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Sunday, 28 September 2014

STEAM ROLL OVER KNIGHTS

On Saturday night the Summerland Steam played host to the North Okanagan Knights for the first time since the 2013/14 KIJHL Playoffs. It was the second meeting of the season between the Knights and the Steam, the first coming this past Wednesday in Armstrong, resulting in a 3-1 Steam victory. That game in Armstrong was a fast paced, entertaining game to watch, but this one was nothing of that sort.

The Steam would get the scoring started early in this one as Easton Bodeaux would wind up from the point and blast a shot past Knights' starter Mitch Profeit on the powerplay just 2:05 into the hockey game. Kendell Wilson would add another a little later in the period, with 3:04 to go, as he exited the penalty box and took a pass from Alex Williams. This sprung Wilson on a breakaway, and he was able to rifle a shot up and over Profeit's blocker into the top corner to extend the Steam's lead to 2.

In the second period it was all Steam once again. Much like the first period, the Steam spent a fair amount of time on the powerplay and even though they were not rewarded with a goal in the first 10 minutes, they carried the bulk of the play and created good scoring opportunities.

After the Steam carried the run of the play for the first half of the second period, North Okanagan finally solved Steam starter Brett Huber on a powerplay, as Layne Greene was able to take a puck that jumped off the back boards and lift it up and into the Steam net to cut the lead to 1.

The Steam would restore their lead, however, as Paulsen Lautard would tally his first of 2 on the night after taking a shot from Calvin Hadley off the end boards and depositing it behind Mitch Profeit.

Lautard would then score his second of the night just a couple of minutes later, while shorthanded, as he took the puck off a Knights' defender and went in all alone on Profeit. Lautard had no problem finding a hole to make it 4-1 Steam, which spelt the end for Mitch Profeit on this night. Brady Lenardon would take over in the Knights' goal for the remainder of the contest.

Once the score was 4-1, and it seemed as though the Summerland Steam were in complete control, the Knights began to take liberties. Sticks to the body came with more velocity and intent, checks were finished whether they were blatantly from behind or not, and there seemed to be a complete disregard for the rules in general.

Heading to the third period the Steam were looking to keep their foot on the gas pedal, and they did so adding 2 more goals from Calvin Hadley and Jack Mills in the third period as the game became more and more ugly and more penalties were being doled out by referee Kevin Crowell.

The Steam did a good job on this night of keeping their heads on a swivel and ensuring that nobody ended up hurt at the end of the contest. They very easily could have been heading to the Kootenays next weekend with several players injured if they had not been paying attention to exactly what was going on on the ice.

A perfect example of 'keeping your head up' came from Jarrett Malchow late in the third period. As he was fighting for the puck with 2 Knights on the right wing boards, Knights' forward Dallas Keller came clear across the ice from the left wing looking to send Malchow through the glass and into the front row from behind. Luckily, Malchow noticed him at the last minute and was able to duck away from most of the hit, sending Keller first into the glass, and then to the shower after the referees decided he was finished for the evening.

In all, it shook out as a 6-1 win for the Summerland Steam, who move to 5-1 on the season. They will now turn their attention to the road as they head to the Kootenays next weekend to play Kimberly on Friday night, Fernie on Saturday night, and Creston Valley on Sunday afternoon. They will return home again 2 week from Sunday on October 12th for a 2pm start vs the Kamloops Storm. The Steam will also play Monday afternoon at 1PM vs the Osoyoos Coyotes!

Friday, 26 September 2014

STEAM KEEP ATTENTION ON KNIGHTS

On Wednesday evening in the first of two battles this week with the North Okanagan Knights, the Summerland Steam arrived at the Nor-Val Arena in Armstrong ready to play. From the opening faceoff onward, it was visibly evident that the Steam had their foot on the gas pedal and would not relent. A win over the Knights was ultimately what the Steam went into Armstrong seeking, but what they got was a whole lot more than just a win. The Steam went into Armstrong with a purpose and took over the game as a 20 man unit, with all 4 lines and 6 defensemen making noteworthy contributions to the cause in a 3-1 victory.

