Former Steam Forward MacLean Gets Dub Call

 

MacLean SteamMichael MacLean, Summerland Steam, 2015-2017

 Not long ago, just last season in fact, you could find Penticton native Michael MacLean plying his trade in the KIJHL for the Summerland Steam. He spent two full seasons in Summerland, amassing 10 goals, 21 points and 240 penalty minutes over 82 games before catching on with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats to start the 2017/18 season. 

In 23 games with Lloydminster, MacLean has notched six goals and six assists for 12 points and 106 penalty minutes while playing an ‘energy’ type role for the Bobcats.

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Going back a couple of seasons, the 6 foot 6 inch, 245 pound MacLean came from the Penticton Minor Hockey program and made the 2015/16 Summerland Steam squad out of camp as a 17-year old. 

“He caught our eye right away, obviously with his size. Guys who are 6’6″ and 240 at age 17 don’t fly under very many people’s radar,” Said now Steam GM Mike Rigby, who was the team’s Director of Player Development at the time of MacLean’s arrival.

“We knew of Mike far before he arrived at our camp, obviously with growing up and playing minor hockey just down the road. We always saw him as a hard worker who knew how to use his size and length to his advantage, and we’re always looking for that combination.”

 

That hard work and determination, as well as the size and length MacLean possesses has now not only turned into a regular AJHL gig with the Bobcats, but has also caught the attention of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.

The Thunderbirds are not unfamiliar with KIJHL alumni, as one of their assistant captains, Zach Andrusiak, spent time with the North Okanagan Knights and the Kamloops Storm back in 2014/15 and 2015/16.

The Thunderbirds recently signed Mike MacLean to an Affiliate card, and got him into his first WHL action this past Friday against the Prince George Cougars. He recorded one shot on goal in his debut.

“We’re very happy for him and not at all surprised,” Said Rigby, “He’s proof that no matter how much the odds are stacked against you, if you’re determined to put in the work that’s necessary to get you where you want to go, there’s a chance you can get there. I’m glad Mike has earned himself the chance to show people what he’s all about.”

MacLean will now return home for the Christmas break, as Lloydminster doesn’t play again until December 29th when they host the Whitecourt Wolverines.

The Summerland Steam would like to congratulate ‘Big Mike’ for his accomplishments, and commend him for his hard work, dedication, and will to continue to improve. 

One Win, One Tie Send Steam to Nine Day Break

 

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Summerland players celebrate one of two power play goals Friday night in Osoyoos, propelling Summerland to a 2-1 victory. Photo: Victoria Rich Photography

 

A trip to Osoyoos sometime in December hasn’t been a reason for joy for the Summerland Steam in recent experience. Generally, the Steam have a bit of a tough time with the Osoyoos Coyotes, but they got a boost in their visit this past Friday night that was a welcome sight. It didn’t come in the addition of one of their injured players returning to the lineup, but it was their power play that propelled them to a big 2-1 victory.

As a broadcaster and a guy that watches just about every game the Summerland Steam have played over the past five seasons, I can tell you the power play hasn’t been the difference in a game in a long time. Certainly not in the past two seasons, but it was on Friday.

The Coyotes’ power play, of course, opened the scoring and let the teddy bears fly thanks to Carter Shannon’s 14th of the season just 2:40 into the hockey game. It would be the only goal the Coyotes would score on the night, despite six more power play opportunities and 36 total shots on net. Matt Huber was the reason the puck stayed out, and probably should have been named the game star after making 35 stops.

Morey Babakaiff would score his 5th of the season, on the power play, with 6:37 remaining in the second period to tie the game at 1. The Steam power play, which recently broke an 0-for-51 two weekends ago against Princeton, has simplified a bit and found success. The goal came from a simple shot from the point, Babakaiff locating a rebound before Coyotes goaltender Daniel Paul could, and tucking it in.

Blake Holowaty would then score in the third period, with 10:36 remaining, on the same play. This time though, there was no rebound to locate. Holowaty took a pass up at the top of the ‘umbrella’ from Brogan Lautard, picked his corner, and didn’t miss, potting his 17th of the season and giving Summerland a 2-1 lead.

That’s where the scoring would stop, although the Steam would keep pushing forward and not allow much from the Coyotes to try and get back on the board. Huber had to make one note-worthy save in the last ten minutes, but that would be it and Summerland would skate away with their first victory of the season in four tries against Osoyoos.

With just one more road trip on the way before the holiday break, the Summerland Steam then loaded the bus on Tuesday to head for Princeton and a date with the Princeton Posse.

