Steam Acquire Loring From Grand Forks 

The Summerland Steam Junior Hockey Club announced Thursday the acquisition of ’99 born forward Cory Loring from the Grand Forks Border Bruins. The trade is not the first this season for Loring, who was traded by the Chase Heat to the Border Bruins in December in exchange for Brady Marzocco.


Loring, an 18-year old forward from Williams Lake, BC, joins Summerland with 66 games of KIJHL experience under his belt, split between the Castlegar Rebels, Chase Heat and Grand Forks Border Bruins over the past two seasons. This season, he’s amassed 9 goals and 29 points on 34 games, including three points in four games with the Border Bruins since his acquisition in early December.

Regarding the acquisition of Cory Loring, Steam GM Mike Rigby had this to say:

“Cory will bring a lot to our hockey club. He competes hard, he’s a big body that we feel will mesh well with our forward group, and he’ll provide a little ‘bite’ if you will to our forecheck. We look forward to having him, though we had to give up a very good hockey player to get him.”

That very good hockey player that Rigby speaks of is Riley Smoler, who moves to the Kootenay Conference and the Neil Murdoch Division’s 4th place Border Bruins. He’ll join a Border Bruins team who battles with the Spokane Braves for the final playoff spot in the division, and likely has the task of staring down the league leading Castlegar Rebels in the first round of the KIJHL Playoffs. The Rebels have won fourteen games in a row, propelling them to first place in the division and the conference, based in win percentage.

📸 Victoria Rich Photography

Smoler, an 18-year old from Whitehorse, YT, has 10 goals and 25 points in his Rookie season in the KIJHL. He has a nose for the net and a knack for having the puck on his stick, and should help the Border Bruins in the offensive department.

“We’re sad to see Riley go,” Said Rigby, “He’s a great hockey player with a lot of talent, and we wish him all the best as he moves on to Grand Forks. On behalf of the Summerland Steam organization, we’d like to thank Riley for his time and efforts both on the ice and in the community over the past several months.”

Loring will wear number 11 upon his arrival in Summerland, and should be ready for action when the team hosts the Princeton Posse at the SOEC in Penticton on Thursday night.


Swan, Jirousek To Represent Steam at Top Prospects Showcase

For the second straight year, the KIJHL will host a Top Prospects Showcase. Hosted by the Kelowna Chiefs and the Rutland Arena, the Top Prospects game will feature the best players in the league aged 16-18 in the form of the Kootenay Conference squaring off against the Okanagan Shuswap Conference.

The KIJHL announced the rosters for the game, to be played January 13th at 2PM at Rutland Arena (West), on Tuesday and the Summerland Steam will send two representatives. Those two representatives are 18-year old Cody Swan and 17-year old Lukas Jirousek.


Luke Jirousek

Jirousek, out injured since November 17th with an undisclosed injury, is said to be close to return and will hopefully be ready to play in the Showcase on January 13th. The 17-year old from Whitehorse, YT has played just 18 of Summerland’s 31 games to date, and has put up nine goals and 15 points in those contests. He uses his big body and heavy shot to create opportunities for himself and offense for his team, and that’s been missed by the Summerland Steam while he’s been out with injury.


Swan, meanwhile, has been the model of consistency for a Summerland Steam hockey club that’s lost A LOT of man games due to injury this season. The 18-year old from 150 Mile House, BC has played all 31 of Summerland’s games thus far, amassing 15 goals and 41 points to sit 2nd in team scoring. He’s done that while also only accumulating eight penalty minutes, and playing in all key situations for Head Coach John Depourcq and his staff.

Jirousek and Swan will join Team Okanagan/Shuswap as they take on Team Kootenay. The rosters were released yesterday, and there’s some pretty top-end talent throughout both lineups, as you’ll see.




Not a lot can be said for the Kootenay Conference roster, as they don’t travel to play the Okanagan Conference at all during the 2017/18 KIJHL season due to the elimination of the crossover schedule. The Okanagan Conference roster, however, proves that players aged 16-18 are impact players for their club teams and make up a large percentage of the top tier talent in the KIJHL. A lot of the forwards that make up Team Okanagan are in the top 5 in scoring on their respective teams, while the defensemen play big minutes, quarterback power plays, and are trusted by their coaches to play in big situations. It will be great to see them go up against talent that they don’t often see from the Kootenay Conference of the KIJHL.

The KIJHL Top Prospects Showcase takes place January 13th at Rutland Arena in Kelowna, BC. Myself along with Justin McCartney, the Voice of the Kelowna Chiefs, will have all the action on

Steam Add Goaltender Sidelnik For Late Season Push

The Summerland Steam Junior Hockey Club is proud to announce the signing of 1999-born goaltender Max Sidelnik. A native of Lake Balboa, California, Sidelnik arrives in Summerland via the Estevan Bruins of the SJHL. In 11 appearances for Estevan, the 18-year old posted an 8-2 record with a 3.93 Goals Against Average and an .880% Save percentage.

