Steam Split Rivalry Weekend, Continue to Lead Division By 5

Through a third of the KIJHL schedule as October rolls to an end, the Summerland Steam headed into the final weekend of the month with an 11-3 record. They sat first in the KIJHL’s Okanagan Division by a bushel full of points, and were looking to continue their consistently strong play as they hosted the Kelowna Chiefs and Osoyoos Coyotes on consecutive nights.

With their lineup beginning to return to normal after being riddled with injury, the Steam hoped to flex their muscle over their division rivals and extend their division lead even further. The Chiefs came first, on Friday night at the Summerland Arena, and they came to play.

Summerland would come up with a 5-4 overtime victory, but not before having to come back to tie the game three different times. It showed some serious resolve from a young hockey team to come back in a game like that as many times as they did, and ultimately they were led by their veterans. Scott Robinson scored twice, including the goal to tie the game at 4 with :53 seconds remaining in the third period, while Blake Holowaty netted the game winner in overtime to secure the extra point. Matt Huber stopped 34 of 38 for his 9th victory of the season, and Luke Jirousek and Sam Jones also notched singles for the Steam. Lane Paddison with two, Brendan Mongey and Brett Witala all scored for the Chiefs, who dominated the majority of the first two periods.

The turning point of the game, with Kelowna outshooting Summerland heavily all night long, came with 5:02 remaining in the second period. With Kelowna up 3-2, Chiefs goaltender Aris Anagnastopoulos and Steam forward Morey Babakaiff were involved in an altercation in the Kelowna crease. It happened so far behind the play that we didn’t catch it in the broadcast booth or on camera, but by accounts of both Summerland and Kelowna fans and staff, it was quite the scene.

With Summerland buzzing in the offensive zone, Babakaiff took up a familiar post in front of the opposing net, looking to create a screen and perhaps deflect an oncoming puck. As the puck was turned over, the play turned back up into the neutral zone, and the rest of the players vacated accordingly. Babakaiff took a step away from the net before Anagnastopoulos reached around with his stick and made contact with Babakaiff’s nether regions. This, naturally, caused Babakaiff to respond, and he did so with a cross check to the goaltender’s chest.

As the play was moving back up the ice, nobody with a whistle in their hand, nor a black or white team jersey saw any of this happen, except for Kelowna defenseman Isaac Dutka. Dutka turned around in time to see Babakaiff take a swipe at his goaltender, and reacted how you may expect. He skated back, and he and Babakaiff then engaged in some sort of makeshift wrestling match that was ultimately called a fight and barred both players from the game. Dutka was given an instigator penalty plus a fighting major, while Babakaiff was assessed a 5-minute major for cross checking, and a 5-minute major for fighting.

Anagnastopoulos got away scot-free.

This fired up the Summerland bench something fierce, and very likely is what turned the game in their favor. Through two periods they mustered just twelve shots on goal, but came out blazing in the third looking to make a comeback.

They put 15 shots on Aris Anagnostopoulos in the third period, but were unable to break through until around the mid-point. Luke Jirousek scored nearly halfway through the third to tie things at three before Brett Witala responded for the Chiefs just :38 seconds later.

That score line would stick until the final minute, after Summerland spent the entire third period pushing forward. They were finally able to pot one with the extra attacker with :53 seconds remaining, courtesy of Scott Robinson. Robo would notch his eighth of the season, and second of the night, as he located a rebound to the left of Anagnastopoulos and lifted it over him to tie the game at 4.

That would earn each team a point, and Blake Holowaty would end it for the Steam in OT, batting a puck out of mid-air and past a sprawled Anagnastopoulos for a 5-4 overtime victory.

With the victory, the Steam kept their distance between themselves and the 2nd place Osoyoos Coyotes, who were also winners on Friday night in Armstrong. The Coyotes would come for a showdown on Saturday night, and there’s no doubt they were ready for it.

The ‘Yotes blew the doors off in the first period, scoring three times in the first 13:15 and a fourth before the first period was over to chase Matt Huber from the Summerland crease and take a 4-0 lead to the locker room. Carter Shannon would score his third of the night, this one past Owen Petten, just 1:10 into the second period to stretch the lead to 5-0 before Summerland began to show signs of life.