Not only are the Steam getting the results they want on the scoreboard early in this 2014/15 KIJHL Season, but perhaps more importantly they seem to be making themselves extremely hard to play against. This is a trait that some may discount but in the Okanagan Division with the likes of the Kelowna Chiefs, North Okanagan Knights, Princeton Posse, and powerhouse Osoyoos Coyotes opposing them in 32 of 52 games, stiffness and resiliency are perhaps the 2 most important traits a team can develop.

In the first five games of this young KIJHL Season, the boys from Summerland have put up a 4-1 record and looked impressive in all five games. They've used their size and speed to impose their will on their opponents thus far, and all 12 forwards have been successful in creating offense. They've been able to outshoot their opponent in four of five games, the only oddity coming in a 5-0 victory over Kamloops where Brett Huber stopped 43 to put his first 'goose egg' of the season on the board.

Oddly enough, for all the offense that the Steam have created thus far this season, not a single Steam defenseman has recorded a point to date. They have, however, done a great job shutting down their own zone in front of their goaltenders and making sure the puck clears the zone on the first attempt. They'll surely look to do the same when the Knights enter the Summerland Arena for the 2nd of 2 meetings this week on Saturday night. Expect to see Brett Huber back in goal for the Steam after Coach Depourcq gave the veteran a well-deserved night off in favor of Alex Kong on Wednesday evening.

The puck drops this Saturday at 7:30 from the Summerland Arena, and tickets are just $10 at the door or $10 in advance at Nesters Market in downtown Summerland. If you can't make it in person, you can follow along with us on Twitter (@SteamKIJHL) or on KIJHL.ca with myself and Mike Swanson on the webcast with pre-game starting about 7:25!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

STEAM STRIKE YUKON GOLD IN WIN OVER KNIGHTS

The Summerland Steam took to the road on Wednesday night, heading a couple hours up Highway 97 for a playoff rematch with the North Okanagan Knights at the Nor-Val Arena in Armstrong. The last time the Steam were inside the confines of Nor-Val, it was now-graduated Steam forward Sam Nigg who scored on a breakaway in overtime to send a gritty playoff series to a 7th and deciding game. We knew heading into tonight's contest the Steam would not be welcomed warmly to the ice at Nor-Val, but it was up to them to get a good start and make sure the distractions were limited.

From the time the puck dropped at the opening faceoff, the Steam began to pester Knights' starting goaltender Brady Lenardon with shots. The Steam were able to carry the bulk of the play and allow their goaltender, Alex Kong, the ability to get comfortable in his crease in his first KIJHL start. Kong's teammates helped him out in the early going by ensuring the puck stayed away from his goal crease, firing 14 total shots at the Knights' net in the first period while the Knights managed just 8.

The scoring would be started by the Steam in the first, thanks to the 'Yukon Connection' line of Riley Pettitt, Wyatt Gale and Jarrett Malchow, all residents of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. Gale would be the goal scorer after he was able to find a loose puck in front of the North Okanagan net and bury it behind Knights' goaltender Brady Lenardon. Assists would go to Pettitt and Malchow, and the Steam took an early 1-0 lead.

Thomas Pattison would erase the Steam lead just over a minute later, however, after he deflected a long shot from Austin Garrington past Alex Kong to tie the game at 1. The period would end shortly after the two goals were scored, with the Steam leading 14-8 on the shot clock.

The second period would start much like the first one did, with the Steam jumping all over the Knights off the opening faceoff and immediately widening the gap in the shot department. There was only one goal to report in the second, that being Jack Mills' 3rd of the season, assisted by Braden Eliuk on the Steam's 10th shot of the 2nd period with 2:21 to go.

The line of Pettitt, Malchow, and Gale would connect again in the third period, as Pettitt would collect his 1st of the season with Malchow and Gale collecting assists on the insurance marker. The trio from the Yukon would be the Steam's best on the night, as they were buzzing around the puck and causing havoc inside the North Okanagan zone all night long. They were also strong in their defensive zone, making sure their checks were covered and their zone exits were clean.