Maxim Sidelnik

Prior to his time in the SJHL, Sidelnik spent the 2016/17 season with the Anaheim Jr. Ducks U18 team, posting a 2.45 GAA and .911% Sv% in 11 appearances.

Max Sidelnik

“We’re very excited to have Max join our club,” Said Steam GM Mike Rigby, “He’s a very talented goaltender that we hope can join us, buy into our program and help balance out the work load as we head down the stretch.”

When asked about the style Sidelnik seems to like to play, Rigby added “He moves well. He’s in the right position to make the saves he needs to make, and we’re excited to see what he can bring to our club as we speed towards the playoffs.”

Sidelnik has already played is first game in black, red, and white, as he made 32 saves in a losing effort against the Osoyoos Coyotes on December 29th, just his second full day with the club. 

📸 Jen Jensen Photography/Osoyoos Coyotes

📸 Jen Jensen Photography / Osoyoos Coyotes
He joins the Steam as they now try to chase the Coyotes for the top spot in the division. The loss last Friday saw Summerland slip to 2nd place in the division, the first time this season they haven’t had at least a share of the top spot.

With the addition of Sidelnik to the roster, Summerland says goodbye to goaltender Owen Petten. Petten, an 18-year old from Clarke’s Beach, Newfoundland, played just five games in Summerland colours this season as the backup to Steam starter Matt Huber. Petten went 3-1 in his five appearances, posting a 2.72 Goals Against Average and a .917% Save Percentage during his time with the Steam.

“Owen is a great young man and a guy that will be missed in our dressing room,” Rigby said, “He’s a good goaltender and we are hoping that together we can find him a place where he’ll get some more opportunities to play more minutes as he progresses with his hockey career. On behalf of the Steam organization, we would like to thank Owen for his hard work, great attitude, and his time spent with us both on the ice and in the community.”

Sidelnik, who played his first game last Friday, is expected to be in the lineup again on January 4th when the Steam host the Princeton Posse at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton. Matt Huber is expected to start that contest and when he does, he’ll break a Steam franchise record for minutes played, currently held by his older brother Brett. The younger Huber needs just eight minutes of action to tie his big bro, and nine minutes to break the record. He’s also closing in on Brett’s franchise record for games played (92), needing just three more appearances to tie and four to take the record for himself.

Puck drops at 7PM, and tickets are available at the door starting at 5:30PM on game day. We WILL have an internet broadcast on, with pre-game starting at 6:45pm provided no technical gremlins get in our way in the midst of moving our equipment.

Former Steam Forward MacLean Gets Dub Call


MacLean SteamMichael MacLean, Summerland Steam, 2015-2017

 Not long ago, just last season in fact, you could find Penticton native Michael MacLean plying his trade in the KIJHL for the Summerland Steam. He spent two full seasons in Summerland, amassing 10 goals, 21 points and 240 penalty minutes over 82 games before catching on with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats to start the 2017/18 season. 

In 23 games with Lloydminster, MacLean has notched six goals and six assists for 12 points and 106 penalty minutes while playing an ‘energy’ type role for the Bobcats.

McLean Lloyd

Going back a couple of seasons, the 6 foot 6 inch, 245 pound MacLean came from the Penticton Minor Hockey program and made the 2015/16 Summerland Steam squad out of camp as a 17-year old. 

“He caught our eye right away, obviously with his size. Guys who are 6’6″ and 240 at age 17 don’t fly under very many people’s radar,” Said now Steam GM Mike Rigby, who was the team’s Director of Player Development at the time of MacLean’s arrival.

“We knew of Mike far before he arrived at our camp, obviously with growing up and playing minor hockey just down the road. We always saw him as a hard worker who knew how to use his size and length to his advantage, and we’re always looking for that combination.”


That hard work and determination, as well as the size and length MacLean possesses has now not only turned into a regular AJHL gig with the Bobcats, but has also caught the attention of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.

The Thunderbirds are not unfamiliar with KIJHL alumni, as one of their assistant captains, Zach Andrusiak, spent time with the North Okanagan Knights and the Kamloops Storm back in 2014/15 and 2015/16.

The Thunderbirds recently signed Mike MacLean to an Affiliate card, and got him into his first WHL action this past Friday against the Prince George Cougars. He recorded one shot on goal in his debut.

“We’re very happy for him and not at all surprised,” Said Rigby, “He’s proof that no matter how much the odds are stacked against you, if you’re determined to put in the work that’s necessary to get you where you want to go, there’s a chance you can get there. I’m glad Mike has earned himself the chance to show people what he’s all about.”

MacLean will now return home for the Christmas break, as Lloydminster doesn’t play again until December 29th when they host the Whitecourt Wolverines.

The Summerland Steam would like to congratulate ‘Big Mike’ for his accomplishments, and commend him for his hard work, dedication, and will to continue to improve. 