Scott Robinson would tally for the Steam at 15:06 of the second period, finding a puck in the slot and beating the little-tested Daniel Paul in the Coyotes crease. With the score 5-1 and there being signs of life around the Coyotes end of the ice, there was slim hope for a comeback as the Steam looked like they were finding their feet underneath them. That hope was snuffed out 1:01 after the Robinson goal when Hunter Johnson made it 6-1 Coyotes off the rush, beating Petten on the glove side.

Credit to the home team, however, they did not quit. Cody Swan scored a pair in the back half of the game to make it 6-3 before Connor Onstein rounded out the scoring late in the third. The Coyotes rolled to a 7-3 victory, handing Summerland just their fourth loss of the season. Of those four losses, three have come against those same Osoyoos Coyotes.

The season is only 1/3 done, but the season series with the Coyotes is nearly 1/2 way over. They’ll have to get it together and hope to beat them at least a couple of times if they want to win the division, and certainly if they want to have playoff success. As the month of October comes to a close, beginning to prep for the stretch drive to the playoffs will be in the back of everyone’s mind. Yes, it’s a long way off, but it’ll creep up a lot faster than one would think.

The Steam finished October with a 6-2 record, their best October in franchise history, and they lead the Okanagan Division by 5 points with a 12-4 record. The teams behind them though, namely the Coyotes and the Kelowna Chiefs, have two games in hand to play as well.

The Steam continue to be without veterans Everett Scherger and Morey Babakaiff, as well as rookies Bailey Tamminga and Riley Smoler. Scherger and Tamminga continue to recuperate from injury, while Smoler will serve the third and final game of a suspension in Summerland’s next game. Babakaiff had returned from injury on Friday night against Kelowna, where he re-aggravated the same injury in the altercation with Anagnostopoulos and Dutka.

The Steam are back in action this coming Friday, with another home date on tap against the North Okanagan Knights at 7:30PM. The last two games against the Knights have been barn burners, both needing overtime and resulting in 2-1 and 5-4 Summerland victories. They’ll then have Saturday off before firing up the bus for a Sunday visit to the Sicamous Eagles. Summerland will have to get familiar and comfortable with that bus, having only played five road games thus far. Three of those trips have been trips inside an hour’s drive, to Princeton, Osoyoos, and Kelowna, so they’ll have to get comfortable as they get set for a heavy road schedule in the coming months.

All broadcasts are available on Playfullscreen.com, and Joel and I will have pre-game starting at 7:15pm on Friday night ahead of Summerland’s home game against the North Okanagan Knights.

 

 

 

 

 

Steam Stay Hot as October Rolls On

In the past, when off to a good start, a bit of regression seems to come in October for the Summerland Steam. Traditionally the month of October has been their worst from a win% standpoint,  so after their 6-2 start in September, it would not have been a surprise to most if the team saw their record begin to even out. With injuries beginning to mount, and playing against tougher competition in the month of October, it was almost expected. 

Instead they’ve continued to impress. Their defense comes as advertised, second in the KIJHL in team goals against average and shutting other teams down every night. Their offense, however, continues to roll after being a pleasant surprise early in the season. 

After a 2-1 record in an extended ‘weekend’ last weekend, two overtime wins over the North Okanagan Knights on Friday and Tuesday, and a 3-1 loss in Osoyoos on Saturday, the Steam had a rare Friday and Saturday off this past weekend. They sat and watched as the rest of the division caught up on some games in hand, and it was probably good that they did with the injuries mounting early in the year. 

On Sunday it was back to action, with a first place showdown in Princeton with the surprising Princeton Posse. The Steam were able to get a couple of bodies back, as Lukas Jirousek and Bailey Tamminga returned to the lineup, but the visitors remained without four key members of their group. Ryan Allen, Ethan Grover, Everett Scherger, and Morey Babakaiff all sat out with injuries, and Summerland went in to try and make a statement with just 15 skaters. 