The Steam coaching staff expected a lot out of the three young men from Whitehorse when they were signed in late July, and it looks as though they are just finding their stride as a line just 5 games into this young season. The trio has combined for 10 points in the first 5 games of the season and will be a big part of a multi-pronged attack for the Summerland Steam as the season progresses.

The final line in tonight's game winds up as a 3-1 win for the Summerland Steam and Alex Kong, who picks up his first KIJHL win on a light workload, stopping 13 of 14 shots he faced in the game. Tonight reminded me of the home opener the Steam played against the Kelowna Chiefs nearly two weeks ago, in the fact that it was all Steam all the time. Shots ended up 34-14 on the night, and Summerland did a great job of controlling runs of play for minutes at a time and not affording the Knights any significant opportunity to manufacture offense.

After the win tonight the Steam move to 4-1 on the season, and look forward to hosting these same North Okanagan Knights in their next home game, Saturday Night at the Summerland Arena. Puck drops at 7:30 and you can pick up your tickets at the door on game day or from our friends at Nesters Market all week leading up to Saturday night. Join myself and 98.5 EzRock Summerland's Mike Swanson for the call at KIJHL.ca just prior to a 7:30 puck drop!


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

STEAM HEAD UP THE ROAD FOR PLAYOFF REMATCH

At the end of the 2013/14 KIJHL playoffs, I stood in the press box in disbelief because I couldn't believe what had just happened. I looked around and realized I wasn't alone in this, as all the Steam staff and players were doing the same thing as we watched the North Okanagan Knights celebrated a bizarre Game 7 win inside the Summerland Arena.

It may be a new season and some of the names on the back of Steam sweaters may be a little different, but the sour taste still remains in the mouths of those Summerland Steam players back for another season. The taste in those guys' mouths stems from that gut-wrenching Game 7 loss in March that saw a one-goal lead turn into a two-goal defeat in the final minutes. First it was adulation as Paulsen Lautard gave the Steam the lead on the powerplay with 8:13 remaining in the 3rd period of Game 7. Then, in what was an astonishing turn of events, it all came crashing down.

It looked as though Lautard's powerplay goal was about to write a story book ending to a series in which the Steam stormed back from a 3-1 series deficit and a 2 goal deficit in Game 7. When the Steam went back to the powerplay immediately after the goal, however, they were unable to get it together in the offensive zone. So much so that North Okanagan's Brett Hawrys was able to take advantage of a defensive miscue in the Steam zone and tie the game while his team was shorthanded. The Hawrys goal was followed a few minutes later by a goal from Morgan Johnston on another defensive lapse, which turned out to be the dagger. Johnston was then able to add another into an empty net to send the Steam packing in the first round of the KIJHL Playoffs.

These are the types of losses that stick with you as a player, and with a handful of players from each team returning for another season, there will surely be no love lost when the two face-off in Armstrong on Wednesday night for the first time this season.



PREVIEW

The Knights come into Wednesday's contest with the Summerland Steam boasting a 1-2-0-1 record and a whole bunch of new faces in their lineup. They will return 7 players from their 2013/14 team, and will add 4 more that played in games as Affiliate Players last season. The Steam can expect that they won't be welcomed warmly to the ice at Nor-Val on Wednesday, as the Knights' have some of the loudest and best fans in the league and in their home rink it seems they sit directly over top of the ice surface, making for a very loud atmosphere inside the building. 

The Steam are going to have to block out the distractions early and try to capitalize on some chances in the first few minutes of the hockey game. North Okanagan comes into Wednesday's matchup with a league worst -12 differential between Goals For and Goals against, largely in part to a disastrous 11-0 loss to the high-powered Osoyoos Coyotes on the opening night of the KIJHL Season. 

