension that has now run it’s course. MacLean will be a welcome addition to the Steam lineup as they played without Jarrett Malchow in game 2, and Josh Pilon in game 3.

It remains to be seen if Riley Pettitt will play on Game 4 after taking the Mongey hit,  or if Josh Pilon will return from whatever kept him out of game 3. The Steam did, however, get team captain Alex Williams back for Game 3. Grizz saw limited duty, and the coaching staff will ease him back in as he returns from injury. 

Battling sickness and injury is nothing new for the Summerland Steam, and that’s the case right now. They’ll look to build their lead to 3-1 and take the Chiefs to the brink of elimination on Tuesday night in Game 4 from the Rutland Arena. Puck drop is 7pm on Playfullscreen.com with Justin McCartney. 

 

 

Steam Roll Into Playoffs With Pair of Wins

34-9-1-3, 72 points, 2nd in the Okanagan Shuswap Conference.

That’s where the Summerland Steam will finish the 2016/17 KIJHL Season, and they have to be feeling pretty good heading into the first round of the Okanagan Divison playoffs. The Steam finished up one of the most successful seasons in franchise history with a pair of wins on the KIJHL’S final weekend of play, and picked up a third by way of a postponed game not having to be completed.

On Friday night the Steam headed to Princeton for the final time this season, and Braden Eliuk led the way with two goals and an assist in a 4-1 victory. Riley Pettitt also potted a powerplay goal, and Scott Robinson hit an empty net to put it out of reach. Matt Huber made 25 saves in the victory,which would dampen the playoff hopes of the Princeton Posse. They would go head to head the next night with the North Okanagan Knights, needing a win to stay alive, but were beaten 4-2 to end any hope of making the KIJHL Playoffs. 

After being solid on Friday, Matt Huber would get the nod again the next night in Kamloops. He was sensational, particularly in the second period, in a game that saw the two teams combine to be missing over 12 regulars.

Summerland would come away with a win at the old Kamloops Memorial Arena, 4-2 over the Storm in the final game of the regular season for both teams. Ben Dietrich-Scammell, Morey Babakaiff, Brogan Lautard, and Everett Scherger scored goals for Summerland, while Huber made 33 saves to pick up the W. 2001 born Forward Ben Ward was far and away the best player for the Storm, netting his first two KIJHL goals in the loss. 

The two wins is how the regular season ends for the Summerland Steam, who’ve lost just twice since the calendar made the turn to 2017. The team did have a game scheduled for Tuesday night, February 21, in Armstrong to finish the 24:01 remaining in a December 2nd game that saw the power go out. That game and those two points, however, became irrelevant to the playoff race when the North Okanagan Knights beat the Princeton Posse 4-2 on Saturday to clinch themselves a spot in the KIJHL Playoffs. Being that the points don’t matter, the game will be abandoned and Summerland will be credited for a victory, as they led 4-1 when the lights went out with 4:01 remaining in the second period. This scenario is beneficial for both teams as they get much needed rest before the playoffs start Friday, and neither has to spend the cash to make the game happen when the points make no difference at all. 

Including that W, the Steam have gone 18-3-1-1 in 23 games since December 1st. In their last fifteen starts, they’ve come out on top thirteen times. Their only two losses in that stretch have come at the hands of the Osoyoos Coyotes, one of which the Steam led 4-3 through 59 minutes. 

Overall it was an unbelievable regular season for the white, red and black clad Steam. The team finished 4th overall in the KIJHL with 34 wins and 72 points for a .766% win percentage. Their 34 wins ties a franchise record, and does so in 5 less games than any other season in franchise history after the schedule was changed from 52 regular season games to 47. 

They’ll finish second in the Okanagan Divison and the Okanagan Shuswap Conference in the standings, finishing behind only the Osoyoos Coyotes. As a team the Steam sit 7th in the KIJHL on the powerplay at 21.93% (59/269), to go along with the KIJHL’s best penalty kill at 87.88% (269/303). 

They finish eighth in overall offense at 3.87 goals scored per game, and third in team goals against average at 2.49 goals allowed per game and post a goal differential of +65, the largest gap in franchise history.

