Eric Scherger watches as a scrum ensues September 15 in Chase. Photo – Tami Quan Photography


September 26, 2018

Summerland, BC

Another weekend of KIJHL action, and another split for the Summerland Steam who went 1-1 on their Kootenay road trip this past weekend. It’s the third weekend of the KIJHL season, and the third weekend in a row they’ve come away with a 1-1 record.

They began in Nelson on Friday night against a much bigger, much more veteran laden Nelson Leafs squad who came into the game undefeated. The Steam gave up two early goals to Ryan Piva (7) and Trail Thompson (2), and showed signs of bus legs through a first period dominated by the home Leafs.

The second period saw Summerland gain a little life back, and come back to tie the game at 2 thanks to a 5-minute power play. Nelson’s Logan Wullum was barred from the game for a hit to the head after dropping his gloves and attacking Summerland’s Dawson Jenner, who’s gloves were still firmly attached to his hands. This stemmed from Wullum taking a hard pass in front of Steam goaltender Jared Breitkreuz and making contact on the way through the crease. Jenner took exception, and confronted Wullum who immediately dropped the gloves and went straight for the cage of the Summerland defender.

Once separated, Wullum made his way around the back of the Steam net and took a swipe at Breitkreuz on the way to the dressing room. He was assessed a 5-minute major for Head Contact, and awarded an early shower.

The Steam would connect twice on the five minute power-play to tie the game. Everett Scherger notched his first of the season with a low hard shot from the right half wall, assisted by Cory Loring and Alex Marchand, before Loring scored his second of the season from the left wing half wall 1:43 later. This tied the game at two, with Summerland showing a little push-back.

The Leafs would retake the lead late in the period, when team captain Jack Karran added a power play goal of his own with 1:22 to play in the middle frame. He was able to shake loose a rebound behind Jared Breitkreuz and will it into the back of the net to regain the lead for the Leafs.

Penalty trouble would cost Summerland on this night once again, and would wind up being the difference in the third period. A 4-minute double minor near the midpoint of the third period allowed the Leafs to capitalize twice, both from Ryan Piva (8,9) to complete the hat-trick. It turned a 3-2 game that was in range for the Steam into a 5-2 game that Nelson maintained full control of.

Discipline cost the Summerland Steam once again on Friday night in Nelson, and it’s something they’ll have to work on if they’re going to look to get ahead of their .500 record thus far.

On Saturday night the story was a little different, but not in the type of start Summerland had. Steam goaltender Eric Scherger was able to hold off the Rebels long enough for Summerland to find their legs, stopping 13 Rebels shots in the first to keep the game knotted at 0. Riley Tucker, his counterpart at the other end for the Rebels, made 8 saves in the frame.

Summerland was able to break through in the second period, with Everett Scherger supplying what would stand as the game winner with 5:41 remaining in the second period. Cory Loring did a great job to force a turnover at the Castlegar line, freeing the puck up for Justin Swan. Swan moved in off the right-wing and found Scherger, who made a nice move around a defender before dragging cross crease to beat Tucker high to the blocker side.

Scherger’s second of the season, and second in as many nights, was supplemented by outstanding work from his brother, Eric, in the Summerland goal, as well as fellow 20-year old forward Linden Gove. Gove notched his third of the season, assisted by Loring and Cody Swan late in the third period to give the Steam some insurance and help pick up two points. Swan and Loring worked together to take the puck away at the Rebels blue line once again, before Swan found Loring down low. Loring was able to locate a streaking Gove who made no mistake and increased Summerland’s lead to 2-0 with 2:03 remaining.

They would control the puck for the remainder of the game, and allow the younger Scherger, Eric, to pick up his second consecutive shutout in as many KIJHL appearances. He made 36 saves in the winning effort, while Riley Tucker stopped 30 of 32 Summerland shots in the loss.

A big time bright spot for the Summerland Steam this weekend were the Scherger brothers, but it was the emergence of Cory Loring that was most encouraging. Loring, acquired from the Grand Forks Border Bruins midway through the 2017/18 season, carried the offensive load for the Steam this weekend, keying in on all four goals scored in the two games they played. He tallied two and set up two en route to a win and a loss for his team.

The Steam saw ups and downs on their Kootenay trip this past weekend. They put in good work, and found themselves being successful at 5v5 in both games. Unfortunately, they put themselves on the back foot in Nelson with their discipline, and found themselves in the same situation in Castlegar Saturday night. Luckily, the Rebels were equally undisciplined, and Summerland wasn’t hurt by their struggle to stay away from the penalty box. They’ll have to get it together with a key match-up against the Kelowna Chiefs coming Tuesday night in Rutland.

Tim Hogg

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