STEAM WRAP NOVEMBER WITH SPLIT VS WRANGLERS, GRIZZLIES

📸 Tami Quan Photography

November 26, 2018

Summerland, BC

With the 100 Mile House Wranglers and the Revelstoke Grizzlies coming into town this past weekend, the Summerland Steam had to know they were going to be in tough to get all four points. In fact, it’s proven difficult to obtain 4 of a possible 4 points on most weekends this season, and this past one was no different. It looked, for a while, as if Summerland may come away with no points as they trailed the 100 Mile House Wranglers by a 3-2 score in the late stages of Friday night’s game. Linden Gove (15) and Cairo Rogers (3) had scored for Summerland, while Benjamin Keon, Kolby Page, and Nico Hemming had replied for the visiting Wranglers.

In a game where Summerland had trouble capitalizing on their opportunities, they found themselves doing all the right things but trailing by a 3-2 score as the clock wound down. With time running out, it was Summerland’s leaders who took over.

Tami Quan Photography

Tami Quan Photography

Linden Gove (16) scored his second of the night with :49 on the clock to tie the game at 3 and force overtime. In the extra frame the Steam were forced to kill a penalty to Everett Scherger, only to have him sprung out of the penalty box on a 2-on-1 with Mitch Gove.

Tami Quan Photography

The younger Gove threw on the brakes in the offensive zone and let a Wrangler defender slide on by, before feeding a pass to Scherger on the right wing. Summerland’s captain made no mistake, popping the water bottle behind Wranglers’ goaltender Miles Minor to win the game for the home team by a 4-3 score.

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Tami Quan Photography

“You know, they bring kind of a calm persona there with all our other players,” Depourcq said of Linden Gove and Everett Scherger in his pre-game comments on Saturday, “We’ve got some young guys here who are experiencing their first taste of junior hockey, and just the “take care of business” mentality from those two keeps everybody calm on the bench and keeps them working hard. Luckily we were able to come back last night. It was a little disappointing at the start of the game we had lots of opportunities to capitalize on the power play and we couldn’t seem to put the biscuit in the basket, or we just weren’t getting the bounces, I guess. As the game went on 100 Mile stuck to their game plan, played simple hockey and forced us to play from behind. It was nice to see the boys come back, and eventually pick up that big OT win.”

Everett Scherger on his Overtime Winner:

Video: Emanuel Sequiera

Jared Breitkreuz made 24 saves on Friday night in the victory, and earned a second consecutive start Saturday night against the Doug Birks Division leading Revelstoke Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies are the same as ever under Head Coach/GM Ryan Parent. They’re talented, but they’re also big, physical, and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty to retrieve pucks and cause problems for the opposition. They hit hard, occasionally hit high and they take no prisoners, and all three of those things were evident from the very beginning on Saturday night. This is the way the Grizzlies have played all year long and for the past three or four seasons as a whole, but it also wasn’t policed one bit on Saturday night.

We didn’t have to talk about KIJHL refereeing much for the first 20 games of the season, but it’s been getting increasingly worse, culminating on Saturday night with egregious penalties being ignored on both sides.

It looks like it might be time once again for BC Hockey’s quarterly referee refresher course, because it’s not just one who’s dropped the ball recently. For 20+ games this season, referees did their job adequately. By that I mean they called what they needed to, let go what they needed to, and for the most part kept themselves from being a talking point one way or the other, just the way it should be. For the past few games, however, that hasn’t been the case and players and fans alike are looking (and hoping) for some positive change.

There are increasing complains league wide that refereeing is a concern, and again people are beginning to wonder whether a 4-man system like the one used in the VIJHL should be considered. The only concern is the 4-man system uses MORE officials, and likely officials that BC Hockey does not have at the present time at a calibre to officiate Junior hockey correctly. It would simply water down what’s already being used, and that may in fact make things worse.

As for Saturday night’s game, the Grizzlies were the better team from the outset and at 19-2-0-0 coming in, you had to expect Summerland might be ‘up against it’ in the best of situations. Summerland did their best to stay with the Grizzlies but the bigger, more physical Grizzlies had their way with a young Steam squad.

