Swan & Co Earn Huge Win Before Week Off

201911092115492November 25, 2019

Summerland, BC – With just one game this past weekend, the Summerland Steam were looking forward to a bit of a break. The week started for them last Wednesday, when they entered the Sun Bowl Arena looking for a victory over the vastly improved Osoyoos Coyotes.

The Coyotes, under new Interim Head Coach Grant Williams for the first time, proved a tough test and worked hard to earn a 4-3 OT victory over the Steam. Williams earned his first win behind the Coyotes bench in his first game after the organization and former HC/GM Dean Maynard “Mutually Parted Ways” on Monday.

It looked like the Steam were going to run away early. Cody Swan scored a pair of goals in the first half of the first period to give Summerland a 2-0 lead on the road.

 

They’d take that lead to the dressing room before Bryson Garska got the Coyotes on the board in the second at 11:10. Garska would be tossed from the game not 10:00 of play later, as he made a vicious pass at Summerland’s Austin O’Neil while the Steam were on the power play. The Coyotes’ forward was assessed a 5-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct, plus an automatic 2-game suspension for the hit. O’Neil would miss the remainder of the second period, and was used sparingly in the third and subsequent overtime.

In the third, up 2-1, the Steam looked to add to their lead early. They were buzzing around the Coyotes’ net all night, and were able to beat Curt Doyle a third time in the first five minutes of the period. Ethan Grover took a pass in the slot and ripped his 2nd of the season over the glove of Doyle to restore Summerland’s 2-goal lead.

Despite the two goal advantage, the Steam were unable to hang on. A pair of power play goals from Brandon Della-Paolera and Jack Henderson tied the game at 3 and earned each team a single point.

With chances going both ways in overtime, the Coyotes were able to capitalize when Brendan Moseley made a good rush and net drive down the left wing side. He threw the puck to the front of the net and it snuck behind Eric Scherger to give the Coyotes their first home-ice victory of the season.

After the 4-3 overtime loss on Wednesday in the desert, the Steam took the ice in Kelowna on Friday with purpose. They fired 54 shots at Coyotes’ goaltender Curt Doyle on Wednesday before putting 46 shots on goal on the road in Kelowna on Friday. They’ve begun to get pucks to the net, and on Friday night it resulted in a 6-3 victory and a bit of a statement against their biggest rival.

Facing a full week with no games following Friday’s game in Kelowna, it would have been easy for the Steam to ‘fold their tent’, so to speak. The outing to Kelowna concluded a tough stretch of 6 games in 14 days that included a trip to the Kootenays and a run to 100 Mile House and back.

They went into Rutland Arena on a mission, however, and weren’t going to be denied.

After a disallowed goal on either side in the early stages of the first period, Morey Babakaiff came up with a power play goal to give the Steam an early lead. His 11th of the season, Babakaiff took a pass in the slot from Lane French, double clutched, and beat Chiefs’ goaltender Braeden Mitchell to put the Steam up 1-0.

Kelowna’s Ty Marchant tied things up shortly after, notching his first KIJHL goal on a Kelowna power play to send the game to the first intermission tied at 1. This would be a common theme on the night, as Summerland would never trail but also never lead by more than a goal until the late stages. After not much of anything in the second period, Cody Swan gave the Steam their lead back with his 12th of the season early in the third.

At even strength, he and Lane French did great work on the forecheck, freeing the puck up in the slot. French had a shot on goal, and Swan was there to drag the rebound to his backhand and beat a sprawling Mitchell.

As they did in the first period, the Chiefs promptly found a way to tie the game at two. This time it was newcomer Nathan Driver, who was able to intercept a pass on a Steam power play and beat Eric Scherger to the blocker side for his first KIJHL goal.

The tie lasted 12 seconds, however, as Summerland’s Cory Loring would notch his 9th of the season from the half-wall on the same power play to give the Steam their one-goal lead back.

Again, the Chiefs bounced back. And again, it was Nathan Driver. Driver scored his second of the game on the power play to tie the game at 3 with 5:20 to play. The Chiefs did good work to get the puck below the goal line, where Kayson Gallant found Driver at the far post for the tap in.