7 players finished the 2016/17 season with 10 goals or more, and 10 finished with a point per game average of 0.5 points per game or better. That speaks to the incredible depth that the organization has built, as it can be any player on any night that steps up to chip in on (and off) the scoresheet. 

Two Steam forwards, Riley Pettitt (7) and Wyatt Gale (20),  finished inside the Top 20 in KIJHL scoring, while goaltender Matt Huber sits T-3 in appearances, 9th in GAA, and 15th in Sv% on the KIJHL goaltending leaderboard after a great year and a heavy work load.

It was said by staff and management from the very first day of camp in August that this 2016/17 rendition of the Summerland Steam may be the best that’s ever been put on the ice, and through a 47 game regular season the boys who put on the jerseys each and every night haven’t disappointed. They’ve thrilled their home fans to the tune of an 18-3-1-1 record in 23 home games, and they’ll be looking to keep the roll going through the playoffs into a deep playoff run. 

They’ll open the KIJHL Okanagan Divison Playoffs on Friday night at home against the Kelowna Chiefs. It will be a 7:30 start from the Summerland Arena, and Joel and I will have full Pre-game starting at 7:15 on Playfullscreen.com, the KIJHL’s exclusive broadcasting partner.

Steam Win 2 of 3, Concede Division Crown to Coyotes

📸: Vicky Rich 

For the third straight season, the Summerland Steam will finish second in the Okanagan Division standings. For the third straight season, the Summerland Steam will see the Kelowna Chiefs in the first round of the Okanagan Divison playoffs. This was all but confirmed Friday night when the Steam suffered a 4-1 loss at the hands of the division leading Osoyoos Coyotes at home. 

It was just their second loss since Christmas, and in that respect there isn’t a whole lot more a team can do. Their only two losses came to those same Coyotes, and even if Summerland had won those two games, they may not have reached the Coyotes in the standings. 

On Friday night Ryan Roseboom scored twice for the ‘Yotes, leading his team to the 4-1 victory, while Reid Wilson and Hunter Johnson (ENG) also tallied. Ben Dietrich-Scammell scored the lone goal for Summerland in the loss, just their 3rd regulation loss on home ice this season. 

The Coyotes would put it out of reach and officially be crowned division champions on Saturday with a 2-0 shutout victory over the Kelowna Chiefs.

While the Coyotes took care of their business, Summerland took care of theirs with a 4-3 victory in Princeton. Braden Eliuk, Wyatt Gale, Josh Pilon, and Steven Fiust scored for the visitors, while Bobby Milligan made 31 saves for Princeton. The Posse got goals from Drew Carter, Tristyn Olsen, and Nick Graham in the losing effort. 

Princeton, currently tied with North Okanagan for the 4th and final Okanagan Division Playoff spot, failed to pick up points and could have lost ground in the standings. Luckily for them, the Kamloops Storm took care of the North Okanagan Knights by a 4-1 score to keep the two teams deadlocked at 30 points. Whoever finishes in that 4th and final playoff spot will go to Osoyoos on February 24th to start one of the two Okanagan Divison Semi-final series’.  

The other Okanagan Divison Semi-final series will start in Summerland on the same night. The Summerland Steam will host the Kelowna Chiefs for the third straight season, with Summerland winning the previous two series’ in 7 and 6 games respectively in the past two years. 

Summerland played their final home game before the playoffs on Monday, a 1:45pm matinee against the Osoyoos Coyotes, and came up with a 6-4 victory thanks to five assists from Riley Pettitt. Jarrett Malchow (13,14) and Scott Robinson (5,6) each scored twice, while Wyatt Gale (26) tallied a powerplay goal and Konsta Jaske fired his 4th of the year into an empty net.

Highlights: 


Summerland used special teams to come up with Monday’s victory. They scored three times on the powerplay, and once shorthanded, as they watched the Coyotes come unglued at referee Cydnie Rice. Whether it was Rice or the Summerland Steam, it’s the first time in recent history (to my knowledge) that the Coyotes have conceded 10 powerplay opportunities in a single game. Usually in the series between these two teams it is Summerland who concedes that kind of powerplay time, but they found themselves capitalizing on their opportunities on Monday.

