For the first time in over three years, the Summerland Steam visit the Spokane Braves tonight at the Eagles Ice-A-Rena in Spokane, Washington. The last time the Steam crossed the border to play a KIJHL game was the 2015/16 season when the picked up a 5-3 victory in Spokane on September 19, 2015. In that game, Cole Woodliffe would score four times before promptly leaving to join the Weyburn Red Wings of the SJHL as a 17-year old player. Woodliffe completed his 20-year old season with the Red Wings in 2017/18, which puts into perspective how long it’s been since Summerland made their last visit across the border.

In that season, the Steam and Braves were polar opposites. The Steam made a run deep into the post season, falling in the Okanagan Shuswap Conference Final to the eventual Western Canadian Champion 100 Mile House Wranglers. The Braves, meanwhile, missed the playoffs that year for the first time in recent memory and won just 10 games that season.

This season’s been vastly different thus far for both teams. The Braves have had a good start to the season, winning five of their first eleven contests and losing twice in overtime. The Steam have been up and down like a yo-yo early on with a 6-6-1-0 record, but are coming off a 12-2 trouncing of the Kamloops Storm last Saturday night.

Expect a good, even hockey game tonight from two teams who are similar in age and skill set, but play two very different ways.


  1. WRANGLE THE BEAR – First of all, no, not a real bear that’s terrifying. The Spokane Braves are led by rookie scoring sensation Bear Hughes, who’s made his case for AT LEAST the Divisional Rookie of the Year already with 13 goals and 21 points in just 11 games. At 17-years old and standing 6 feet tall and weighing it at 170lb, the man-child from Post Falls, Idaho has taken the scoring reigns for the Braves and hasn’t let go. He, along with forwards Alex Enegren and Aaron Morris carry the load offensively for the Braves, and Summerland will have to watch them all carefully or they could get burned quite quickly.
  2. DRIVE FORWARD – The Spokane Braves seem to be offense heavy, meaning that they’re willing to go blow for blow offensively in hopes that they’ll outscore their opponent through 60 minutes. They’re 5-0-0-2 in games where they’ve scored 3 or more goals, and 0-4 in games when they’ve scored 2 or less. The obvious key for Summerland tonight will be to hold the Braves to less than three goals, but also to push the Braves backwards and make them work to score their goals. If Summerland can attack with precision on the forecheck, they’ll have success in tonight’s game.
  3. BE AGGRESSIVE – The third key for the Summerland Steam tonight is to be aggressive. Not so aggressive that penalties are taken, but aggressive enough to win puck battles, fight for space in front of the net, and create some traffic in front of the Braves goaltender. Summerland is at their best when they make this happen, and it’ll take their best effort tonight to beat the Spokane Braves.

Puck drop goes at 7:00pm, with pre-game starting (wait, what?) at 6:30pm with Ryan Rhode and Greg Rentz on playfullscreen.com.

After the game tonight, the Summerland Steam will play the Beaver Valley Nitehawks tomorrow night (7:30pm, PST) before returning home to face the Princeton Posse on Tuesday night at the Summerland Arena.

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