It looked like maybe we were destined for some more overtime. The Steam, no strangers to overtime, had other ideas. They got back in on offense and did well to forecheck their way into position to take a 4-3 lead. It was the line of French, Swan and Austin O’Neil who did the damage, with Swan picking up his second of the game on another Braeden Mitchell rebound with 1:59 remaining.

It would stand as the game winner, with the visitors adding two empty net goals to the tally and finalizing the score at 6-3.

 

 

For the second consecutive season, the Steam are responsible for the first home-ice loss of the season for the Kelowna Chiefs, who still hold a 9-point lead in the division standings as well as 4 games in hand. Head Coach Ken Law was very clearly not thrilled with his team’s effort on Friday night, and sent a loud message on Saturday when the Chiefs hosted the Grand Forks Border Bruins.

Law planted starting goaltender Braeden Mitchell, Co-Captain Zane Avery, Assistant Captain and leading scorer Kayson Gallant, as well as a host of others in the stands to watch from above. The beat went on anyway, as the Chiefs put up 50 shots on former Chief Shane Zilka on the way to a 4-1 victory.

For the Summerland Steam the win on Friday bodes well for their confidence, as they’ve been playing much improved hockey lately without getting many results. They were quite frankly unlucky to lose both their games in 100 Mile House in the month of November, as well as the game in Osoyoos last Wednesday night. They’re 3-4-0-1 in eight November games to date, with just two games to play to finish out the month. They’ve finally started to get healthy, and will expect both Jordon Woytas and Mitch Gove back sometime during the month of December.

The Steam hang on to a familiar 2nd place position in the Bill Ohlhausen Division, nine points back of the division leading Kelowna Chiefs, and four points clear of the third place Princeton Posse. Both teams have games in hand, so there will be a bit of scoreboard watching for the Summerland Steam as they use their week off to recuperate and prepare for the final weekend of November.

As for their final November weekend, they’ll play the North Okanagan Knights at home on Friday night, and visit the Princeton Posse for the first time this season on Saturday. The home date on Friday night is presented by TELUS, and tickets are just $5 in conjunction with the Summerland Festival of Lights.

Head downtown for the festival which starts at 4:00pm, check out the lights at 7:00pm and the fireworks at 7:01pm before coming to the arena for a 7:30pm start!

Steam Split Weekend, Collect 4 Points Anyway

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Photo: Chris Swan

November 14, 2019

Summerland, BC – The Summerland Steam are happy to be coming home with four points from their recent trip to the Kootenays. They left on Friday hoping for exactly that as they rolled through Golden and Columbia Valley to complete their Eddie Mountain Division match-ups for the regular season. After their run through Fernie, Kimberley and Creston in late October that produced one of a possible six points, it was important for the Steam to try to get back on track during their last two stops.

In Golden on Friday night, Lane French scored the lone goal for the Steam in a game they quite frankly deserved to win for their efforts. French’s goal, his 7th of the season, came shorthanded in the first period to tie the game at 1. Unfortunately, the Golden Rockets were able to score two more over the final two periods and pick up a 3-1 victory.

The victory lasted mere minutes for the Rockets, however, as they were flagged for using an ineligible player during the game and were forced by the KIJHL to forfeit the two points to the Summerland Steam. They attempted to card the player in question once the game was over, and it was flagged and reported promptly.

Hockey Canada Registry concerns are far too common, and seem to happen a few times every year across the KIJHL. Over the last four seasons there have been plenty of times where teams were forced to forfeit points, including the Kelowna Chiefs, Nelson Leafs, and many others. Just a couple of weeks ago the North Okanagan Knights were forced to forfeit points from four wins due to the same issue. The Knights case was a severe one, as it parachuted them from a first place tie into a third place tie in the Bill Olhausen Division Standings, giving away eight total points.

The onus is on the league’s GM’s and Team Executives to ensure these things are taken care of, and the league and BC Hockey have a history of ruling with a bit of an iron fist on the issue. Appeals have been denied several times from GM’s trying to plead their case, as was the case with North Okanagan earlier this season. There was no dispute in the case on Friday night, and the Summerland Steam picked up two points despite a 3-1 loss to the Golden Rockets.