It was great to see the Steam, one of the KIJHL’s best teams on Special Teams, use their strengths to their advantage to pick up a victory on home ice. They’re overall game is continuing to improve and the coaching staff feels that they’re ready to ‘peak at the right time’ just before the playoffs. 

With two, possibly three regular season games remaining, the Steam have to feel pretty good about where they’re at. They’ll have home ice in the first round of the playoffs, they know for sure they’ll be facing the Kelowna Chiefs, and they’ve got a couple of games remaining to fine tune their collective game. 

On Friday the Steam will make their fourth and final regular season trip to Princeton, who is still fighting North Okanagan for the final Okanagan Divison Playoff spot. The Steam will then go to Kamloops on Saturday night to finish their KIJHL regular season schedule. 

There is a game scheduled for Tuesday of next week, February 21st, between the Summerland Steam and the North Okanagan Knights. That game is a continuation of a game from December 2nd, in which the power went out at Nor-Val Arena in Armstrong. Summerland currently leads that game 4-1 with 4:04 remaining in the second period. 

The remainder of this game will only be played if the points make a difference in North Okanagan’s chase for the postseason. If they’ve qualified for the playoffs, or are more than 2 points behind Princeton after those two teams play each other Saturday night, the Tuesday game will be abandoned and go down as a 4-1 Summerland victory. 

Steam Set For Clash With Coyotes


It’s been two weeks since the Summerland Steam let one slip away in the final minute against the Osoyoos Coyotes, and they’ll get their chance at revenge on Friday night when the Coyotes pay their second to last visit to the Summerland Arena. 

Two weeks ago, on January 27th, Summerland saw a 4-3 lead turn into a 5-4 loss in the blink of an eye, allowing the Coyotes to score twice, once at :49 and once at :11, to come away with two points. 

Since then the Steam have bene finding ways to win. Since that loss two weeks ago, their only loss since Christmas, Summerland has won three straight. They picked up a 5-4 2OT win in Revelstoke the next night, followed by back to back one goal wins over the rival Kelowna Chiefs. 

The Steam were able to beat the Chiefs by a 2-1 score on Saturday night last weekend, followed by a 2OT victory by a 3-2 score in Rutland on Tuesday. 

The win in Rutland was especially sweet, as the Steam battled a little adversity to come up with a big character win. Missing five regulars from their lineup, Summerland was able to claw their way to overtime with a good road game. In OT, Mike MacLean was given the boot for a hit on Jason Village and assessed a five minute major for Checking to the Head and a game misconduct. 

MacLean is now suspended for the next four games, while Village started that Chiefs powerplay and played nearly four minutes of the five minute powerplay.

Luckily for the Steam, their league-best penalty kill went to work and took care of the disadvantage. Wyatt Gale was able to bag his 24th of the season, on a powerplay, with just :14 remaining in the period to give the Steam the extra point.

The extra point keeps the Steam in pursuit of the Osoyoos Coyotes at the top of the Okanagan Divison Standings. Headed into two meetings this weekend, Summerland sits seven points back. If Summerland wins their games and takes care of their own business, they could be just a couple of points back by weekend’s end. 

With six games remaining for Osoyoos and seven for Summerland, there is an outside chance the Steam could catch the Coyotes. That game in hand is a game from December 2nd against the North Okanagan Knights that Summerland leads 4-1 with 4:01 remaining in the second period. That game is scheduled to be completed, if necessary, on February 21st. The game will only be completed if the points are necessary to help the Knights make the playoffs.

For Summerland they’ll gear up for a tough weekend this weekend that includes three games in four days. They’ll play the Coyotes tonight at home, travel to Princeton on Saturday, and return home to face the Coyotes again Monday at 1:30 for a Family Day matinee.

The Steam and Coyotes going head to head this season has been nothing short of spectacular. All but two of their six meetings to date have been fun, entertaining, and competitive. I would expect all three of those things to be present inside the Summerland Arena Friday, as Summerland puts a 17-2-1-1 home record up against the 17-4 road record of the Okanagan Shuswap Conference leading Coyotes. 

