Veterans Help Steam Collect in Weekend Set

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Photo: Chris Swan

October 28th, 2019 – Summerland, BC

For the first time in a long time, the Summerland Steam found themselves with a near full roster this weekend as they played three games in three days for the second weekend in a row. Due to injuries and nearly 70 man games lost to injury through 14 games, the Steam entered the weekend being able to dress 18 skaters for the first time in over a month.

After a trip to the Kootenays last weekend that produced middling results, Summerland spent the week at practice working out the kinks and trying to be positive. They knew they deserved better than the three losses, two in regulation and one in overtime, that they got in the Kootenays, and they made sure they were ready to go on Friday night when the reigning, defending KIJHL Champion Revelstoke Grizzlies rolled into town.

The Steam welcomed new defenceman Ante Mustapic to the lineup for the first time on Friday, Gavyn Entzminger made his home debut, and Ty Banser returned from an injury that kept him out for a month. He showed no rust, immediately making an impact with his 200-ft game and puck tracking ability that allows his teammates to move a little more freely.

The Grizzlies opened the scoring on Friday, with rookie forward Sam Petruch beating Eric Scherger just 2:30 into the contest. Revelstoke’s Griffen Ryden was able to pick up an errant pass at the Grizzlies’ blue line, and spring Petruch on a breakaway. Despite Ethan Grover’s best efforts on the back-check, Petruch made a move to his backhand and beat Scherger up high to open the scoring.

Cory Loring would even the score with his 5th of the season before the end of the period, assisted by Ty Banser to even the score at 1 after a period. Loring was the recipient of a pass in the neutral zone that sprung he and Zack Cooper on a 2-on-2. Cooper did a great job to occupy the centre lane and drew both defencemen to him, allowing Loring to cut across and find himself 1-on-1 with Grizzlies starter Andrew Palm. Loring won the battle, ripping a shot to the blocker side to tie the game at 1 after a period of play.

The Steam started the second looking to take control of the hockey game, taking a 2-1 lead 3:20 into the period thanks to Lane French. French’s third of the year was produced off a great pass from Cody Swan, who found some space in the left wing corner, pulled a puck from a pile and fed to a wide open French out front. He beat Palm from about 10 feet out to give the Steam a 2-1 lead.

They would then take a 3-1 lead thanks to a power play goal from Morey Babakaiff near the halfway point of the second period. Babakaiff’s 8th of the season and third on the power play came just :13 into a Steam man advantage, as he received a pass in front of the net from Lane French and deposited it past Palm. Cory Loring would draw the second assist on the marker, and the Steam would hold the 3-1 lead through two periods of play.

The defending champs weren’t going away without a fight, however, as they stormed back with a pair of goals from defenders Brendan Vulcano and Jordan Kohlmann to tie the game with 8:15 to play. Both came via long, screened point shots, the first from Vulcano a rebound off the long shot and the second from Kohlmann getting straight through the maze to beat Scherger up high and tie the game at three.

The push from the Grizzlies would earn them a point, and a chance to pick up a second in overtime, but not before Summerland had three chances to end it in the final minute of regulation time. The best came onto the stick of Cory Loring as he exited the penalty box with seven seconds on the clock. He found himself all alone on a breakaway racing for the net with just :03 to go, but was stopped by Andrew Palm to force overtime.

In the extra frame(s) both teams had their chances, and it went deep into double overtime before Dalton Irvine was able to end it with another long shot from the point. While playing 3-on-3, Irvine was able to circle the Steam zone before exiting to regroup. He was then able to set up a play that saw him pass off and get the puck back while traffic formed in front of Eric Scherger, and Irvine was able to beat Scherger high to seal the victory for the Grizzlies.

Summerland would settle for the single point, and move on to face the North Okanagan Knights on Saturday night. It was again Eric Scherger who got the tap from Head Coach Ken Karpuk, and he was nothing short of spectacular in a 40-save performance. His performance helped the Steam pick up a much needed 3-1 victory.

Morey Babakaiff opened the scoring with his 9th of the season early in the second period, receiving a pass from Lane French on a Summerland power play and beating Caeden Bellmann in the North Okanagan goal from about 10 feet out. Austin O’Neil would draw the second assist on Babakaiff’s team leading 4th power play goal of the season and the Steam took a 1-0 lead.

