The Summerland Steam are the best team in the Okanagan Shuswap Conference through 18 games played. That’s something that most around the league would be surprised at as we enter the league’s third month, with Summerland looking to build on their division and conference lead. They did so this past weekend, picking up wins in a pair of games against the North Okanagan Knights and the Sicamous Eagles, both by 4-1 scores.
On Friday night, the Steam took it to the North Okanagan Knights from the moment the puck dropped, and although the shots in the first period were fairly close, the Steam dominated the pace of play and set the tempo early. Scott Robinson scored a pair of goals (10,11) and added a pair of assists, vaulting him to the top of the conference’s points leaders list with 30 on the season. Cody Swan (10) and Blake Holowaty (14) would add the other two goals, while Matt Huber made 17 saves in the victory.
On Sunday evening, the Steam would head to Sicamous for a meeting with the Eagles. Robinson was at it again, adding a goal (12) and an assist to bring his point total to 32 on the season and help the Steam to another 4-1 victory. Summerland was boosted on Sunday by the return of Morey Babakaiff and Riley Smoler to their lineup after returning from an injury and a suspension, respectively. Smoler scored twice (7,8) in the game, including the game winner in the second period on a 2-on-1 with Simon Snyman. Cody Swan (11) would score the other goal for the Steam, while Owen Petten picked up the victory with a solid 38 save performance in goal.
Summerland, as mentioned, was bolstered on Sunday by the return of two of their regulars in Smoler and Babakaiff. The team is slowly beginning to get back to their full roster, as the only missing bodies are now Everett Scherger and Bailey Tamminga. Both are expected back within the next couple of weeks, and could potentially give Head Coach John Depourcq his full compliment of available players for the first time this season as we near the halfway point.
Noah Kallichuk, the newest member of the Steam defense corps, played both games this weekend and looked solid in his Steam debut. The 6′ 2″, 170lb defenseman from Beaver County, AB, moves well and distributes the puck with next level ability. He wasn’t credited with a point, but he started the play that led to probably the prettiest goal Summerland’s scored to date on Friday night against the Knights. He’s made sound defensive plays thus far, and makes a good first pass out of the zone to start up ice, which is something sorely needed by every team.
The Steam will be on the road this weekend, with a Friday night date in Armstrong to face the Knights. They’re on home ice again Tuesday, November 14th at 7:30pm when those same Knights make their fourth and final visit of the season to the Summerland Arena.