Since December 1st, 2016, the two teams have been nothing short of spectacular. Summerland has gone 13-2-1-1 in 17 games, while Osoyoos has gone 16-2-0-1 in 19 of their own. In their past 10 games, both teams are 9-1. Each team’s only regulation loss has come against the other,  which is a pretty good indicator of what you’re going to see on Friday night and Monday afternoon. It will be important, as always, for Summerland to play the game at 5v5 and control the game with their forecheck. The Coyotes powerplay, as is well known, is the one thing Summerland will need to steer clear of, because it’s deadly.

It seems these two teams only really lose to one another, and that’s going to make this weekend a whole lot of fun. Two of the best teams in the province, who really aren’t too fond of one another, are about to get after it twice in four days. It should be compelling stuff as we head for the end of the KIJHL Regular Season and get ready for the playoffs to start on February 24th. 

Puck drops at 7:30 tonight from the Summerland Arena, and Joel and I will have full Pre-game starting at 7:15.

Weekend Split Has Steam Chasing 

If you wanted entertainment and a night out in Summerland, BC, last Friday night was a good night to do it. The Summerland Steam and the Osoyoos Coyotes played one of the most interesting games of the season to date, with a surprise ending that even Spielberg couldn’t have written. 
Summerland, looking to close the gap on the division leading Coyotes, opened the scoring in a game that they needed badly to keep up with the division leaders. Riley Pettitt notched his 20th, beating Coyotes goaltender Liam Aitken after a good feed from Levi Johnson in neutral ice. Affiliate Player Bailey Tamminga would pick up his first KIJHL point on the play as he moved the puck through the neutral zone to Johnson. He then fed to Pettitt, who went high over the right handed glove of Aitken. 

Cody Allen’s first of the season would follow, surprise surprise, on a Coyotes powerplay. A great feed cross ice from Sam Reinbolt found the stick of Allen for the one timer, and he made no mistake in beating Steam starter Matt Huber. 

Judd Repole would add his first of two on the night on another Coyotes powerplay just a few minutes later to put the visitors up 2-1 after a period. 

Wyatt Gale would tally the only goal of the second period, a tip in front, for his 20th of the season to tie things at 2. After a faceoff win in the offensive zone by Braden Eliuk, Matt Alcorn threw a puck at goal where Gale tipped it past Aitken while eluding a defender. 

The ‘Yotes would then take a 3-2 lead on Cody Allen’s second of the night early in the third period. After extended zone pressure by Osoyoos, Allen let a shot go from the left point. The puck went wide of the goal, but bounced off the end boards, out off Matt Huber, and into the back of the net to give the visitors their lead back.

The Coyotes lead wouldn’t last long, as Mike MacLean would answer for the Steam with a great solo effort. After stripping the puck from a Coyotes forward in neutral ice, MacLean found himself streaking into the zone all alone as his linemates changed. He was able to beat Aitken for his 5th of the season with a low, hard shot through a defender’s legs, tying the game at three. 

MacLean would be at it again shortly thereafter, with about 6:30 to go, as he and Morey Babakaiff found themselves in on the forecheck. They were able to strip the puck and find a wide open Calvin Rout in the slot, who beat a helpless Aitken to give the Steam the lead. 

Up 4-3 with just over six minutes to play, Summerland looked to have gained control. They did good work for the next couple of minutes to dictate play, and actually forced the Coyotes to take a penalty with just over three to play. 

They were unable to cash in on their powerplay, but did kill a full two minutes from the clock, taking them down to just over a minute to play. That’s when things went sideways. 

Two failed clears, one with about :54 seconds to play and one with about :15 seconds to play, allowed the Coyotes to score two goals on two 50+ foot screen shots in the final minute of play. Judd Repole scored the first, his second of the night, on a tip in front of Huber with :49 seconds remaining. Austin Steger would then send one through traffic with :11 seconds remaining to break the tie and send the Coyotes home with 2 points and a 5-4 victory. 

Yes, it was frustrating to watch, and surely frustrating to play, but that’s the beauty of junior hockey. Things can change in quick order, and on Friday night it took just under a minute for Summerland to see what could have been a three point deficit go to seven. It’ll make catching the Coyotes for first in the conference a very difficult task for the Summerland Steam.