One Win, One Tie Send Steam to Nine Day Break



Summerland players celebrate one of two power play goals Friday night in Osoyoos, propelling Summerland to a 2-1 victory. Photo: Victoria Rich Photography


A trip to Osoyoos sometime in December hasn’t been a reason for joy for the Summerland Steam in recent experience. Generally, the Steam have a bit of a tough time with the Osoyoos Coyotes, but they got a boost in their visit this past Friday night that was a welcome sight. It didn’t come in the addition of one of their injured players returning to the lineup, but it was their power play that propelled them to a big 2-1 victory.

As a broadcaster and a guy that watches just about every game the Summerland Steam have played over the past five seasons, I can tell you the power play hasn’t been the difference in a game in a long time. Certainly not in the past two seasons, but it was on Friday.

The Coyotes’ power play, of course, opened the scoring and let the teddy bears fly thanks to Carter Shannon’s 14th of the season just 2:40 into the hockey game. It would be the only goal the Coyotes would score on the night, despite six more power play opportunities and 36 total shots on net. Matt Huber was the reason the puck stayed out, and probably should have been named the game star after making 35 stops.

Morey Babakaiff would score his 5th of the season, on the power play, with 6:37 remaining in the second period to tie the game at 1. The Steam power play, which recently broke an 0-for-51 two weekends ago against Princeton, has simplified a bit and found success. The goal came from a simple shot from the point, Babakaiff locating a rebound before Coyotes goaltender Daniel Paul could, and tucking it in.

Blake Holowaty would then score in the third period, with 10:36 remaining, on the same play. This time though, there was no rebound to locate. Holowaty took a pass up at the top of the ‘umbrella’ from Brogan Lautard, picked his corner, and didn’t miss, potting his 17th of the season and giving Summerland a 2-1 lead.

That’s where the scoring would stop, although the Steam would keep pushing forward and not allow much from the Coyotes to try and get back on the board. Huber had to make one note-worthy save in the last ten minutes, but that would be it and Summerland would skate away with their first victory of the season in four tries against Osoyoos.

With just one more road trip on the way before the holiday break, the Summerland Steam then loaded the bus on Tuesday to head for Princeton and a date with the Princeton Posse.

Princeton, sitting in third place in the Okanagan Division, opened the scoring on a power play late in the first period. Lane French would notch his 11th of the season with 3:38 remaining in the frame, assisted by Posse captain Drew Carter and newcomer and former Kelowna Chief Jonathan Lee.

The Posse power play goal in the first period, the only tally, would be met by a Summerland power play goal in the second period. Babakaiff would get the goal, his 6th of the season, on almost a mirror image play from Osoyoos on Friday. Blake Holowaty would put the shot in from the point, Babakaiff would locate the rebound, and put it behind Posse netminder Bobby Milligan to tie the game at 1.

The Posse would then strike back, this time from the captain, Drew Carter. On another Posse power play, Carter was able to take a pass from Lane French at the top of the circles, and blast home his 11th of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead.

The lead would hold until the middle of period three. Special teams was the flavor of the day for these teams, as Summerland would capitalize on another power play with 13:40 remaining. Simon Snyman would get the goal, his fourth of the season. Blake Holowaty would snake his way through the neutral zone and over the Princeton blue line before dropping off to Snyman, who would wait for a crowd to form in front of the goal. He then changed his shooting angle ever so slightly at the right point, and sent one into the top corner over the blocker of Miligan to tie the game at two.

That’s where the score line would stay through regulation time. Each team recorded a point, and Summerland awarded another power play at the end of regulation as Jonathan Lee was assessed a minor for roughing. Summerland could do nothing with that power play, and would then have to kill a couple penalties of their own to nurse the clock down to 0:00 of double OT. As they did that, however, referee Kevin Crowell awarded Posse forward Lane French a penalty shot at the final buzzer.

French would wind his way in, but was met by Matt Huber at the top of the crease, who made a blocker save to preserve the 2-2 tie.

Each team would get a point, which propelled Summerland into sole possession of first place in the Okanagan Division headed to the Christmas break. The Osoyoos Coyotes do hold a game in hand, and will be the first opponent Summerland sees after Christmas, with a 7:35 pm start at the Sun Bowl in Osoyoos on December 29th.

The Steam and the Coyotes seem destined to be intertwined in a race for the Okanagan Division pennant for the fourth season in a row, and face each other four times down the stretch. The Division standings look like this as the Steam head for their nine day holiday break:

As shown, the Steam and Coyotes are eight and seven points clear of third place Princeton, respectively, and each have a couple of games in hand as well. It’s a safe bet that they’ll finish 1 and 2, barring disaster of course, which could potentially mean a second round meeting in the KIJHL playoffs for the fifth season in a row.

When the teams come out of the break on December 29th, Summerland will face an extremely tough set of games. They’ll start with Osoyoos on the road on December 29th, followed by another meeting with Princeton at the SOEC in Penticton at 7PM on Thursday, January 4th, 2018.

They’ll then travel to 100 Mile House, Princeton, and play a ‘destination’ contest against the Coyotes once again in Oliver on January 14th. They’ll return to the Summerland Arena on January 19th, 2018 when the team hosts the Chase Heat.