Princeton, sitting in third place in the Okanagan Division, opened the scoring on a power play late in the first period. Lane French would notch his 11th of the season with 3:38 remaining in the frame, assisted by Posse captain Drew Carter and newcomer and former Kelowna Chief Jonathan Lee.

The Posse power play goal in the first period, the only tally, would be met by a Summerland power play goal in the second period. Babakaiff would get the goal, his 6th of the season, on almost a mirror image play from Osoyoos on Friday. Blake Holowaty would put the shot in from the point, Babakaiff would locate the rebound, and put it behind Posse netminder Bobby Milligan to tie the game at 1.

The Posse would then strike back, this time from the captain, Drew Carter. On another Posse power play, Carter was able to take a pass from Lane French at the top of the circles, and blast home his 11th of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead.

The lead would hold until the middle of period three. Special teams was the flavor of the day for these teams, as Summerland would capitalize on another power play with 13:40 remaining. Simon Snyman would get the goal, his fourth of the season. Blake Holowaty would snake his way through the neutral zone and over the Princeton blue line before dropping off to Snyman, who would wait for a crowd to form in front of the goal. He then changed his shooting angle ever so slightly at the right point, and sent one into the top corner over the blocker of Miligan to tie the game at two.

That’s where the score line would stay through regulation time. Each team recorded a point, and Summerland awarded another power play at the end of regulation as Jonathan Lee was assessed a minor for roughing. Summerland could do nothing with that power play, and would then have to kill a couple penalties of their own to nurse the clock down to 0:00 of double OT. As they did that, however, referee Kevin Crowell awarded Posse forward Lane French a penalty shot at the final buzzer.

French would wind his way in, but was met by Matt Huber at the top of the crease, who made a blocker save to preserve the 2-2 tie.

Each team would get a point, which propelled Summerland into sole possession of first place in the Okanagan Division headed to the Christmas break. The Osoyoos Coyotes do hold a game in hand, and will be the first opponent Summerland sees after Christmas, with a 7:35 pm start at the Sun Bowl in Osoyoos on December 29th.

The Steam and the Coyotes seem destined to be intertwined in a race for the Okanagan Division pennant for the fourth season in a row, and face each other four times down the stretch. The Division standings look like this as the Steam head for their nine day holiday break:

As shown, the Steam and Coyotes are eight and seven points clear of third place Princeton, respectively, and each have a couple of games in hand as well. It’s a safe bet that they’ll finish 1 and 2, barring disaster of course, which could potentially mean a second round meeting in the KIJHL playoffs for the fifth season in a row.

When the teams come out of the break on December 29th, Summerland will face an extremely tough set of games. They’ll start with Osoyoos on the road on December 29th, followed by another meeting with Princeton at the SOEC in Penticton at 7PM on Thursday, January 4th, 2018.

They’ll then travel to 100 Mile House, Princeton, and play a ‘destination’ contest against the Coyotes once again in Oliver on January 14th. They’ll return to the Summerland Arena on January 19th, 2018 when the team hosts the Chase Heat.

 

On behalf of the entire Summerland Steam organization, we would like to wish all of our players, fans, families, and volunteers a very happy and safe holiday season. Merry Christmas!

Weekend Split Sets Up Division Clash with Coyotes

This past weekend, the Summerland Steam earned a split in two home games against two tough opponents. Both games saw the Steam come together with local charities to help those in need during the holiday season. On Friday night, Summerland hosted their 3rd Annual ‘Fill The Net’ Food Drive to support the Summerland Food Bank.

They were able to come away with a hard fought 2-0 shutout over the Princeton Posse, thanks to a 23 save performance from goaltender Matt Huber, and also raise a whole bunch of donations for the food bank headed into the holiday season.

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Scott Robinson opened the scoring with his 15th of the season just 3:58 into the first frame, locating a rebound off the pad of Posse goaltender Bobby Milligan and sliding it into an empty net. It would be the only goal in the first two periods, which were hotly contested and came with a little bit of fire.

Blake Holowaty would score the only other goal of the game, again off a rebound in the slot, just :29 into the third period. This put Summerland up 2-0 and they let goaltender Matt Huber do the rest. He made 23 saves, including four on either partial or clean cut breakaways, to pick up his 14th win of the season.

Summerland wasn’t great in this hockey game, but they did enough to pick up two points against a divisional opponent. After jumping out of an 0-for-51 slump with a power play goal last Saturday in Princeton, they had just two opportunities on Friday night and didn’t convert on either of them. The bright side though, is that after they allowed Princeton to score three power play goals in their last meeting, they held the Posse to an 0-for-4 on Friday night to help pick up the victory.