The positives in the game Friday against Osoyoos were really good ones. The Steam were shorthanded due to both injury and illness, and managed to find a way to stay in the game despite missing Jarrett Malchow, Everett Scherger, and Konsta Jaske from their lineup. Affiliate defenseman Bailey Tamminga was terrific in relief, and did well when he was put in key situations by Head Coach John Depourcq including special teams, and late in the game. 

Summerland could have been within three points and still maintained a game in hand. Instead the Coyotes now find themselves up 7 points with 6 games to go, 2 of them at the Summerland Arena. 

After the debilitating loss Friday, Summerland Steam knew they needed to bounce back. Surely the message from Head Coach John Depourcq was to not dwell, and “get back on the horse” the next night in Revelstoke. 

The Revelstoke Forum, home to the Revelstoke Grizzlies, was LOUD on Saturday night as it was ‘Aussie Night’. All the employees from the Revelstoke Mountain Resort were in the house, and got to watch another entertaining contest.

This time Summerland would come out on top by the 5-4 score, powered by a double overtime winner by Scott Robinson. Wyatt Gale scored twice, Riley Pettitt also tallied, and Steven Fiust notched his 5th of the year in regulation. Robinson would then score in 3on3 overtime to give the Steam the 5-4 victory and Jared Breitkreuz his 8th win of the season. 

The two points in Revelstoke were definitely welcome. Summerland was a team this weekend that was missing an element to it’s game with Malchow, Scherger and Jaske out of the lineup, and it was great to see them pull together to play two pretty good hockey games. 

They finished the month of January with a 7-1 record, with the lone loss coming to the Coyotes last Friday. In their last 15 contests dating back to December 3 the Steam carry an 11-2-1-1 record, so they’re doing just fine. 

The Steam finish the month of January with higher than average totals in a lot of categories. They scored over a full goal more than their 4.00 goals per game average, netting 5.31 goals per game in 2017’s first month. They also, however, gave up a full goal more than their 2.32 goals against per game average, allowing an average of over 3.00 goals per game in January. 

Riley Pettitt and Wyatt Gale carried the bulk of the offensive load in the month, collecting 18 points (9g+9a) and 15 points (6g+9a) respectively in eight games. Both SHOULD be up for the KIJHL’s Okanagan Shuswap Conference Player of the Month Award when it is announced later this week. 

The Yukon Line did a lot of the scoring for Summerland during January, but they definitely didn’t do it alone. Every player on the roster, including AP defenseman Bailey Tamminga, chipped in with at least a point through eight games in January. Brogan Lautard, Braden Eliuk and Konsta Jaske, as a matter of fact, were the only Steam players not to tally a goal in the month.

It’s a wonderful thing to have the depth that Head Coach John Depourcq has to work with. It begins to come in handy at this time of year when injuries from a long season begin to mount, and the playoffs loom. The KIJHL Playoffs are a different grind than most other leagues, as teams are required to fit 7 games into 9 day windows in the first three rounds. Easy math says there’s a potential to play 21 games in 27 days, which is almost exactly a half a KIJHL season in less than one month. For contextual purposes, Summerland started their season on September 9th, and played their 21st game 64 days later in Chase on November 12th. That’s a lot of hockey to be played over a 27 day period if you have to play three seven game series’. Due to these kinds of numbers, there’s certainly a premium put on winning a series in four or five games. Surely that’s the preference of most teams looking to make a deep run, including the Summerland Steam. 

That’s still three weeks away for the boys in black, red, and white, and with 7 games remaining it will give them a chance to fine tune as they stare down a potential first round meeting with the Kelowna Chiefs for a third straight year. 

They’ll see those Chiefs twice more before the playoffs, however, including this Saturday night at the Summerland Arena. The Chiefs are a hard-nosed, talented hockey team that can be very difficult to deal with. The Steam have had their successes with the Chiefs so far, going 4-2 in six meetings to date, but they’ll have to be sharp to beat a team that does not like to lose. 

Puck drop will be at 730pm and Joel Barg and I will have full pregame starting at 715pm on Playfullscreen.com.