On behalf of the entire Summerland Steam organization, we would like to wish all of our players, fans, families, and volunteers a very happy and safe holiday season. Merry Christmas!

Weekend Split Sets Up Division Clash with Coyotes

This past weekend, the Summerland Steam earned a split in two home games against two tough opponents. Both games saw the Steam come together with local charities to help those in need during the holiday season. On Friday night, Summerland hosted their 3rd Annual ‘Fill The Net’ Food Drive to support the Summerland Food Bank.

They were able to come away with a hard fought 2-0 shutout over the Princeton Posse, thanks to a 23 save performance from goaltender Matt Huber, and also raise a whole bunch of donations for the food bank headed into the holiday season.


Scott Robinson opened the scoring with his 15th of the season just 3:58 into the first frame, locating a rebound off the pad of Posse goaltender Bobby Milligan and sliding it into an empty net. It would be the only goal in the first two periods, which were hotly contested and came with a little bit of fire.

Blake Holowaty would score the only other goal of the game, again off a rebound in the slot, just :29 into the third period. This put Summerland up 2-0 and they let goaltender Matt Huber do the rest. He made 23 saves, including four on either partial or clean cut breakaways, to pick up his 14th win of the season.

Summerland wasn’t great in this hockey game, but they did enough to pick up two points against a divisional opponent. After jumping out of an 0-for-51 slump with a power play goal last Saturday in Princeton, they had just two opportunities on Friday night and didn’t convert on either of them. The bright side though, is that after they allowed Princeton to score three power play goals in their last meeting, they held the Posse to an 0-for-4 on Friday night to help pick up the victory.

On Saturday they faced an equally stiff test in a game that featured the two top teams in the conference, as well as the 1st Annual Teddy Bear Toss at the Summerland Arena. The Revelstoke Grizzlies came to town, and were able to pick up a 3-2 victory thanks to a power play goal by former Kelowna Chiefs defenceman Joel Scrimbit early in the third period.

Summerland would open the scoring and send the teddies flying with 1:15 remaining in the first frame. Cody Swan would be the man to tally the first Teddy Bear Toss goal in Steam franchise history, taking a pass while going to the front of the net on the power play and sliding the puck under Grizzlies starter Liam McGarva.


The bears would be collected by Steam players, staff, and Disctrict of Summerland staff and will be delivered to local charities to help families in need over the course of the holiday season.

Swan’s 15th of the season, assisted by Blake Holowaty and Morey Babakaiff, would stake the Steam to a 1-0 lead after a period of play.

Summerland would hold that lead until the 11:38 mark of the second period when Tommy Boedtker, the Grizzlies Captain, was able to sneak in alone and beat Matt Huber blocker side to tie the game at 1. Boedtker did great work to receive a beautiful touch pass from recently acquired forward Jordan Robertson, who set up his first of three goals on the night.

Cairo Rogers would put Summerland back out in front with exactly eight minutes remaining in the second period with his seventh of the season just a few minutes later. Brogan Lautard did great work along the right wing boards to win a puck battle and find some space. He then had a look and found a wide open Rogers camped out on the back door, and he made no mistake.

With Summerland leading, the Grizzlies showed some push back. They controlled zone time and were able to test Matt Huber with a half dozen or so shots in the last four minutes of the second period. They were able to connect with 3:10 remaining in the frame, as Cody Flann managed to tip a puck into the top corner of the net while cruising to the back post.

Robertson was again in on the play, as he made the pass to the point that allowed Joel Scrimbit to take the shot. The shot hit a body in front of the goal and fell straight to the back post, where Flann was waiting to tip in his 17th goal of the season.

With the score tied at two, we reached the end of the second period. As we did so, however, Summerland found themselves in some penalty trouble. Summerland was assessed a 4-minute double minor for high-sticking, and on the ensuing power play took another 4-minute penalty for spearing after the Revelstoke power play dove on the puck in the offensive zone. Referee Carson Mintram refused to blow play dead, which forced Steam captain Sam Jones to do SOMETHING  to try and get the puck. He began to dig for it, and was assessed a double minor for spearing for his trouble.

This put the Grizzlies on an extended 5-on-3, for a shade under three minutes, to be exact. Summerland was able to get through to the end of the period, but were bitten early in the third when Joel Scrimbit received a pass from Jordan Robertson. He was able to walk in uncontested and beat Matt Huber, despite Huber’s best efforts.

This would stand as the game winner, as Summerland would push but couldn’t beat McGarva again. They had two marvelous chances in the final five minutes, but he made key saves at big times to pick up the victory.

The Steam got a split on the weekend, and raised donations for great causes at the same time. On Sunday the team, in conjunction with Summerland Minor Hockey, took part in the annual ‘Santa Skate’ at the Summerland Arena. They were able to connect with their fans and enjoy a couple of hours of fun before turning their attention to the practice ice and the Osoyoos Coyotes this coming weekend.


Summerland and Osoyoos are once again out in front of the Okanagan Division. A pair of Coyotes wins in Quesnel, BC this past weekend over the Kamloops Storm, plus a 5-1 drubbing of the Princeton Posse on Wednesday afternoon have pulled them into a tie at the top with 39 points. It should be mentioned that the Coyotes also still have one game in hand.

