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.

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