A few minutes later Ethan Grover would get on the board with his first of the season, finding himself on the finishing end of a 2-on-1 with Zack Cooper to make it 2-0. Cory Loring made a good bounce pass off the boards for Cooper to skate onto, and he fed Grover with a backhand pass in front of the goal. Grover was able to push it through a sprawling Bellmann to give the Steam a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Tyler Jamieson would score a power play goal for the Knights in the third, but as they pushed with the net empty an errant pass found Morey Babakaiff, who deposited the puck into the empty net to give the Steam a 3-1 victory. Eric Scherger was named the game star, and earned himself a third start in as many days on Sunday when the Steam played host to the Spokane Braves at the Summerland Arena.

As with the previous pair of games on the weekend, Summerland’s veteran players led the way. They’d pick up a 6-3 victory on the back of a hat-trick from Lane French (4,5,6), a pair of goals from Cory Loring (6,7), and a single from Austin O’Neil.

French opened the scoring just under 3:00 into the hockey game, driving the net and finishing a rebound off a Jarrett Watson shot. Watson, the 16-year old Summerland defender, found his way down the right side and made a power move to the middle, putting a shot on Braves goaltender Marcello De Antunano. The first attempt was stopped, but Watson collected his own rebound and found French who had an entire net to put the puck in.

The Braves would push back after Summerland opened the scoring, getting goals from Nate Wilson and Ryan McKenna to take a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period of play. The Braves did a good job to force Summerland backwards in the first period, something the Steam were evidently not going to let happen all night.

They arrived for the second period with a purpose, and a shorthanded goal from Lane French that tied the game at 2 was the kick-start they needed. French and Morey Babakaiff did great work on the Steam penalty kill to force a turnover in the Spokane zone, and they teamed up for French’s second of the night to tie the game at 2 with 12:26 to play in the second frame.

Cory Loring would then add his first of two on the night on a bizarre play that freed him up on the left wing. A puck that was knocked down in the Summerland zone by the high stick of a Spokane forward should have been touched and blown dead right then and there. Instead, the Spokane defender hovered over it while skating backwards out to centre, where Loring chipped it past him and was off to the races. A great shot up under the bar beat Marcello De Antunano and gave Summerland the lead.

It was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, as they took the 3-2 edge to the third period and only added to it. Austin O’Neil scored his 6th of the year early in the third off a great bit of work from Steam captain Cody Swan. Swan was able to retain a puck through three Spokane defenders and find a clear lane to the net. Instead of shooting, he slid the puck cross-crease to a wide open O’Neil to make it 4-2.

Loring would then add his second of the game with a really pretty toe-drag move with 7:50 to play. His 7th of the season, and nicest one to date, saw him drag the puck around a defender in front of De Antunano, and then beat the Spokane goaltender to stretch Summerland’s lead to 5-2.

Just over a minute and a half later, French would complete his hat-trick off a nifty pass from Cody Swan with just over 5:00 to play. Swan and Austin O’Neil worked the puck down the right wing boards, and swan found French coming off the bench into the slot, where he made no mistake to make it 6-2 Summerland.

Ryan McKenna would add his second of the game late to make the score 6-3, where it would finish.

The Steam got the results they wanted from their weekend set, five of a possible six points, and it was their veterans who led the way. 20-year old forwards Lane French (4g,2a), Cory Loring (3g,2a), Cody Swan (0g,5a) and Morey Babakaiff (3g,2a) combined for 10 goals and 21 points in three games this weekend, leading the charge when their team needed them most.

Eric Scherger also took the bull by the horns this weekend, starting and finishing all three games while picking up two wins.

The set of games this weekend finish off a busy month of October for the Summerland Steam, who have played the second most games in the league through 2 months of play at 17. The only team to play more is the Spokane Braves, who played their 18th game of the season in Summerland on Sunday afternoon.

The pair of wins to finish the weekend salvages what was a tough month for the Steam both in the results category and the injury category. They spent the majority of the month without some of their most dynamic offensive weapons, and still found a way to come out with a 4-5-0-2 record in 11 October games. Save for a blip in the radar in Fernie to start their Kootenay road trip every single game was close, and they battled through to keep themselves in second place in the KIJHL Standings. They played well enough, too, to win a couple of those games that go in the loss column. All in all, a very positive month for a young hockey team looking to find it’s stride.

The Steam will now turn their attention to next weekend, and their first look at the 2020 Cylone Taylor Cup Host 100 Mile House Wranglers. They’ll open the month of November with a visit to the South Cariboo Rec Centre on Friday night, before hosting the Chase Heat on Saturday at the Summerland Arena.