Summerland and Osoyoos sit nine points clear of the third place Princeton Posse, with Summerland holding one game and Osoyoos two in hand over their foes from the Similkameen Valley.

As always, the Osoyoos Coyotes are the Summerland Steam’s fiercest test. This year the Steam have gone 0-for-3 against their rivals from the south, with two of those games being decided by two goals. Those two were close, and the other was definitely not. Carter Shannon recorded a hat-trick by the 2-minute mark of the second period on October 28th, leading the Coyotes to a 7-3 victory on the road in Summerland.

That was the last time the two teams saw one another, and that will be fresh in the mind of the Summerland Steam when they take the ice at the Sun Bowl on Friday night. So far this season it hasn’t been the Coyotes powerplay that’s caused problems for the Steam, but rather goaltender Daniel Paul. He has been sensational in the two games previous to the 7-3 drubbing on October 28th, so much so in fact that Summerland probably should have won both if not for his performance.

It’s been that way for Daniel Paul throughout his whole KIJHL career, spending the previous two seasons with the North Okanagan Knights. He was able to hold the Knights in enough games to contend for the playoffs at the end of the regular season despite not having a whole ton of offense put forth in front of him.

The 19-year old Kelowna native is doing the same thing now as he was then, putting up a .915% (or better) SV% and making saves that he has absolutely no business making. The difference now, however, is that he has an offense in front of him that scores near the top of the league both at even strength and on special teams. This is why you’re seeing the results you are from the Coyotes, and they only seem to be getting stronger.

Co-Captains and 20-year olds Judd Repole and Colin Bell are leaders both on the score sheet and in the dressing room, leading by example of hard work, longevity and sportsmanship. Both are ‘lifelong Coyotes’, meaning they’ve spent their entire KIJHL careers in the desert. Both hail from Terrace, where the Coyotes seem to get a lot of their talent from, and have been key parts of Coyotes teams for several years.

Repole, who is from Prince Rupert, BC and now in his 5th season, recently played his 200th KIJHL game, and will move into the Top 20 in all-time games played in the KIJHL when he suits up for #202 on Friday against Summerland. He leads the Coyotes in points with 41, and quarterbacks their top power play and penalty kill units while only ever taking a handful of penalties himself. 

If Repole plays all 20 games the Coyotes have remaining, he’ll rise to #8 on the all-time games played list with 221, a great accomplishment for a player who’s poured his heart and soul into Coyotes hockey for five straight seasons.

Bell, meanwhile, returned to the Coyotes late this season after spending all summer fighting the fires that ravaged the province of BC. In 15 games since his return in late October, the 20-year old native of Terrace, BC has 10 goals and 25 points. This leads the Coyotes in points per game average at 1.8 points per game, and is on par with his scoring pace from last season where he led the KIJHL in points with upwards of 70 during a 47 game schedule. 

These two veterans, along with Cameron Welch, Hunter Johnson, and newly returned defenseman Cody Allen (yes, Steam defenseman Ryan Allen’s older brother) provide a lot for a Coyotes team that is contending for the top spot in the conference. They make up the nucleus of a team that’s talented and tough to play against, much like the Summerland Steam.

These two giants will go to work on one another twice between now and the end of the 2017 calendar, both in the Sun Bowl in Osoyoos on December 15th & 29th. These head-to-head meetings, of which five remain, will go a long way in determining who gets to hang the division championship banner at the end of the season. 

Both upcoming games can be watched on with Tom Shields and Damian Hanna starting at 7:35pm. 

Steam Set for Food Bank Night VS Posse


As we begin to approach the holiday season, the Summerland Steam Junior Hockey Club feel it important to help inside the community and give back to those in need. Tonight, the Steam will host their 3rd annual Food Drive to support the Summerland Food Bank. They ask all fans to bring a non-perishable food donation to the arena tonight and drop it off at the table on the way into the rink. For the generosity of fans from both teams, they will receive $2 off all regular priced tickets

The Princeton Posse come to town for just the second time this season, and it’s bound to be a battle as the two teams slug it out near the top of the Okanagan Division. Summerland has won two of three against the Posse thus far in 2017/18, but lost their most recent matchup by a 5-3 score. That was thanks to three power play goals from the Posse, with two of them coming late in the 3rd period on a 5-on-3 man advantage.

Princeton’s biggest strength is goaltending. The goaltending tandem of Bobby Milligan and Danyon Lorencz both boast save percentages near 92%, and between the two of them they give the Posse a chance to win every night. Both play the position in very different, but effective ways. Milligan is what I would consider a ‘freestyle’ goaltender, meaning he does what he needs to do to stop the puck, by any means necessary. Lorencz is more positionally sound. He doesn’t necessarily see everything that he stops, but because he plays the position well and reads plays well, he’s able to stop the majority of the pucks that come his way simply by being ‘in position’.