On Saturday they were headed to Invermere, making their first stop at the Eddie Mountain Arena since 2014. Their last visit required overtime, and a game winner from Riley Pettitt to pick up a 4-3 win in what was the ‘getaway game’ of that road trip 5 years ago.

This game wasn’t much different. It was also a ‘getaway game’, and also required overtime heroics. Ty Banser got the scoring started with his third of the season early in the first period. He found his way over the blue line, and attempted a pass to a net-driving Zack Cooper. Cooper was tied up by a pair of Rockies defenseman, allowing Banser into the slot unchecked. He picked up his own pass off a carom, and slid a backhander past Rockies’ goaltender Bretton Park to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

 

Ryan Allen would then check-in with his first of the season, getting a long shot through and past Park to extend the lead to two. Austin O’Neill and newcomer Slade Desharnais would draw assists on Allen’s goal, and the Steam found themselves in the driver’s seat up 2-0.

Alex Novakowsky would get the Rockies on the board in the second period, streaking down the right wing and beating Eric Scherger high over the glove. It was the only goal of the second period and brought the Rockies to within a goal headed to the third period.

Summerland did a good job, despite only being up a goal, to dictate pace and use their forecheck to their advantage. They finished with 31 shots on the night, but likely had more than 50 attempts at goal including blocks and shots that missed the target. They looked to be in total control and cruising through most of the third frame, but the Rockies were able to manufacture a goal late in the game against the run of play to tie the game at 2.

Jonathan Milligan tied the game with 3:19 to play, finding a loose puck in the slot and beating Scherger with a nicely placed backhand into the top corner. For the second consecutive meeting at the Eddie Mountain Arena, overtime was necessary to decide a winner as neitherΒ  team broke the tie in the final 3:19.

Again it was the Summerland Steam coming out on top, thanks to a Tyson Conroy game winner :27 into overtime to seal the victory.

As the Rockies broke down the ice with the puck, it looked like they would have a great chance to end it. If not for the stick of Zack Cooper they might have, as a Rockies player stood all alone in front of the net waiting for a pass from the corner. As it came, Cooper seemed to appear out of nowhere for the Steam, lifting the stick of the Rockies player and allowing the puck to slide on by. This freed up the puck for Tyson Conroy, who broke out of the Summerland zone 2-on-1 with Ty Banser. A nice give-and-go between Conroy and Banser left a wide open cage for Conroy, who tucked the puck behind Bretton Park to give the Steam the victory.

 

With the win and the forfeited points awarded from Friday night, the Steam came home with four points on the standings board. A much needed ‘weekend sweep’, if you will, for a team that struggled through the month of October with injuries and a heavy schedule. With a 4-5-0-2 record through the month of October, they managed to stay afloat while enduring injuries to many of their top players. Mitch Gove, Austin O’Neill, Ante Mustapic and Ty Banser all missed significant time in October, while Jordon Woytas missed the whole month recovering from a lower body injury sustained in just the second game of the KIJHL season.Β Both he and Mitch Gove remain out with injury, and are expected back sometime in December.

While they’ll wait a while longer to finally ice the roster that GM Steve Hogg and Head Coach Ken Karpuk intended at the start of the season, the play on the ice has certainly been better than their record shows since the beginning of October. Particularly since the calendar flipped to December, the Steam have found themselves working hard and staying in close games while having played the most games in the league to date at 21.

In the four games so far in November, many would tell you they feel the Steam have played well enough to win all four. They certainly deserve more than just the one win they’ve gotten in four games (counting the game in Golden as a 3-1 defeat), and they’ll be looking to turn it around this coming weekend.

Unfortunately, they’ve got another hellish road trip on their hands. For the second time in three weekends, they’ll travel to 100 Mile House to play the Wranglers on Friday night. They’ll bus 5-hours up to play a game and bus 5-hours back, only to turn around and host the Kamloops Storm on home ice on Saturday night. Two weeks ago when they made this trip, they arrived back at the Summerland Arena sometime around 3:30AM on Saturday morning, and had to be ready to play 16 hours later for a 7:30pm start.