They did just that, filling the net on their way to a 7-3 victory in the Shuswap to extend their lead atop the Okanagan Divison. Blake Holowaty netted a hat-trick and five points in the win, while Cody Swan, Liam McLaren, Cairo Rogers, and Gavin Lawrie all tallied a single each. Swan (1g+2a) and Scott Robinson (3a) each chipped in with three points, while Steam captain Same Jones notched two assists in the victory. Matt Huber made 26 saves for his eighth win in ten appearances thus far. 

It was a show of strength from the Okanagan Division’s top team, who dominated from the outset despite giving up the first goal just :45 seconds in. They outshot the Princeton Posse by a 41-29 margin, and chased Posse starter Bobby Milligan after two periods. Danyon Lorencz started the third period for the Posse, and looked good despite giving up three goals.

With the 7-3 victory Summerland pushes their lead to five points over the Posse in the Okanagan Divison standings, while also holding two games in hand. The Steam will face tough competition this weekend as they welcome the Kelowna Chiefs for the first time on Friday night, and the Osoyoos Coyotes for the second time on Saturday night. Both are 7:30 starts from the Summerland Arena, with pre-game starting on playfullscreen.com at 7:15pm. 

Peacock Signs With Silverbacks as Steam Make Trio of Moves

If you saw Brandon Peacock play goal for the Summerland Steam, you got the feeling he may not last too long in the KIJHL. He’s big, he’s mobile, and he’s always in position, giving him all the attributes BCHL and other Junior A teams look for in a goaltender. All it was going to take was an injury or a stumble out of the gate for Brandon to get his shot, and that came this week when he signed with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The ‘Backs have struggled to a 5-6 start out of the gate, and sit second to last in a very tight Interior Divison through 11 games. 

“We always knew there was a strong possibility that Brandon wasn’t going to be with us all season,” Said Steam GM Mike Rigby, “He’s a very good young goaltender who was close to being in Junior A to start the season, and it just didn’t work out that way. We were very lucky to have him here even for a short period of time, and we wish him the best as he moves on to join Salmon Arm.”

When asked about the KIJHL and it’s knack for moving players to the next level, that being either higher levels of junior hockey or into the collegiate ranks, Rigby added that “This is what we’re here for. We want to help these young men become better hockey players and better citizens and I think our organization and the KIJHL as a whole have done a great job of that, particularly over the last four or five years.”

Having a vacant opening at the goaltending position after the departure of Peacock to Salmon Arm, Rigby swung a deal with the Castlegar Rebels, acquiring 1999 born goaltender Owen Petten in exchange for Future Considerations.

“Owen was at our prospects camp in April so we kind of knew about him a little bit and how he likes to play,” Said Rigby, “We like what he brings to the table and we’re excited to have him join our team.”

Petten will be in the lineup this weekend, presumably backing up Matt Huber when the Steam face North Okanagan on Friday at home, and travel to Osoyoos on Saturday to play the Coyotes.

After acquiring Petten, Rigby completed one more trade, again with the Castlegar Rebels. The Summerland Steam acquired 18-year old forward Brady Olson from the Rebels in exchange for the playing rights of 19-year old forward Calvin Rout. Olson, from Redwater, AB, spent the past two seasons with the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers Midget AA team, collecting 7 goals, 17 assists, and 137 PIM in 61 games.

Rout spent the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons with the Steam, collecting 10 goals and 6 assists in 68 career KIJHL games.

Summerland will hit the ice again tomorrow night, Friday, October 13th when the North Okanagan Knights pay their first visit of the season. The Steam will see a couple of familiar faces, as former Affiliate Players Brett and Sean Wilson, twins from Summerland, BC, signed with the Knights full time for the 2017/18 season.

Steam Stay Out Front With Four Point Weekend

Photo: IGA fundraiser for Summerland Food Bank. 📸 Suzen Marshall


As the month of October got underway on the KIJHL schedule, the Summerland Steam saw themselves out front of the division, two points clear of the surprising Princeton Posse. After two more wins this past weekend, the Steam now find themselves out in front of the rest of the Okanagan Shuswap Conference by a point. It’s been an impressive start for the Steam, who on Friday were finally able to ice their full twelve forward, six defenseman, two goaltender lineup for the first time all season.