 

 

 

Kootenay Trip Produces Single Point for Steam

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Photo: Chris Swan

Nobody said it was going to be easy. Not by any stretch of imagination. Heading out on the road for 3-days is often not a simple task, and particularly so when a team has to go through Fernie, Kimberley and Creston. They are three of the toughest buildings in the KIJHL to play in, and the Steam found that out the hard way. They were able to salvage just a single point on their weekend swing, with an overtime loss on Sunday by a 4-3 score to the Creston Valley Thundercats.

It ended better than it started. The road trip kicked off Friday night as the Steam rode into Fernie for a battle with the Ghostriders. They were able to hang in for two periods, trailing 1-0 and 3-0 at period breaks, but ultimately fell by a 7-0 count. Former Steam forward Gavin Lawrie had a hat trick for the Ghostriders while Johnny Elias, Seamus Keith, Brennan Wingenback and Alaister Standen added singles. Ethan Fitzgerald stopped 31 Steam shots to record the shutout, while Eric Scherger took the loss for the Steam making 46 saves on 53 Ghostrider shots.

After a long bus ride all day Friday, it looked like the Steam were going to get away with no ‘bus legs’, as they came out with a purpose and held the Riders off early on. They were quite frankly unlucky to be down 1-0 after a period, and REALLY unlucky to be down 3-0 after two. Unfortunately, the long day and those pesky ‘bus legs’ caught up with them in the third, and the Riders were able to pour in four more goals to send the score soaring.

The Steam would follow up their loss in Fernie with a valiant effort at the Kimberely Civic Centre on Saturday night. Up against a high-powered Dynamiters squad who sat 2nd in the league coming into the game, the Steam were able to open the scoring thanks to an early goal from Zack Cooper.

Noah Eisenhut and newcomer Gavyn Entzminger did good work on the left wing side to free up a puck, and Entzminger found a wide open Cooper in front of the net. He beat Nitros goaltender Adam Andersen to give the visitors a 1-0 lead with his third of the season.

The Steam would hold the lead through the first intermission, but the Dynamiters came with a purpose in the second period. They scored three times to take a 3-1 lead to the third courtesy of veterans Mitch Fargey, KIJHL leading scorer Brock Palmer, and Brady Daniels.

The Steam showed great resolve in the third period, finding a way to battle back in a rink that’s near impossible to play in. They got goals from Reid Bateman (3) and Noah Eisenhut (4) to get the game tied with 12:45 to play, but a power play goal from Dynamiters defenseman Josh Maharchuk proved to be the difference. He scored with 8:05 to play in the third to give the Dynamiters a 4-3 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Cam Russell would add an insurance goal for the Dynamiters, who won an extremely entertaining hockey game by a 5-3 score.

This is the second season in a row that the Steam and the Dynamiters have played a great, highly entertaining hockey game. Last year it was a western style shootout, with the Dynamiters picking up a 7-6 OT win in Summerland in a game that included a total of 10 power play goals.

Feeling a little better than they did leaving the rink on Friday night, the Steam felt they could roll into Creston on Sunday hoping to get two points in the getaway game of the road trip. They again opened the scoring early in the game on the road, this time thanks to Tyson Conroy’s third of the season. A long shot that found it’s way through traffic gave the Steam the lead with over 13 minutes to play in the first, but they couldn’t tack on before the Thunder Cats equaled the score. Trail Thompson was able to redirect a shot through the pads of Eric Scherger with just over three minutes remaining to tie the game at a goal each after a period.

Summerland would come out in the second and take a 3-1 lead thanks to a power play goal from Austin O’Neill (5) and an even strength marker from Cody Swan (7), but again the lead wouldn’t hold. Before the end of the frame the Thunder Cats got goals from Corbin Cockerill and Connor Swe were destined for overtime, and Summerland found themselves with a 5-on-3 in the extra frame. The Thunder Cats did a good job to execute a penalty kill when they needed it most, and were then subsequently gifted a power play when Ethan Grover was called for slashing. They were able to cash in on a point shot from Andrew Clark, coming away with a 4-3 victory.

In all, the trip didn’t go as poorly for the Summerland Steam as the results show it did. Picking up one of a possible six points isn’t ideal, but they were in two of three games until the bitter end and a bad third period nipped them in the other. The road trip will serve as a great bonding experience, a learning experience, and a way to bring the team together ahead of their next game where their competition doesn’t get any easier.