On Saturday they faced an equally stiff test in a game that featured the two top teams in the conference, as well as the 1st Annual Teddy Bear Toss at the Summerland Arena. The Revelstoke Grizzlies came to town, and were able to pick up a 3-2 victory thanks to a power play goal by former Kelowna Chiefs defenceman Joel Scrimbit early in the third period.

Summerland would open the scoring and send the teddies flying with 1:15 remaining in the first frame. Cody Swan would be the man to tally the first Teddy Bear Toss goal in Steam franchise history, taking a pass while going to the front of the net on the power play and sliding the puck under Grizzlies starter Liam McGarva.

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The bears would be collected by Steam players, staff, and Disctrict of Summerland staff and will be delivered to local charities to help families in need over the course of the holiday season.

Swan’s 15th of the season, assisted by Blake Holowaty and Morey Babakaiff, would stake the Steam to a 1-0 lead after a period of play.

Summerland would hold that lead until the 11:38 mark of the second period when Tommy Boedtker, the Grizzlies Captain, was able to sneak in alone and beat Matt Huber blocker side to tie the game at 1. Boedtker did great work to receive a beautiful touch pass from recently acquired forward Jordan Robertson, who set up his first of three goals on the night.

Cairo Rogers would put Summerland back out in front with exactly eight minutes remaining in the second period with his seventh of the season just a few minutes later. Brogan Lautard did great work along the right wing boards to win a puck battle and find some space. He then had a look and found a wide open Rogers camped out on the back door, and he made no mistake.

With Summerland leading, the Grizzlies showed some push back. They controlled zone time and were able to test Matt Huber with a half dozen or so shots in the last four minutes of the second period. They were able to connect with 3:10 remaining in the frame, as Cody Flann managed to tip a puck into the top corner of the net while cruising to the back post.

Robertson was again in on the play, as he made the pass to the point that allowed Joel Scrimbit to take the shot. The shot hit a body in front of the goal and fell straight to the back post, where Flann was waiting to tip in his 17th goal of the season.

With the score tied at two, we reached the end of the second period. As we did so, however, Summerland found themselves in some penalty trouble. Summerland was assessed a 4-minute double minor for high-sticking, and on the ensuing power play took another 4-minute penalty for spearing after the Revelstoke power play dove on the puck in the offensive zone. Referee Carson Mintram refused to blow play dead, which forced Steam captain Sam Jones to do SOMETHING  to try and get the puck. He began to dig for it, and was assessed a double minor for spearing for his trouble.

This put the Grizzlies on an extended 5-on-3, for a shade under three minutes, to be exact. Summerland was able to get through to the end of the period, but were bitten early in the third when Joel Scrimbit received a pass from Jordan Robertson. He was able to walk in uncontested and beat Matt Huber, despite Huber’s best efforts.

This would stand as the game winner, as Summerland would push but couldn’t beat McGarva again. They had two marvelous chances in the final five minutes, but he made key saves at big times to pick up the victory.

The Steam got a split on the weekend, and raised donations for great causes at the same time. On Sunday the team, in conjunction with Summerland Minor Hockey, took part in the annual ‘Santa Skate’ at the Summerland Arena. They were able to connect with their fans and enjoy a couple of hours of fun before turning their attention to the practice ice and the Osoyoos Coyotes this coming weekend.

 

Summerland and Osoyoos are once again out in front of the Okanagan Division. A pair of Coyotes wins in Quesnel, BC this past weekend over the Kamloops Storm, plus a 5-1 drubbing of the Princeton Posse on Wednesday afternoon have pulled them into a tie at the top with 39 points. It should be mentioned that the Coyotes also still have one game in hand.

Summerland and Osoyoos sit nine points clear of the third place Princeton Posse, with Summerland holding one game and Osoyoos two in hand over their foes from the Similkameen Valley.

As always, the Osoyoos Coyotes are the Summerland Steam’s fiercest test. This year the Steam have gone 0-for-3 against their rivals from the south, with two of those games being decided by two goals. Those two were close, and the other was definitely not. Carter Shannon recorded a hat-trick by the 2-minute mark of the second period on October 28th, leading the Coyotes to a 7-3 victory on the road in Summerland.

That was the last time the two teams saw one another, and that will be fresh in the mind of the Summerland Steam when they take the ice at the Sun Bowl on Friday night. So far this season it hasn’t been the Coyotes powerplay that’s caused problems for the Steam, but rather goaltender Daniel Paul. He has been sensational in the two games previous to the 7-3 drubbing on October 28th, so much so in fact that Summerland probably should have won both if not for his performance.

