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.