The Revelstoke Grizzlies roll into town on Friday to begin another 3-game weekend for the Steam. Summerland will play at home Friday before going to Armstrong to play the North Okanagan Knights Saturday. They’ll return home to play the surging Spokane Braves on Sunday afternoon at 2pm.

 

 

 

Steam Ready for Kootenay Road Swing

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Photo: Chris Swan

It’s been a long time comin’, but the Summerland Steam are finally gearing up for an East Kootenay road swing. Because of the changes the KIJHL Schedule has undergone over the past few seasons, it’s been more than five calendar years since a Summerland team traveled to the East Kootenay to play hockey, and they’ll do so with their first three game weekend of the season. The last time they were in the East Kootenays to play road games, they made the exact same swing through Fernie, Kimberley and Creston Valley on October 3rd, 4th and 5th, 2014. They’ll hope for a better result this time as they dropped two of three on that trip, picking up their only win of the trip in the getaway game in Creston Valley on the Sunday.

This time through they’ll face the top-3 teams in the Eddie Mountain Division, widely considered the toughest division in the KIJHL from top to bottom. They begin in Fernie on Friday night against the Ghostriders (6:30pm PST), before going to Kimberley to face the Dynamiters on Saturday (7:00pm PST). They’ll finish in Creston against the Thunder Cats on Sunday (6:00pm PST) before returning home.

The Ghostriders (6-3-0-2) are the second place team in the Eddie Mountain Division, and the kick-off point to Summerland’s three game trip. They’re led up front by Johnny Elias, Captain Dylan Defosse and 20-year old Jordan Kromm, who do the bulk of their scoring. The scouting report on the Riders suggests they’re a beast of a hockey team to handle with big, mobile defenders and skilled forwards who will convert at a high rate when given time and space. Much like their division rival Kimberley Dynamiters, big things are expected of the Riders this season and they’re off to a great start.

The Dynamiters, meanwhile, are off to an even better start than the Riders. Just one regulation loss in 11 games and an OT loss to the Princeton Posse have the Dynamiters chasing the top spot in the KIJHL just a point behind the Beaver Valley Nitehawks. Kimberley is led by the league’s leading scorer, Brock Palmer, who last year had 81 points (27g + 54a) in 47 games. His pace hasn’t slowed in 2019/20, as he’s off to a hot start with 22 points (12g + 10a) in his first 10 games. He’s on pace to score 56 times and be over 100 points in his 20-year old season. If it seems as simple as shutting down Palmer and his linemates, think twice, because the Dynamiters are deeply talented, defend well, and have one of the league’s best power plays.

After running the gauntlet of the top two teams in the Eddie Mountain Division, the Steam will have a 5:00pm start on Sunday against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats. The Thunder Cats (6-2-0-1, 13 points) are the third place team in the Eddie Mountain Division, and will provide yet another stiff test for the Steam to finish a road trip. They have depth, speed and a goaltender in Riley O’Laney who currently owns a near .930% Save Percentage. Nearly all of their position players pitch in on the score sheet on a consistent basis, which is something that the Steam will have to look out for if they want to stay in a game at the end of a 3-game weekend.

Heading to the Kootenays, the Steam aren’t exactly a picture of health. Ty Banser, Mitch Gove, Jordon Woytas and Jarrett Watson will all miss most if not all of the road trip due to injuries that began to mount a couple of weeks ago and seem to be coming in bunches. They do, however, seem to be through the worst of it and have seen some bodies return to the lineup over the past few games.

Ethan Grover has also returned from the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives, giving Head coach Ken Karpuk another defenseman to use in big time situations. The Steam have also acquired forward Gavyn Entzminger (’00) from the Castlegar Rebels in exchange for Future Considerations. That deal was announced Tuesday morning, and Entzminger was in Summerland for their afternoon practice that day.

On the road and down some bodies, the team will surely look to keep things simple. Clear pucks on the first attempt, put them behind defenders and do what they do best, which is forecheck. When the Steam forecheck gets rolling it creates a lot of things, including chances in the offensive zone that lead to good looks and at the very worst, some power play opportunities.

The Steam have one of the best power plays in the KIJHL, second only to their nearest rivals, the Kelowna Chiefs. They’re clipping at over 25% for the season through 11 games, and have scored at least one power play goal in 10 of their 11 games to date. The only game without a power play goal was last Friday’s 3-1 loss in Armstrong to the North Okanagan Knights. It’s a welcome change from the past where the Steam power play has been stuck in the middle or at the back of the pack as far as KIJHL Power Play Percentage is concerned, and it’s become a weapon they can count on to produce offense in many different ways. They’ll have to cash in on their chances this weekend against three good hockey teams, and avoid giving up any shorthanded opportunities.