That will be the same this weekend, as they bus up to face a Wranglers’ team that beat them by a 4-2 count two weeks ago. The Wranglers, the Cyclone Taylor Cup Hosts for 2020, have had an up and down season much like Summerland has to date. For Head Coach and GM Dale Hladun it’s been a season of tinkering, trying to find the right mix of players that’ll be ready come playoff time to run them all the way to the Championship tournament. At 9-9-1-0, the Wranglers sit third in the Doug Birks Division behind the Revelstoke Grizzlies and Chase Heat, who sit first and second respectively. Much like the Summerland Steam, the Wranglers sit in the middle of the pack as far as goals for and against, differential, and special teams.

It will be a good test for the Steam, who will go back to the South Cariboo looking for a little retribution.Β They’ll return home to face the Kamloops Storm on Saturday night. The first meeting of the season between the Steam and the Storm goes at 7:30pm at the Summerland Arena. If you can’t be in person to cheer them on, be sure to join the webcast at playfullscreen.com, the Official Broadcast Partner of the KIJHL.201911092022331

Swan Sets Record, Steam Fall Short During Grueling Weekend Set

201910121939422November 5, 2019

Summerland, BC – As the KIJHL season nears the halfway mark and teams settle into their November schedules, the Summerland Steam were in tough this past weekend as they try to do the same. The weekend began with a trip to 100 Mile House, a game that feels like a home game in a lot of ways for a team looking to gain some traction in the Bill Olhausen Division standings.

It feels a lot like a home game when the Steam visit the South Cariboo Rec Centre each year, and that’s because for a few players it most certainly is one. The Steam roster has four players who hale from Williams Lake, BC, just an hour up the road. Cody and Justin Swan, Tyson Conroy and Cory Loring all grew up and played their minor hockey in the area, and had countless friends and family in attendance on Friday when the Steam rolled in to face the Wranglers.

The Wranglers weren’t as friendly as the friends and family there to greet the Steam and their players, picking up a 4-2 victory over the Steam and sending them home empty handed.

The home team jumped out to a 1-0 lead thanks to a power play goal from Harley Bootsma. After the Steam struggled to get their legs moving off a 9-hour bus ride, a penalty kill near the midway point of the first period was exactly what they didn’t need. Bootsma was able to capitalize on the power play and send the Wranglers to a 1-0 lead after one period of play.

Cody Barnes would make it 2-0 near the midway mark of the second period, this time shorthanded, capitalizing on a turnover by the Summerland power play at the Wrangler blue line. Barnes was away to the races, and despite being chased down was able to get a puck under Steam starter Darby Tipton to add to the Wranglers’ lead.

Summerland’s Gavyn Entzminger would get one back for the Steam just a few minutes later. On the power play, Entzminger worked the puck up the right wing and took a shot from just inside the blue line. Bobbled, the puck sat in front of Wranglers’ goaltender Jordan Wilde and bounced around a few sets of skates before Entzminger was able to locate it behind the Wrangler goaltender and deposit it into the empty cage. His third of the season, and first as a member of the Steam, closed the gap to 2-1.

The goal seemed to give the Steam some life, as they pressed to try and get the game tied before the end of the frame. Despite their best effort, the Wranglers managed to score on a counter-attack with just over 2:00 remaining in the second period. It would prove to be the game winner, as 100 Mile’s Garrett Hunter chased a puck down into Summerland territory and threw it on goal from a sharp angle. It eluded the Summerland goaltender, and put the Wranglers up 3-1 after two periods.

The Steam began to mount a comeback once more early in the third period. Williams Lake, BC resident Cory Loring found himself on the scoresheet with his eighth goal of the season just under five minutes into the third. A gorgeous solo effort, Loring stripped a puck from a streaking Wranglers player in the neutral zone, worked down the right side and drug the puck to the middle. He was able to use a toe-drag move to bait another defender, and deposit the puck over the glove of Wilde to bring the Steam within a goal.

