After a home opener that didn’t go their way on Friday night against the Kelowna Chiefs, the Summerland Steam found a way to battle back Saturday when the North Okanagan Knights rolled into town.
While Reid Bateman scored his first KIJHL goal on Friday and Ty Banser notched his first of the year, the Kelowna power play proved too much in a 5-2 loss. Porter Dawson and Zane Avery each scored twice for the visiting Chiefs, while Jordan Lowry potted the other on route to the victory. The Chiefs went 3-for-6 on their power play, scoring just once at even strength and once into an empty net.
Saturday was a different story for the Summerland Steam. They arrived on time and were good from the start, although goaltender Eric Scherger was forced to weather an early storm. After allowing the Knights the first 8 shots of the hockey game, the Steam settled in and began to find their legs. They used the first period media timeout to their advantage and took over to finish the frame, outshooting the Knights 13-12 after 1.
The game remained scoreless until the 2:09 mark of the second period when Cory Loring would open the scoring for the Steam on a power play. Loring’s first of the season came via a great power move down the left wing side, cutting to the goal and slipping a puck through the pads of Knights goaltender Caedan Bellmann. Bellman was terrific on this night, and would earn game star honours for North Okanagan in what turned out to be a 4-3 overtime win for the Summerland Steam.
After the Steam opened the scoring the Knights would storm back to score three straight goals and take a 3-1 lead to the 2nd intermission. The first KIJHL goals for Nic Bolin and Nicholas Teale, plus a late one from Cole Haberlack left the Steam reeling heading to the third period.
An early goal from newcomer Jordon Woytas, his first of the season, would kickstart Summerland’s comeback attempt in the third period. Ty Banser and Zack Cooper did great work to get the puck through the neutral zone, and Banser found Woytas streaking to the far post for a tap in to cut the North Okanagan lead in half. Cooper would then get in on the scoring action as well, burying his first of the season to tie the game on a rebound just prior to the midway mark of the period.
Both teams would push, but Bellmann and his counterpart Eric Scherger were up to task. Both made some important saves in the final ten minutes of play, earning each team a point and forcing overtime for the first time this season.
In the extra frame, the Steam had the better of the chances and were finally able to beat Bellmann near the halfway point of the first overtime. After a shot in the slot was blocked by a Knights defender, Steam forward Ty Banser was able to collect his own rebound and beat Bellmann on the backhand for his second in as many nights. Banser also added an assist on the nigh while Austin O’Neil collected a pair, and the Steam found themselves winners of a very entertaining hockey game.
It turned into a bit of a character win for the young Steam squad, who found themselves in a (maybe unlucky) 3-1 hole after two periods. They showed good grit and resolve to find a way to claw back, and their penalty kill was very good in the third period when it was counted on most.
They’ll look to continue with some of the things that made them successful next Saturday when they’re home to the Grand Forks Border Bruins at 7:30pm. The Castlegar Rebels will visit Sunday at 2:00pm to wrap up another two game home weekend.