The road trip kicks off in Fernie on Friday night with a 7:30pm MST (6:30pm Okanagan Time) start against the Ghostriders. Keep your eyes locked on all Social Media Channels for updates!

Injury Ravaged Steam Net Pair of Wins in Three Game Week

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Photo: Chris Swan

The injury bug is a normal, every season occurrence for most junior hockey teams, and it’s bitten the Summerland Steam early in their Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Season. The team finds themselves battling for wins as they near the quarter mark of their season with some of their top players wearing suits in the stands.

With just 14 skaters and 8 forwards last Sunday against Beaver Valley, they led 3-2 deep into the third period before giving up three goals and losing 5-3. They weren’t allowed much rest, either, as this week began with a Tuesday evening contest with the Princeton Posse at the Summerland Arena.

Again, with just 14 skaters and 8 forwards, the Steam were able to come up with a gutsy 3-2 win over the Posse thanks to 49 saves from Eric Scherger. He was awarded first star honours in a game where he saw a ton of rubber, mostly from the perimeter. Cody Swan and Tyson Conroy scored for the Steam, and Morey Babakaiff notched the game winner on a third period power play to give the Steam the victory.

They would follow up their Tuesday night victory with a home and home on the weekend against the North Okanagan Knights. The Steam got Mitch Gove back on Friday night, as well as seeing the return of Ethan Grover from the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives. Cody Swan (5) opened the scoring for the Steam, but a tying goal from Cade Enns late in the first period had the teams tied after a frame. After no scoring in the second period, North Okanagan Captain Cole Haberlack broke the tie in the third to give the Knights a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Cade Enns scored his second of the game just under two minutes later to extend the lead for the Knights, who would win 3-1 on the back of 37 saves from goaltender Sean Kanervisto.

Summerland would get their revenge one night later, picking up a 5-1 victory on home ice. Cory Loring (3,4) led the way with a pair of goals and Cody Swan (6) had a goal and a pair of assists in the game, while Morey Babakaiff and Josh Bourchier (1, first KIJHL Goal) also tallied. The Steam dominated most of the night, leading 2-0 and 3-0 at period breaks. They built a 5-0 lead before Adam Volansky scored for the Knights to break Eric Scherger’s shutout bid with 3:13 to play.

After a busy last couple of weeks where they played five times in nine days from October 4-12, the Steam get right back to it with three game Kootenay road swing this weekend. They’ll roll through Fernie, Kimberley and Creston Valley on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday respectively, and seem to still be waiting on some healthy bodies to return.

Working their way over to the East Kootenay and playing in buildings like Fernie and Kimberley, it’s going to be important for the Steam to try and get on the board early, not give up the early goal, and get settled into some hostile environments they may not be used to playing in. Both buildings expect upwards of 750 fans in house on any given game night, and the Steam will have to count on the experience of their veteran players to guide them through some uncharted territory.

Keep an eye on Trolley Talk for a preview of these three games coming sometime on Wednesday.

 

Steam Ready For Leafs, Nitehawks as Calendar Flips

IMG-3937.JPGAs the calendar (and the weather, sigh) flip to fall and the month of October, the Summerland Steam find themselves in a familiar spot. After a 4-3 victory over the Osoyoos Coyotes last weekend to finish up their month of September, they sit in a playoff spot and have a lot to look forward to.

Last Friday night at home to the Coyotes, the Steam built a 3-0 lead on goals from Mitch Gove (3, PP), Morey Babakaiff (4, PP) and Tyson Conroy (1). They faced a little adversity late in the game as they watched the Coyotes storm back with three straight goals in the back half of  the third period to tie the game at 3. A shorthanded goal from Brendan Moseley and a power play tally from Seth Kriese set the stage for the Coyotes comeback, which was completed in the final minute of the third period. The goal came from Coyotes Forward Ryan Bester, who was able to locate a puck in the scrum and beat Steam goalie Darby Tipton with just :28 on the clock. It looked at that point like the Coyotes were going to record their first point of the season and force overtime at the Summerland Arena.

With :13 seconds on the clock and the faceoff outside Summerland territory, Mitch Gove had other ideas.

