STEAM PICK UP 3 OF 4 ROAD POINTS

With a couple of road games this weekend against historically tough opponents, the Summerland Steam set out with hopes of coming home with more than just a pair of points. In their first five weekend sets, they were able to split all of them and get 2 of 4 points. This weekend, they did one better, recording a 2-2 tie against the Osoyoos Coyotes on Friday night before EXPLODING in a 12-2 victory against the Kamloops Storm on Saturday.

Friday’s contest might have been the best game of the season thus far. Both goaltenders, Summerland’s Jared Breitkreuz and Osoyoos’ Bailey Monteith put on a show stopping a combined 80 of 84 shots in the game. They each recorded a tie on their record, with Breitkreuz making 37 stops and Monteith stopping 43 through 70 minutes of play.

Brandon Della-Paolera opened the scoring for the Coyotes early in the second period before Summerland’s captain, Everett Scherger, tied the game at 1 with mere seconds to play in the frame. The goal, Scherger’s 4th of the season, came on a 5v3 power play and sent the game to the third period tied at one.

It would stay that way for the majority of the period, until Peter Michailides scored his first KIJHL goal with 3:50 to play to give the Coyotes the lead. He was able to locate a loose rebound in front of Breitkreiuz and make good on it to put his team in the driver’s seat as the clock ticked down.

Summerland would push, however, and found a way to tie the game with 1:07 to play thanks to Cairo Rogers. Rogers’ 2nd of the season, on a loose rebound of his own, tied the game at 2 and earned the Steam a point. The Coyotes got one too, their first since Opening Night on September 8th, and we headed for overtime. In the extra frame(s) both teams had chances but nothing was solved, as we finished in a 2-2 tie.

The goaltenders were named the stars of the game, and so they should have been as both had moments of brilliance in a game that was as back and forth as ever. The pace was fast, there was limited nastiness, and both teams had chances all night long. It will stand as a good building block for two young hockey teams if they continue to play the way they played on Friday night.

The Steam rode the hot hand of Jared Breitkreuz into Kamloops on Saturday night, where he made a second consecutive start against the Kamloops Storm. The Storm, just 2-8-0-0 coming into Saturday night’s game, had beaten the North Okanagan Knights by a 6-3 score on Friday night and were looking to build on their second win of the year.

Summerland had other ideas.

The Steam pasted the Storm by a 12-2 score, getting a hat-trick from Mitch Gove (2,3,4), 2 goals each from Cody Swan (3,4), Zak Cooper (2,3) and Brett Wilson (1,2), as well as singles from Sean Wilson (1), Everett Scherger (5), and Liam McLaren (6). Breitkreuz was only forced to make 20 saves on 22 shots to pick up the victory.

The game on Saturday night saw the good in the Summerland Steam, as they worked efficiently in all zones and were able to pickup a couple of power play goals, a shorthanded goal, and a slew of even strength goals against the Storm. The Steam were also able to remain perfect (4/4) on the penalty kill, which has been something of a rarity so far this season. It was a good stepping stone for the team, who will go on a tough road trip next weekend to Spokane (5-4-0-2) and Beaver Valley (8-5-0-0) before returning home the following Tuesday, October 23rd for a home date with the Princeton Posse.

At the 13 game mark, we’ve past the quarter mark of the KIJHL season and the Summerland Steam sit at 6-6-1-0. Overall it’s been a good first month and a half for a young hockey team trying to find their footing in a perennially strong Okanagan Division. Their veteran players are carrying the load offensively while the younger players get acclimated to junior hockey, which is exactly what you want.

There haven’t been too many standout performances thus far, but simply a group that is learning how to play together as a team and come together for a common goal. That goal is not necessarily to come away with 2 points every night (looking at you, Kelowna Chiefs) but simply to be competitive and play the right way on a consistent basis.

They’ll get back to work at the Eagles Ice Arena on Friday night in Spokane, before making a rare visit to the madhouse that is the Beaver Valley Arena in Fruitvale for a date with the Nitehawks on Saturday night. Both games will be available on playfullscreen.com with quality broadcasters available for both games (unlike Kamloops last Saturday, for anyone who ordered that one I would complain to playfullscreen.com and get a refund.)

Puck drop goes at 7:00pm Friday, and 7:30pm Saturday.

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