It’s been that way for Daniel Paul throughout his whole KIJHL career, spending the previous two seasons with the North Okanagan Knights. He was able to hold the Knights in enough games to contend for the playoffs at the end of the regular season despite not having a whole ton of offense put forth in front of him.

The 19-year old Kelowna native is doing the same thing now as he was then, putting up a .915% (or better) SV% and making saves that he has absolutely no business making. The difference now, however, is that he has an offense in front of him that scores near the top of the league both at even strength and on special teams. This is why you’re seeing the results you are from the Coyotes, and they only seem to be getting stronger.

Co-Captains and 20-year olds Judd Repole and Colin Bell are leaders both on the score sheet and in the dressing room, leading by example of hard work, longevity and sportsmanship. Both are ‘lifelong Coyotes’, meaning they’ve spent their entire KIJHL careers in the desert. Both hail from Terrace, where the Coyotes seem to get a lot of their talent from, and have been key parts of Coyotes teams for several years.

Repole, who is from Prince Rupert, BC and now in his 5th season, recently played his 200th KIJHL game, and will move into the Top 20 in all-time games played in the KIJHL when he suits up for #202 on Friday against Summerland. He leads the Coyotes in points with 41, and quarterbacks their top power play and penalty kill units while only ever taking a handful of penalties himself. 

If Repole plays all 20 games the Coyotes have remaining, he’ll rise to #8 on the all-time games played list with 221, a great accomplishment for a player who’s poured his heart and soul into Coyotes hockey for five straight seasons.

Bell, meanwhile, returned to the Coyotes late this season after spending all summer fighting the fires that ravaged the province of BC. In 15 games since his return in late October, the 20-year old native of Terrace, BC has 10 goals and 25 points. This leads the Coyotes in points per game average at 1.8 points per game, and is on par with his scoring pace from last season where he led the KIJHL in points with upwards of 70 during a 47 game schedule. 

These two veterans, along with Cameron Welch, Hunter Johnson, and newly returned defenseman Cody Allen (yes, Steam defenseman Ryan Allen’s older brother) provide a lot for a Coyotes team that is contending for the top spot in the conference. They make up the nucleus of a team that’s talented and tough to play against, much like the Summerland Steam.

These two giants will go to work on one another twice between now and the end of the 2017 calendar, both in the Sun Bowl in Osoyoos on December 15th & 29th. These head-to-head meetings, of which five remain, will go a long way in determining who gets to hang the division championship banner at the end of the season. 

Both upcoming games can be watched on PlayFullScreen.com with Tom Shields and Damian Hanna starting at 7:35pm. 

Steam Set for Food Bank Night VS Posse

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As we begin to approach the holiday season, the Summerland Steam Junior Hockey Club feel it important to help inside the community and give back to those in need. Tonight, the Steam will host their 3rd annual Food Drive to support the Summerland Food Bank. They ask all fans to bring a non-perishable food donation to the arena tonight and drop it off at the table on the way into the rink. For the generosity of fans from both teams, they will receive $2 off all regular priced tickets

The Princeton Posse come to town for just the second time this season, and it’s bound to be a battle as the two teams slug it out near the top of the Okanagan Division. Summerland has won two of three against the Posse thus far in 2017/18, but lost their most recent matchup by a 5-3 score. That was thanks to three power play goals from the Posse, with two of them coming late in the 3rd period on a 5-on-3 man advantage.

Princeton’s biggest strength is goaltending. The goaltending tandem of Bobby Milligan and Danyon Lorencz both boast save percentages near 92%, and between the two of them they give the Posse a chance to win every night. Both play the position in very different, but effective ways. Milligan is what I would consider a ‘freestyle’ goaltender, meaning he does what he needs to do to stop the puck, by any means necessary. Lorencz is more positionally sound. He doesn’t necessarily see everything that he stops, but because he plays the position well and reads plays well, he’s able to stop the majority of the pucks that come his way simply by being ‘in position’.

Up front and on defense, a good mix of veteran presence and youth have given Head Coach Mark McNaughton good minutes every night thus far. The likes of Mort Johnston, Tristyn Olsen and well-travelled KIJHL veteran Drew Carter give the Posse good, reliable leadership up front, while Noah Brusse, Kole Halvorson, and Summerland native Dawson Jenner play steady minutes on defense. The Posse sit 3rd in the Okanagan Division, three points clear of the Kelowna Chiefs and three points behind the second place Osoyoos Coyotes.