Up front and on defense, a good mix of veteran presence and youth have given Head Coach Mark McNaughton good minutes every night thus far. The likes of Mort Johnston, Tristyn Olsen and well-travelled KIJHL veteran Drew Carter give the Posse good, reliable leadership up front, while Noah Brusse, Kole Halvorson, and Summerland native Dawson Jenner play steady minutes on defense. The Posse sit 3rd in the Okanagan Division, three points clear of the Kelowna Chiefs and three points behind the second place Osoyoos Coyotes.

Summerland, meanwhile, continues to pace the Okanagan Division with 37 points, four points up on second place Osoyoos. They could see that lead dissipate at any time, however, with the Coyotes owning two games in hand on this particular date. The Steam will have to look for offense from perhaps some unlikely sources this weekend, as they’ll likely be without Everett Scherger and Luke Jirousek for another set of games while they recover from injury. They’ll have to rely on what we thought would be their strength from the beginning, and that’s their defense and goaltending.

The Steam have scored goals at an alarming rate so far this season, leading the KIJHL for the majority of the first half scoring over 4.5 goals per game on average. That’s taken a dip slightly recently, and looks like it will continue while they try to get healthy and back to a full 20 man roster every night.

They’ll rely on the presence of captain Sam Jones, Brogan Lautard, and Matt Huber to continue down the path they’ve been on, which is winning hockey games and remaining the best team in the Okanagan Shuswap conference.

Summerland will host Princeton and Revelstoke on back to back nights this weekend, while the Osoyoos Coyotes are on the road to Quesnel for a set of games against the Kamloops Storm. Princeton is in to face Summerland tonight, and on the road to play the Chase Heat on Saturday, while the Kelowna Chiefs host the Revelstoke Grizzlies Friday and the 100 Mile House Wranglers Saturday. The North Okanagan Knights host the Wranglers Friday night in their only game of the weekend.

For Summerland it’s a 7:30 start on both Friday and Saturday nights. Friday is the 3rd annual Summerland Steam Food Drive, while Saturday will be the inaugural Teddy Bear Toss at the Summerland Arena. Bring a new or gently used bear, in a bag, to throw on the ice when Summerland scores their first goal of the night!


Steam Split Weekend Set, Get Ready for Home Weekend

This past weekend was what seems to have been a rare ‘road weekend’ for the Summerland Steam. They’ll have to get used to it as they’ve played the majority of their games so far on home ice, and will see plenty of time on the bus in the coming few months.

This past weekend, it was two different directions on back to back nights. On Friday night the Steam went north to Armstrong to play the North Okanagan Knights at the Nor-Val Centre. In just their second visit there this season, they were able to come away with a 5-1 victory thanks to an offense that continually pushed forward to the tune of 51 total shots on goal.

Owen Petten got the start, and was sturdy in a victory, making 28 saves for his 3rd victory in five appearances as a member of the Summerland Steam thus far. Brogan Lautard scored twice while Simon Snyman, Blake Holowaty and Scott Robinson all added singles in a game that saw Summerland dominate the Knights from start to finish.

As much as they dominated, the trouble continued for the Steam on their power play. They went 0-4 in Armstrong and pushed their scoreless streak to a whopping 50 straight opportunities, with their last PPG being scored by Luke Jirousek on October 27th against the Kelowna Chiefs.

The streak would extend to 51 on Saturday night when they headed to Princeton, failing on their first power play opportunity of the night. They did, however, convert on their second one thanks to Morey Babakaiff. He scored his 4th of the season with 4:38 remaining in the first period to tie the game at one and stop the PP dry spell at 36 days, 10 games and 51 chances.

Their power play wouldn’t hurt them on Saturday night in Princeton, but unfortunately their penalty kill did. The Posse scored three power play goals, including two in the final seven minutes of play, to pull off a 5-3 win. Cairo Rogers (6) and Sam Jones (6) scored the other Summerland goals, while Matt Huber made 30 saves in a losing effort.

Summerland outshot the Posse 40-35 in the game, and did well to carry the majority of the play. Unfortunately for them, the Posse were able to capitalize on their opportunities as well as make their power play count. Linden Gove, Lane French, Tristyn Olson, Mort Johnston and Ethan Schmor converted for the Posse, while Bobby Milligan picked up the victory thanks to a 37 save performance.

Summerland will return home this weekend to play two games, Friday, December 8th against the same Princeton Posse, and Saturday, December 9th against the Revelstoke Grizzlies. Both games will have special meanings, as Friday night is Summerland Food Bank night, where the Steam will be offering $2 off any regular priced ticket with the donation of a non-perishable food item for the Summerland Food Bank.



After Friday night, the Steam will host the Revelstoke Grizzles on Saturday. It is Summerland’s first annual TEDDY BEAR TOSS, which will result in (hopefully) a whole lot of stuffed animals thrown onto the ice when the Steam score their first goal of the night. It’s also a first place showdown in the Okanagan Shuswap Conference, as the Steam and the Grizzlies do battle for the second time this season.