The only player to not play a game in September, Liam McLaren, was cleared to return to the lineup on Friday giving Head Coach John Depourcq his full compliment of players to work with for the first time. They welcomed a Chase Heat squad fresh off an Okanagan Shuswap Conference title last season, who had ten returning players including their top four scorers.

The first period of the game Friday night was very back and forth, with Summerland’s Cody Swan scoring late in the period to give the Steam a 1-0 lead. Swan’s sixth of the year, assisted by Everett Scherger and Scott Robinson, put the home team up one headed to the break.

After the late goal, Summerland arrived for the second period as flat as could be. Chase took it to them for the majority of the period, and scored three times. They cashed in twice on their power play, first with Kolten Moore finishing his second of the season. Josh Bourne would then tack on an even strength marker just :29 seconds later, and Colten Nikiforuk would add the second powerplay tally late in the period.

Down 3-1, Summerland had some digging to do in the third period to come out with a victory. They did just that. Everett Scherger got the party started with his 5th of the season, and Blake Holowaty tallied his sixth to tie the game on a mad solo dash to the net just 1:12 later.

With the game tied at three, Summerland went to work on goaltender Connor Webb in the Chase crease, and he was able to stand tall through a near 6 minute onslaught where Summerland fired 12 shots on goal. Finally, with about seven minutes remaining, Sam Jones was able to tally his second of the season on a long screened shot that found the back of the net to give Summerland a 4-3 lead.

Knowing the Chase ‘counter punch’ was coming, Summerland did well to shut down the d-zone in the closing minutes, even taking two penalties and killing them off in the process. Everett Scherger would add a shorthanded empty netter, his 6th goal of the year, to seal the deal and allow Summerland to take home a 5-3 victory. The line of Everett Scherger (2g+1a), Cody Swan (1g+2a) and Scott Robinson (3A) combined for nine points in the victory.

 

Highlights:

 

A night later, it was the Kamloops Storm on the visitors bench in the Summerland Arena. The Steam were able to head home with a 7-3 victory, but it wasn’t as easy as the scoreline might indicate. After picking up rather easy 6-2 and 5-2 wins in the first two meetings of the season, Summerland was provided a much stiffer test from a Kamloops team that continues to come together while adding some veteran pieces. Recently returned Hayden Dick and Dario Piva both suited up for the Storm on Saturday night, though Dick was ejected and ultimately suspended for a kneeing incident in the second period.

After Riley Smoler (4), Gavin Lawrie (4) and Blake Holowaty (7) scored to put Summerland up 3-1, Dick cut across the middle of the ice and hung his leg to make a hit inside the Summerland zone. He caught Steam forward Lukas Jirousek in a nasty knee-on-knee collision, that felled Jirousek and forced him to miss the remainder of Saturday night’s game.

That was about the extent of the fireworks, as the Storm would make it 3-2 before Summerland answered with what would eventually be the game winner from Morey Babakaiff, his second of the season. Kamloops’ River Ross would then close the gap to start the third period with his 3rd of the season, before Summerland would restore their two goal lead and build from there. Gavin Lawrie scored to make it 5-3, his second of the night and fifth of the season after some great forecheck work from Everett Scherger.

Blake Holowaty would then score shorthanded into an empty net to make it 6-3, before Summerland would tack on another from Liam McLaren on the power play to close out the scoring. McLaren’s first KIJHL goal came on the powerplay, as he tipped a shot from the point to make it 7-3 and close out the scoring.

Matt Huber was solid in the Summerland crease when called upon, stopping 22 of 25 shots faced as Summerland picked up their 8th victory of the season.

The victory propels Summerland to the top of the KIJHL standings with 16 points through 10 games, and remain 2 points up on the Princeton Posse who kept pace with a 2-1 victory over the North Okanagan Knights.