Off a won draw by the Steam, the puck was sent out to the left side to Lane French. French made a beautiful little chip pass through into an area for Gove to skate onto. He undercut his defender and picked up the puck, finding himself one-on-one with Coyotes goaltender Logan Jorginson. Gove, with that same defender on his back, was able to make a move to his forehand and lift the puck over a sprawling Jorginson with :06 on the clock to give Summerland a 4-3 lead. The score would hold with one more drop of the puck, and Summerland would win the game 4-3.

They closed out the month of September with a 4-2 win loss record in six regular season contests, having played five of those six games at home. They’ve only made one road trip thus far, an 8-2 win at the Sun Bowl in Osoyoos on September 25th. They finish the month at the top of the Okanagan Shuswap Conference in Goals For (27), while having the best power play in the entire KIJHL (9/28; 32.14%) through one month of play.

They’ll look to build a good October with a strong first weekend at home before spending the majority of the month on the road. They’ll entertain the Nelson Leafs this coming Friday, and the Beaver Valley Nitehawks Sunday at 2:00pm at the Summerland Arena.

A perennial Neil Murdoch Divison powerhouse, the Leafs are off to an uncharacteristically slow start in 2019/20. They’ll arrive in Summerland on Friday night having traveled from the Kootenays for the second straight weekend, still searching for their first victory of the season. It’s their worst start to a season since a 2-6 month of September to begin the 2010/2011 season, and they’ve been making roster moves like demons to try and add the right pieces to get them on track.

On Friday, expect to see a new goaltender in net for the Leafs. They acquired goaltender Anderson Violette from the Saanich Braves of the VIJHL last week before trading 20-year old netminder Curt Doyle to the Osoyoos Coyotes in exchange for Defenseman Adam Diotte. Diotte, a 2nd year member of the rebuilding Coyotes, was thought to be a corner piece to the Coyotes defense core along with Tynan Peacock, so they must feel that youngster Logan Jorginson needs a little help to keep pucks out of the Coyotes goal. The Leafs get a steady defenseman who can help immediately, skates well and makes a good first pass out of the zone.

Doyle, a native of Nelson, BC, appeared in six games for the Leafs this season, collecting a 3.19 GAA and .898% Save Percentage before being dealt. He’s a veteran of 69 career KIJHL Regular Season games between Beaver Valley, Castlegar and Nelson.

The trade of Doyle for Diotte came at the end of a busy week previous for Nelson’s coaching staff and management, adding Ryan Nielsen-Webb from Columbia Valley, trading the playing rights of forward Ryan Piva to 100 Mile House, and of course adding Violette to the fold as well.

The Leafs weren’t done with just those transactions, however, as they’ve also added Shawn Campbell back to their roster ahead of this weekend’s games. Campbell recorded 20 goals and 39 points in 36 games for the Leafs in 2018/19, and should help Nelson grow what is currently the league’s lowest goal total of 13 through six games.

Seven of their 13 tallies have come via their power play, so the simple key for the Summerland Steam will be to stay out of the penalty box. In their six September games, the Steam were shorthanded 44 times, just over seven times per game on average, and were able to kill over 84% successfully. If one trend continues, the other will have to as well if they want to be successful.

Beaver Valley, meanwhile, will come in on Sunday at the end of a three game weekend. They’ll play Princeton on Friday night and the North Okanagan Knights Saturday before arriving in Summerland on Sunday. The Nitehawks have started the year with three wins, a loss and a pair of overtime defeats, and look to be a force once again in the Neil Murdoch Division. They compete hard and never take a shift off, which has become something of a staple of longtime Head Coach Terry Jones. Jones, who recorded his 1000th KIJHL coaching win during the 2018/19 season, is always able to get the best out of his personnel, and they’re sure to be a tough test on Sunday afternoon.

Summerland comes into the weekend and the month of October looking to continue to build. It wasn’t their best month of September by any stretch, but there were lots of good things proven that if carried over will give them an edge. Their power play is the best in the KIJHL to date, and they’ve scored the most goals in the Conference, all while having one of the youngest defense cores in the league.

Those young defenders will look to continue to acclimate themselves to the speed and physicality of the KIJHL as the Steam play their two home games this weekend. Most of the month of October will be spent on the road, including a 3-game swing through the Eddie Mountain Division in the middle of the month that will push them to their limit.

The month of October begins tonight for the Summerland Steam, as they host Nelson at 7:30pm. Joel and I will have all the action live on PlayFullScreen.com starting around 7:15pm!