Chiefs Win Return Match as Division Standings Tighten

After a 4-3 victory over the Kelowna Chiefs on Tuesday night last week, the Summerland Steam expected them to come back hard on Saturday night looking for a victory. Meeting for the second time in under a week and fourth time in 47 days, the two teams have become familiar with one another and are playing each other extremely tough as of late. Summerland had won all three meetings coming into Saturday night, with all three being closely played games.

Both teams being incredibly shorthanded offensively on Saturday night, the game left a little to be desired in that offensive category. Kelowna was without leading goal scorer and captain Brett Witala, as they will be for some time as he recuperates from a broken thumb/hand, as well as diminutive forward Brendan Mongey. Mongey, as talented as they come offensively and a gifted special teams player, was suspended 6-games by the KIJHL for this hit on Summerland defenseman Bailey Tamminga in the previous matchup on Tuesday night:

The Chiefs were also missing Lane Paddison, Devin Sutton, and starting goaltender Aris Anagnostoupolos. Max Gaudet would start in place of Anagnostopoulos and be forced to make just 19 saves.

For Summerland they remained without Luke Jirousek, Blake Holowaty, and Everett Scherger, as well as defenceman Noah Kallichuk. All are listed as day-to-day, with the hope that all will be available as Summerland starts their December schedule on Friday against North Okanagan in Armstrong. Defenceman Ryan Allen left Saturday night’s game with a lower-body injury and did not return, leaving his status for this coming weekend questionable at this point in time.

On Saturday night against the Chiefs, it was clear early on that whoever was going to win was going to have to grind one out. The game didn’t have a lot of flow, and scoring chances came few and far between as the teams skated to a 0-0 draw after the first period.

Cody Swan would net his 14th of the season near the midway mark of the period, managing to be the last one to touch the puck out of a scrum before it found the back of the Kelowna goal. Morey Babakaiff and Scott Robinson would draw assists on the goal that put Summerland up 1-0.

Kaden Stewart would reply for the Chiefs, converting on a power play with 4:41 remaining in the second period to tie the game at 1 after 40 minutes. That would be the only scoring we would see, netting each team a point as we headed for 4on4 overtime.

In the extra frame, former Summerland Steam defender Cole Williams would factor in setting up Tyler Love on a 2-on-1. Williams picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and was able to burn down the left side before feeding Love a cross-crease pass that he made no mistake on to give the Chiefs the 2-1 overtime win.

The three point game between Summerland and Kelowna tightened things up considerably in the Okanagan Division standings. Summerland picked up a crucial point and actually extended their lead over the Osoyoos Coyotes to eight points, as the ‘Yotes fell 7-5 to the 100 Mile House Wranglers. This came one night after the Coyotes put the boots to the Princeton Posse by an 8-0 score at the Princeton & District Arena on Friday night.

The Chiefs were the only Okanagan Division team to pick up four points on the weekend, vaulting them into a tie for second place with the Coyotes. Princeton was able to beat the North Okanagan Knights by a 6-3 score on Saturday to keep pace, but fall to fourth place, a point behind Kelowna and Osoyoos.

As mentioned, Summerland has managed to maintain their division lead against one of the toughest divisions in the KIJHL. They’ve done so while battling the injury bug and struggling on special teams, which is impressive against the quality of competition they’ve been up against. The power play has been particularly concerning for Summerland, in fact they may just want to begin declining them, as they’re mired in an 0/46 slump. Their last power play goal came October 27, 2017 in the third period against the Chiefs, by Luke Jirousek.

They’ll likely be working on getting back to basics in practice this week, trying to get pucks and traffic to the front of the goal to see if they can get an ugly one to bump the slump on Friday when they pay a visit to the North Okanagan Knights. It’s a big weekend for the Steam as they play two road games, in Armstrong to face the Knights Friday and in Princeton to play the Posse on Saturday. It’s imperative they come up with four points in those two games if they want to see their lead continue to stay at eight points out front.

Steam Down Chiefs With Rematch Looming Saturday

The Summerland Steam and the Kelowna Chiefs don’t like each other. That much can be said as fact. When you play a team nearly thirty times in two seasons including playoffs, that can happen, and it usually produces pretty good hockey. It has so far in 2017/18, as the Steam and the Chiefs met for the third time on Tuesday night at the Summerland Arena.

Their first meeting was a 5-2 Summerland victory that included an empty net goal, and the last two have been one goal Summerland wins, with the last one coming in overtime and Tuesday night’s game ending in a 4-3 score in regulation time.

It’s a matchup of 1st and 4th in the Okanagan Division standings, but these games are always tight and filled with fire.

Summerland came in after going 1-1 on the weekend, falling 4-2 in Chase on Friday before coming up with a big 5-2 win over Princeton at home on Saturday night. They’d been doing it recently without four big time bodies in their lineup as Blake Holowaty, Luke Jirousek, Morey Babakaiff, and Bailey Tamminga had been out of the lineup dealing with various ailments.

Tamminga and Babakaiff returned to the lineup on Tuesday, giving a big boost to Summerland both on offense and defense. The Chiefs are having their share of injury trouble as well, as they played on Tuesday with just 15 skaters.