Summerland will see those Knights when they hit the ice for game action again, as their next game comes at home against North Okanagan on Friday, October 13th. This weekend Summerland had a little bit of trouble in the second period of both games. In the first period of each game they came out ready to play, and found themselves lagging a bit during second period action. Neither victory was a ‘complete’ 60 minutes, but they got the job done and that’s what’s important. They’ll need a 60 minute effort twice next weekend, as they get the Knights at home on Friday before travelling into the desert to face the Osoyoos Coyotes on Saturday night, their first visit to the Sun Bowl this season.

 

 

 

 

Steam Looking For Continued Success as October Schedule Kicks Off

When the Summerland Steam start their October Schedule on Friday night, they’ll be looking to change a bit of team history. Their September’s have always been good, save for that first year in 2011/12, but their October schedules have seen mixed results.

Through the past six seasons, the entirety of the history of the Summerland Steam to this point, September has been their best month. They’ve played 40 September games over the past six years, compiling a 24-13-0-3 record and a .600% winning percentage for the month.

They’ve followed that up with their worst month of each calendar year, putting together a 22-34-0-1 record in 57 October games in the history of the franchise. That’s a .385% winning percentage, and they’ve only gone above the .500% line once, last season when they went 5-4.

The 2017/18 Steam, the youngest team Summerland has ever had, will look to best that mark this season and continue to lead their division. The October schedule kicks off this coming weekend, October 6th and 7th, both at home, when the Chase Heat and Kamloops Storm come to town.

For the Steam it will be their first look at the Chase Heat, who sit 2nd in the Doug Birks Divison with a 4-3 record. They’re led by nine returning players, including 1999 born Forward Josh Bourne. Bourne, in his third KIJHL season, leads the team with 5 goals and 13 points in just five games played. The Heat also have 3 other ‘impact’ forwards returning from the team that won the Okanagan Shuswap Conference Championship last season. 

Zach Fournier, Kaden Black and Kolten Moore are those other three, and the four forwards are the top four scorers for the Heat. On defence the returning Pat Brady, Ryan Okino and Grady Musgrave provide offense from the defense, as well as steady defensive play and veteran leadership.

Chase plays extremely well on special teams, sitting 4th in the league on the power play at 22.00% (11/50) and 8th on the penalty at 88.68% (47/53). Summerland best not give them too many opportunities, because the Heat know how to capitalize. 

After Chase on Friday, Summerland will see the Kamloops Storm for the final time this season on Saturday night at the Summerland Arena. The Storm have struggled out of the gate, going just 1-6-1 in their first eight games. 

Head Coach Ed Patterson and his staff have a very young hockey team, and there’s no doubt they’ll improve on that start as they hit the month of October. They’ve seen Summerland twice this season so far, and have been outscored 11-4 in two losses.

For Summerland its been a new trio of Yukon players leading the way. The line of Riley Smoler, Lukas Jirousek and Gavin Lawrie have been Summerland’s best trio through eight games. Smoler leads the team with 14 points (3g+11a), while Jirousek leads in the goal category with seven. Another pleasant surprise up front has been forward Cody Swan. Playing on a line with Everett Scherger and Scott Robinson, the three have gelled together nicely and formed a high scoring line that plays together both at even strength and on the power play. Swan is second in team scoring, with five goals and six assists through eight games. Robinson also has 11 points, amassing 3 goals and 8 assists. 

Their defence and goaltending have been as advertised through eight games. They were expected to be a veteran laden group with some young talent mixed in, and they’ve been just that. Newcomer Ryan Allen, acquired from the Osoyoos Coyotes in mid-September, has looked very good early on. The young defender has five assists in his first seven games, playing even strength minutes alongside Summerland captain Sam Jones. Allen has also become a vital member of the Steam penalty kill, and does well to use his long reach and physical ability to dictate the play in the defensive zone.

As good as their defence has been, that was expected of the Summerland Steam. What wasn’t expected was that the team would be leading the league in total offense after month number one. It’s been a pleasant surprise this far,  and it will be fun to see how this very young team responds to their schedule getting tougher as we go. 