Just when it looked like the Steam were going to start to push to tie the game, the Wranglers scored on the very next shift. Chase Vancoughnett-Lafleur would score for the home team to put them up 4-2, which would hold despite another Steam push late in the game.

Overall it was a great effort for the Summerland Steam that came up just a touch short. A couple of mistakes cost them, and the 8-hour bus ride north on game day didn’t do them any favours either. The return trip from 100 Mile House put them into the Summerland Arena at about 3:45 on Saturday morning, a quick turnaround to a 7:30pm start that night against the Chase Heat.

The Heat, second in the Doug Birks Division only to the Revelstoke Grizzlies, were 6-2 winners on Friday night in Grand Forks and came into Summerland looking to capitalize on a tired team. The Heat spent the weekend on the road this weekend with just one goalie, as Vince Benedetto played every minute of both games and picked up a pair of wins with his goaltending partner, Dylan Barton, out of the lineup.

The tired legs were evident for the Steam early on in Saturday night’s game, with three stick infraction penalties in the first eight minutes sending them to some long-term penalty kill practice. They were able to kill all three, and then couldn’t capitalize on a pair of power plays of their own to end the first period in a scoreless tie.

The Heat would open the scoring in the second period, as Colton Nikiforuk would find a loose puck in front off a rebound and beat Eric Scherger to give the Heat a 1-0 lead. The lead would last just under two minutes, as Summerland would come back and tie the game thanks to team captain Cody Swan. He was able to pick up a puck in his own zone and break away up the left wing side, finding himself on a 2-on-1 with teammate Lane French. Swan faked a pass to French, and then beat Benedetto high over the glove for his eighth of the season. Not only did the goal have the significance of tying the hockey game at one, but it was a record breaking tally for Swan.

With his 52nd KIJHL goal and 149th career point he finds himself now in sole possession of the All-Time lead for points for the Steam franchise, passing former captain Paulsen Lautard (2013-2016).

With the new record set, I took a little time to have a quick look back. 110 games, 51 goals and 147 points back to be exact, to Swan’s first goal as a member of the Summerland Steam in Sicamous on September 16, 2017.

With Swan’s latest goal, the 8th of this season and 52nd of his career, the Steam found themselves tied at 1 with the Chase Heat after two periods on Saturday night. They’d done extremely well to hang with quality competition after a long day on Friday, and looked to be in good shape heading to the third period.

In the frame it was the Chase Heat who broke the tie, and they did so scoring twice in 22 seconds to break a 1-1 game open into a 3-1 lead. Hayden Wiebe would net what would stand as the game winner for the Heat, followed shortly by a Tyson Lampreau goal that was knocked out of mid-air at shoulder height past Eric Scherger.

Despite another Summerland push, the Heat would add an empty netter thanks to Jayden Russell’s first KIJHL goal in the dying minutes to pick up a 4-1 victory.

The Steam continue to fight for points while waiting for their full roster to be assembled for a single game. After play this weekend they’ve seen there man-games lost number climb to north of 70 over the course of their first 19 games.

This weekend they continued to be without star forwards Mitch Gove and Jordon Woytas, who are both still weeks away from being cleared to play. Woytas hasn’t played since Game #2 on September 14th due to a lower body injury, while Gove left a game late on October 12th with an upper body injury and has been unable to play since. This past weekend the Steam also went without Austin O’Neil, the team’s second leading scorer, and 20-year old defenseman Ante Mustapic in their pair of games. The latter are considered day-to-day, and could be available for the team’s upcoming weekend road trip to the Eddie Mountain Division to play the Golden Rockets and Columbia Valley Rockies.

The Steam will go to Golden on Friday (6:30pm PST) and Columbia Valley on Saturday (6:00pm PST). They’ll follow up the following weekend with another grueling trip to 100 Mile House on the Friday night before having to play Kamloops at home on Saturday, November 16th.

For all the action this weekend, join the broadcasts on playfullscreen.com. The Golden broadcast is a can’t miss, as their play-by-play broadcaster is 14-year old Lukas Pfister, and he’s VERY good. Enjoy!