Tami Quan Photography

Raymond Speerbrecker was the star of the night for the Grizzlies, scoring once and adding three assists. Ryan Pereverzoff opened the scoring for the Grizzlies, before Summerland scored twice in 2:13 early in the second period to take a 2-1 lead. Mitch Gove (8) beat Grizzlies goaltender Liam McGarva high to the glove side down the right wing to open the scoring, before Cory Loring (10) tipped in an Ethan Grover shot from the point to give the Steam their lead. Speerbrecker tied the game with 11:26 to play in the second period, and we went to the intermission tied at 2.

The back-breaker for the Summerland Steam came early in the third period. A 5-minute lapse allowed the Grizzlies to clamp down on some offensive zone pressure, and they scored three times in 2:08 to open up a 5-2 lead. Rider McCallum, Tommy Bodtker, and Kaeden Patrick all found the back of the net in that 2:08 span, and gave the Grizzlies a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Tami Quan Photography

Summerland was able to get one more, courtesy of a snipe from Cody Swan (10) with 8:00 on the clock, but that was as close as they would come. They would end up taking a 5-3 loss, but were in it until the bitter end despite being under siege for most of the night. They’ll likely trade the two points in exchange for getting to the final buzzer with no major injuries in a game full of long runs, high hits, and lobbying from the Revelstoke bench to ‘do it again’.

The Summerland Steam finished up a tough slog with a 5-3-0-1 record in November. Regulation losses to Kelowna, Revelstoke, Chase, and a thrilling overtime loss to the Kimberley Dynamiters were the blemishes, while they were able to beat 100 Mile House twice, Osoyoos, Sicamous, and Creston Valley.

They scored 30 goals in the month, but gave up 38 in their nine games. Their offense was average, scoring nearly 3.5 goals per game. Their defense and goaltending, however, was well below the performance put forth in previous months. In their four total losses (3 regulation, 1 overtime), the Steam gave up 27 goals, or an average of nearly 7.00 per game. In total they gave up 38, meaning in their five wins they surrendered an average just over 2.00 per game. It’s truly a “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” type of scenario, and something that with some video work and tweaking, Head Coach John Depourcq feels will correct itself quickly.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Steam as far as quality of competition is concerned, however they’ll play a couple less games in December due to the holiday season being upon us. They’ll open their December schedule on the 1st with a one-game weekend, but it’s a visit to Rutland and the Kelowna Chiefs who have yet to lose a game in regulation, and haven’t had a blemish on home ice.

The Chiefs (21-0-1-2) have the best winning percentage in the province and arguably the best “Top Six” that certainly the Okanagan Shuswap Conference, and possibly the entire KIJHL have ever seen. They back that up with good depth forwards, solid defensive talent and a top tier goaltender making them arguably the most dangerous hockey club in Canada, let alone the province of BC.

The Chiefs are coming off a hard fought 2-1 victory over the upstart Osoyoos Coyotes on Tuesday night, and like the Steam will have Friday night off before the two teams square up on Saturday night. The Osoyoos Coyotes, 7-2-0-1 in their last ten games, are currently trying to close the gap on the Steam, sitting in third place. They trail by 11 points, with 4 games in hand.

Summerland has played the most games in the league to date, with 27 of their 49 regular season games already in the books. The schedule gets a little lighter for them in the month of December, with only six games as opposed to November’s nine. They’ll play two road games, two home games, and two showcase games in the coming month, looking to solidify their position at the top of the division and gain home ice advantage in the playoffs for the sixth time in their seven year history. They’ll visit Kelowna and North Okanagan, host Chase and North Okanagan, and play their two showcase games in Kamloops against Grand Forks (away) and Fernie (Home) in December, with a solid two week break between games over the Holidays.

You can catch the first of Summerland’s December games this coming Saturday night against the Kelowna Chiefs. If you can make the trip, please do, and support Chiefs Forward Myles Mattilla and his initiative to lessen the stigma surrounding mental health. The Chiefs, in partnership with the Peacock Sheridan Group and Myles’ initiative, Mindright.info will host their second “Mental Health Awareness Night” at the Rutland Arena on Saturday when the Steam visit.

If you can’t catch the game at the rink, join Chiefs Play-By-Play man Justin McCartney for all the action on playfullscreen.com starting at 7:00pm.

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