The Steam should have a full four line, three d-pair roster available very soon, as forward Liam McLaren is nearing a return from injury. Head Coach John Depourcq and his staff have been going with a 10 or 11 forward unit on most nights, and are excited to get back to a full lineup.

Come out and join us this Friday and Saturday night, both 7:30pm starts at the Summerland Arena, and enjoy all the action! The Steam will also be down at Summerland IGA on Saturday morning from 11AM-1PM helping bag groceries and interacting with fans  

Steam Complete First Month Surge With Victory in Kelowna 


As the end of September comes and goes, the importance of a good start to the KIJHL season is evident. It was imperative with an extremely young team that the Summerland Steam get out ahead of the pack and get a good first month of the 2017/18 season out of the way.

They did just that, heading into the final weekend of the month this past weekend with a 5-1 record. Their wins came at the expense mostly of the Doug Birks Division, beating Kamloops twice, Sicamous twice, and 100 Mile House, while losing to only Revelstoke. 

To finish up the month, Summerland got their first taste of divisional play, hosting the Osoyoos Coyotes on Friday and travelling to visit the Kelowna Chiefs for the first time on Saturday. The results were mixed, a 4-2 loss to Osoyoos and a 5-2 win over Kelowna, but Summerland showed well and an argument could be made that they should have won both games.

The only reason they didn’t pick up a victory over Osoyoos on Friday was Coyotes goaltender Daniel Paul. He made 32 saves, a half dozen or so he had no business making, and picked up the victory in a game that Summerland led 34-22 on the shot clock at game’s end. 

The Steam got goals from Cody Swan (4) and Scott Robinson (3) in the losing effort, while Jackson Barrett (1), Carter Robinson (1,2) and Cameron Welch (ENG) scored for Osoyoos. 5th year Coyotes forward Judd Repole notched three assists, while Brandon Peacock made 19 saves in the Summerland crease.

Trying to get back in the win column, the Steam boarded the bus on Saturday to Kelowna for their first meeting of the season with their playoff nemesis, the Kelowna Chiefs. The two teams played one another 15 times last season, and the angst was evident from the opening faceoff on Saturday night.

Kelowna would take a 1-0 lead on a goal from Kaden Stewart, his first, but it was all Steam all the time from then on. Gavin Lawrie tied the game late in the first period, beating Chiefs’ goaltender Ethan Hunt with a backhand shot for his 2nd of the year and first of two on the night.

The Steam would take the lead in the 2nd, after Morey Babakaiff forced a turnover in the Kelowna zone and found Blake Holowaty. Holowaty notched his fifth of the campaign, beating Hunt low to the blocker side to give his team the lead.

It was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, as Cody Swan would add his fifth and Gavin Lawrie his third (second of the night) to push the lead to 4-1 in the third period.

The Chiefs would push, and on the power play would score to close the gap to 4-2 courtesy of Jordan Woytas with 3:19 remaining.

They would continue their push, but Summerland would add an empty net goal from Simon Snyman, his first, after he knocked a shot down with his face. He was able to get up, go and retrieve the puck, and send it the length of the ice into the gaping cage to close out the scoring at 5-2. Matt Huber picked up his fifth win of the season, making 27 stops. 

A win and a loss on the weekend moved Summerland’s record to 6-2 in the month of September. That’s an unbelievable start for a young team finding their footing in the KIJHL and settling into the regular season. 

They’re leading the KIJHL in total goals (38) and goals per game average (4.75), as well as Goal Differential at +19. On the defensive side of the puck they’re 4th in the KIJHL in Goals Against (19) and 3rd in Team Goals Against Average (2.38).

On special teams the Steam sit 6th overall on the power play, converting 9 times on 48 chances for an 18.75% conversion rate. They’re 35/41 on the penalty kill as well, 11th in the KIJHL. 

If there’s any area that the Steam need work, it’s in the penalty department. They’re giving their opponents an average of just over five power play opportunities per game, which is too many unless you’re going to be 90% or better on the penalty kill.

Summerland will now reload and look for another strong month in October. They’ll start their month on Friday, October 6th at home when the Chase Heat visit for the first time this year. That one will be a 730 start and tickets are just $10!