The Summerland Steam look to make it four wins in a row on Tuesday night when they host the visiting Princeton Posse. The Steam, coming off a two win weekend in the West Kootenay last Friday (5-4W @ Spokane) and Saturday (3-2W @ Beaver Valley) are playing the best hockey they’ve played to date this season. They’ve begun to come together as a team and are creating some chemistry that’s evident both on the ice and away from it.
The same can be said for the Posse, however, who have been playing their best hockey of the season lately as well. They had a 6-game winning streak snapped at home against the Sicamous Eagles on Saturday night, and will surely be looking to start a new streak on Tuesday.
The two teams have seen each other twice already this season, with both games taking place on the ‘little ice’ in the Princeton & District Arena and garnering mixed results. The first visit, a 4-0 victory for Summerland on September 8th saw Summerland “play the way they needed to play to win on small ice”, according to Head Coach John Depourcq at the time. Their second visit, however, wasn’t so great.
The Steam gave up three early goals to the Posse and eventually went down 4-0 before mounting a furious comeback to tie the game at 4 with 7:00 remaining in the third period. They then promptly took a penalty and allowed the Posse to retake the lead, and the home team wouldn’t give it up this time. With meeting number three due up tonight at 7:30pm, here are the three keys to the game, presented by the Coast Penticton Hotel:
3 KEYS – SUMMERLAND STEAM VS PRINCETON POSSE
- BE ON TIME – The last time the Summerland Steam saw the Princeton Posse was on September 29th, and they definitely didn’t arrive on time. Now by arrive on time we mean this: be ready to go when that opening puck drops. Don’t take five or eight or fifteen minutes to get into the game, because it can cost three goals like it did the last time these two teams met. The Steam need to make sure they’re ready to go the minute that national anthem ends.
- WREAK HAVOC – Be physical, but walk the line, and make sure to get traffic to the front of the net. The Summerland Steam have done all of these things well lately, and that’ll need to continue against a quality opponent in the Princeton Posse. The rule of thumb once you get to this level is you have to expect two things: If a guy is given time and space to make a play expect him to make it, and if a goaltender can see a puck you should expect him to stop it. Both of these things can be solved by ‘wreaking havoc’ in the offensive zone. This key isn’t meant to go out and bang bodies and hurt people, but simply to use the body effectively to create opportunities both on the walls and in front of the net.
- STRETCH IT OUT – The two games played against Princeton this season have been played on ‘the little ice’ in Princeton, and Summerland’s been forced to adapt their game to their surroundings. The challenge for them tonight will be to stick to their game plan and dictate the game, forcing the Posse to adapt. It’s important for the Steam to stretch the Posse out through the neutral zone and make them defend in larger areas than they might be used to.
Puck drop tonight is 7:30pm from the Summerland Arena, with pre-game going on playfullscreen.com at 7:15pm with Joel Barg and myself.