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, the KIJHL’s exclusive broadcasting partner.

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