Summerland, meanwhile, continues to pace the Okanagan Division with 37 points, four points up on second place Osoyoos. They could see that lead dissipate at any time, however, with the Coyotes owning two games in hand on this particular date. The Steam will have to look for offense from perhaps some unlikely sources this weekend, as they’ll likely be without Everett Scherger and Luke Jirousek for another set of games while they recover from injury. They’ll have to rely on what we thought would be their strength from the beginning, and that’s their defense and goaltending.

The Steam have scored goals at an alarming rate so far this season, leading the KIJHL for the majority of the first half scoring over 4.5 goals per game on average. That’s taken a dip slightly recently, and looks like it will continue while they try to get healthy and back to a full 20 man roster every night.

They’ll rely on the presence of captain Sam Jones, Brogan Lautard, and Matt Huber to continue down the path they’ve been on, which is winning hockey games and remaining the best team in the Okanagan Shuswap conference.

Summerland will host Princeton and Revelstoke on back to back nights this weekend, while the Osoyoos Coyotes are on the road to Quesnel for a set of games against the Kamloops Storm. Princeton is in to face Summerland tonight, and on the road to play the Chase Heat on Saturday, while the Kelowna Chiefs host the Revelstoke Grizzlies Friday and the 100 Mile House Wranglers Saturday. The North Okanagan Knights host the Wranglers Friday night in their only game of the weekend.

For Summerland it’s a 7:30 start on both Friday and Saturday nights. Friday is the 3rd annual Summerland Steam Food Drive, while Saturday will be the inaugural Teddy Bear Toss at the Summerland Arena. Bring a new or gently used bear, in a bag, to throw on the ice when Summerland scores their first goal of the night!

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Steam Split Weekend Set, Get Ready for Home Weekend

This past weekend was what seems to have been a rare ‘road weekend’ for the Summerland Steam. They’ll have to get used to it as they’ve played the majority of their games so far on home ice, and will see plenty of time on the bus in the coming few months.

This past weekend, it was two different directions on back to back nights. On Friday night the Steam went north to Armstrong to play the North Okanagan Knights at the Nor-Val Centre. In just their second visit there this season, they were able to come away with a 5-1 victory thanks to an offense that continually pushed forward to the tune of 51 total shots on goal.

Owen Petten got the start, and was sturdy in a victory, making 28 saves for his 3rd victory in five appearances as a member of the Summerland Steam thus far. Brogan Lautard scored twice while Simon Snyman, Blake Holowaty and Scott Robinson all added singles in a game that saw Summerland dominate the Knights from start to finish.

As much as they dominated, the trouble continued for the Steam on their power play. They went 0-4 in Armstrong and pushed their scoreless streak to a whopping 50 straight opportunities, with their last PPG being scored by Luke Jirousek on October 27th against the Kelowna Chiefs.

The streak would extend to 51 on Saturday night when they headed to Princeton, failing on their first power play opportunity of the night. They did, however, convert on their second one thanks to Morey Babakaiff. He scored his 4th of the season with 4:38 remaining in the first period to tie the game at one and stop the PP dry spell at 36 days, 10 games and 51 chances.

Their power play wouldn’t hurt them on Saturday night in Princeton, but unfortunately their penalty kill did. The Posse scored three power play goals, including two in the final seven minutes of play, to pull off a 5-3 win. Cairo Rogers (6) and Sam Jones (6) scored the other Summerland goals, while Matt Huber made 30 saves in a losing effort.

Summerland outshot the Posse 40-35 in the game, and did well to carry the majority of the play. Unfortunately for them, the Posse were able to capitalize on their opportunities as well as make their power play count. Linden Gove, Lane French, Tristyn Olson, Mort Johnston and Ethan Schmor converted for the Posse, while Bobby Milligan picked up the victory thanks to a 37 save performance.

Summerland will return home this weekend to play two games, Friday, December 8th against the same Princeton Posse, and Saturday, December 9th against the Revelstoke Grizzlies. Both games will have special meanings, as Friday night is Summerland Food Bank night, where the Steam will be offering $2 off any regular priced ticket with the donation of a non-perishable food item for the Summerland Food Bank.

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After Friday night, the Steam will host the Revelstoke Grizzles on Saturday. It is Summerland’s first annual TEDDY BEAR TOSS, which will result in (hopefully) a whole lot of stuffed animals thrown onto the ice when the Steam score their first goal of the night. It’s also a first place showdown in the Okanagan Shuswap Conference, as the Steam and the Grizzlies do battle for the second time this season.

 

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