📸 Tami Quan Photography

MARCH 4, 2019

SUMMERLAND, BC – After a less than ideal outcome in Game 1 of their series with the Princeton Posse, the Summerland Steam needed a bounce back victory to avoid going to Princeton down 2-0 in their best of 7 series. At the outset, the Steam knew they would have to be good in their own zone if they wanted an opportunity to beat a 3rd seeded Posse team who’ve played well down the stretch. They came up with a big 6-2 victory, splitting the first two games with Princeton and sending the series back to the Similkameen Valley.

The series shifted to the Princeton & District Arena this past weekend, where games 3 & 4 were well attended by Posse faithful. A total of 550 loud, boisterous fans packed the small Princeton and District Arena over two nights, and saw two quality hockey games for their hard earned money. Unfortunately, the large crowds were sent home quiet as Summerland was able to sweep both games and come home for Game 5 Monday night with a 3-1 stranglehold on the series.

Mitch Gove led the way for the Steam offensively, scoring four times in two games while Cody Swan, Cory Loring, Linden Gove (x2), and Morey Babakaiff also scored for the visitors on Friday and Saturday nights. Scores were 4-2 (Game 3) and 5-1 (Game 4) in favour of the Steam, who look to close things out on Monday night at home. Eric Scherger won both in the Summerland goal, stopping 49 of 52 shots the Posse sent his way throughout the pair of games.

Summerland, for the most part, did a great job in the defensive zone limiting turnovers and second chance opportunities for the Posse. They were able to put pucks deep behind the Posse defense and let their forecheck do the heavy lifting, and it created chances in the offensive zone. Princeton attempted to use the stretch pass to their advantage in their home rink and while it worked a handful of times, the Steam were able to defend it well and not allow too many odd-man rushes.

Throughout this series, the Steam have gotten contributions from up and down the lineup. The line of Ty Banser, Zack Cooper, and Cory Loring has emerged as a line that Head Coach John DePourcq has used not only as a defensive shutdown line, but a line that’s continued to drive possession into the offensive zone. They’ve really found some chemistry with one another, and it’s paying off with each contributing in all three zones through the first four games.

Banser in particular has played an expanded role in the defensive zone and in the faceoff circle, with the absence of Steam captain Everett Scherger. Scherger, who was sent to hospital after the final regular season game on February 23rd, has resumed activity but is still a big question mark for the Steam as these playoffs roll on.

As for Game 5, it’s going to be important for the Steam to get off to a good start and continue to roll with the momentum gained with big wins in games three and four. The team will get Liam McLaren back tonight, while the Posse will get Terrence Josephson back in their lineup as well. Both should be energized after missing the past two games due to suspensions picked up in Game 2. McLaren received 5 and a game for Checking From Behind, while Josephson received 5 and a game for a hit to the head just :17 seconds later.

Summerland will look to close and punch their ticket to Round 2 where the Kelowna Chiefs await, while the Princeton Posse will try to stave off elimination and force Game 6 Tuesday in Princeton. Puck drop goes at 7:30pm on Monday night, and the Steam have offered $5 Student Tickets to tonight’s game. Any high school students from Summerland and the surrounding area can get in for $5 simply by showing their Student ID!

For those who can’t be in attendance, the webcast will be available with Joel Barg and myself starting with the Coastal Eye Clinic Pre-Game Show at 7:15pm.


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