Despite having the short bench, the Chiefs got out to a good start as 18-year old rookie standout Juanre Naude beat Matt Huber high over the glove just 3:15 into the first period on the Chiefs first power play. Naude made a great solo dash up the ice, beat two Summerland players and used his speed to get around the outside edge, before beating Matt Huber high on the short side to give the Chiefs the early advantage.

The first fifteen minutes of the game was all Kelowna Chiefs, outshooting the Steam 8-2 in that time span and being led up front by big minute man Brendan Mongey. Mongey, counted on to play all over the ice in the absence of injured Chiefs captain Brett Witala, was all over the place in the first period. He started the game centering a line between Naude on the right side, and former Summerland Steam defender Cole Williams on the left side. Williams, normally a defenseman, has made the move up front for the time being as the Chiefs skate missing five forwards.

With Kelowna dominating play through the first period and doing a great job using their speed through the neutral zone, it looked like it might be a long night for the Summerland Steam. Just as the Chiefs were about to finish a great period of hockey, a myriad of penalties allowed Summerland to gain some momentum back. These weren’t penalties that resulted in man advantage situations, but penalties that took both Mongey and Chiefs defender Jarin Sutton off the ice. Sutton and Ethan Grover got tied up and were each assessed two minutes, while Mongey stepped off the bench to involve himself in an altercation and picked up a 10-minute misconduct for his trouble.

Summerland was then able to exploit the middle of the ice to tie the game at 1 in the final minute of the first period, courtesy of Sammy Gabriel’s first KIJHL goal with just :47 on the clock. A good hold at the offensive blue line by Niall Lawrie started the play, and Sam Jones got three cracks at a shot before a puck finally ricocheted to Gabriel in the slot. He was able to beat Chiefs starting goaltender Aris Anagnastopoulos on the blocker side to tie the game and send the teams to the dressing room locked at a goal apiece.

Summerland had a much better second period than they did in the first. They carried the majority of the play, but found themselves trailing when Julian Fodor notched his second of the year for the Chiefs just 4:12 into the frame. Morey Babakaiff would draw the Steam back even just 2:08 later, taking a cross-zone pass from Bailey Tamminga and beating Anagnostopoulos on the short side to tie the game at 2.

Summerland would then take the lead late in the second period thanks to their captain, Sam Jones. He received a pass up the right wing wall from forward Liam McLaren, and was able to dance two Chiefs defenders before making a perfectly placed shot past a standing Anagnostopoulos to give the Steam a 3-2 lead.

That lead would stay safe through the remainder of the second and most of the third period, and Summerland would have a chance to build on it courtesy of this hit from Chiefs F Brendan Mongey:

Mongey would be assessed a 5-minute major for Head Contact plus the attached game misconduct, as well as a Match Penalty on the play, and resulted in a 5-minute power play for Summerland. The victim of the hit, Steam defenseman Bailey Tamminga, was helped off the ice and down the tunnel where he went through the appropriate testing for a concussion. He was able to return to the game about twelve minutes after the hit, but only played a couple more shifts on the night.

Summerland would get nothing out of their power play, despite having 2 minutes of 5-on-3 during that span, and the Chiefs gained some momentum from the kill. They pushed forward, and finally broke through thanks to the recently returned Aidan Bar-Lev-Wise. He picked up a loose puck in the right wing corner and from an angle we all thought impossible, slipped it into the top corner on the short side above Matt Huber to tie the game at three with 6:12 remaining.

It looked like we were destined for another overtime matchup, as neither team looked very interested in taking chances at goal in the final few minutes. Summerland, however, got the opportunity they needed with just under three minutes remaining. Morey Babakaiff was able to pick off a clearing attempt from Kelowna goaltender Aris Anagnostopoulos on the left wing boards. He had a shot at goal that Anagnostopoulos did a great job to get back in the net for, but the rebound popped straight out front to a waiting Ethan Grover in the high slot. He made no mistake, pounding his fifth of the season into the back of the net to give the Steam their lead back with 2:45 to play.

It was all Summerland needed as they would hang on for the 4-3 victory thanks to a blocked shot by Everett Scherger, who used his face to deflect a puck away at the final buzzer to secure the Summerland victory. The two points saw Summerland to have their lead atop the Okanagan Division climb to nine points. That nine point gap over the second place Osoyoos Coyotes could evaporate very quickly, however, as the Coyotes have built up four games in hand. They’ll use one of those games when they take on the Princeton Posse on Friday night while Summerland is idle.

The Steam will take Friday night off this week and enjoy Summerland’s 30th Annual Festival of Lights. Lights come on at 7, but with all the fun activities and food happening downtown, it will surely be a full night event that will end with fireworks sometime between 8 and 9pm.

The Steam are back in action again Saturday night at home against these same Kelowna Chiefs, and I’d venture to guess that you won’t want to miss it. Joel and I will have full pre-game starting at 7:15pm on ahead of a 7:30pm opening face-off at the Summerland Arena.