The Steam come into the mid-week tilt on the opposite end of the spectrum, boasting a 3-1 record and one of the best goal differentials in the KIJHL at plus 12. They'll surely be looking for a little revenge from that Game 7 loss back in March, and it will all start with their offense. The guys up front have been largely successful in the first 2 weeks of the season, particularly veteran Paulsen Lautard and former North Okanagan AP Cole Woodliffe, who each have recorded 6 points in the first 4 games of this young season. To go along with their offensive outburst in the first 4 games of the season, the Steam have also been strong defensively, especially in goal with Brett Huber between the pipes. 

Huber had the best numbers in the Okanagan Division last season posting a 21-11-0-1 record while maintaining a 2.70 GAA and a .914 SV% in 36 appearances, and he's continued to post eye popping numbers through the beginning of this season. He's played all 4 games for the Steam so far, posting a 3-1 record with a 1.26 GAA and a .955 SV% early on. He'll be a big key for the Steam heading into hostile territory in Armstrong on Wednesday night. 





The puck drops at 7PM at the Nor-Val Center in Armstrong. You can catch all the action at www.kijhl.ca on the webcast starting just prior to puck drop. The same two teams will go head to head again on Saturday at The Station in Summerland. 




Sunday, 21 September 2014

STEAM FINISH WEEKEND WITH WIN OVER FERNIE

On Sunday afternoon the Summerland Steam hosted the Fernie Ghostriders for the only time this season at the Summerland Arena. It was an entertaining hockey game that saw the Steam carry the pressure through the period and pelt Jeff Orser with 13 shots through the first 20 minutes. Orser was sharp early, making several saves on Steam forwards to keep the score even at 0 through the first 13 minutes of the hockey game. The Steam were finally able to break the goose egg with 7:27 to go in the period as Coleton Fisher found a loose puck out of a scrum and lifted it over a sprawling Jeff Orser to give the Steam  1-0 lead after a period. 

 The Steam then experienced a pushback from the Riders in the second period, as the Riders forced the Steam back on their heels and turned the tides on the shot clock early in the period. Brett Huber did a great job in the Summerland net, making sure that his team didn't fall behind while they found their legs coming out of the locker room. 

As the play went back and forth near the middle mark of the period, Summerland's Adam Jones took exception to a stick up high from Fernie's Travis Thomsen, and both were sent for an early shower after they shed the mitts and took a few swings. 

The Riders were finally able to get on the board on the power play after Braden Eliuk was sent to sit for a high-sticking infraction in the offensive zone. Justin Peers was able to find some open space off the ring wing boards, swing out into the top of the circle, and absolutely RIP one over the right shoulder of Brett Huber to even the score at one. 

The tie would only last a couple of minutes, as it was Braden Saretsky who streaked down the right wing and made a nifty toe-drag around a defender before rifling a shot over the glove of Jeff Orser to restore the Steam's lead with :44 seconds to go in the 2nd frame. Saretsky's goal was a shorthanded marker, coming shortly after the equalizer from Peers. 

With the Steam leading 2-1 to start the third, the Riders turned up the heat trying to force a tie. The play continued to roll up and down the ice without any scoring to speak of. As the clock wound down the Riders continued to pressure the Steam, but Brett Huber stood tall and kept the score safe at 2-1. Wyatt Gale then chimed in with his first KIJHL goal in his first KIJHL game, lifting a shot from the bottom of the circle up and over the shoulder of the Fernie goaltender to extend the Steam's lead to 3-1 with 1:33 to go. 

The final goal from the Steam would round out the scoring on this afternoon, and the Steam improve to 3-1 on the season. They will now look forward to a home and home with the North Okanagan Knights Wednesday in Armstrong, and back home in Summerland on Saturday night. 

Saturday, 20 September 2014

STEAM RUN INTO STEAD-Y GOALTENDING IN 100 MILE HOUSE

On Friday night the Summerland Steam took to the road to play the 100 Mile House Wranglers at the South Cariboo Rec Center in 100 Mile House. On a night the Wranglers hosted Cliff Ronning and the crew from BASE Hockey as well as held their home opener, the Steam came to play. The Wranglers were able to catch the Steam flat footed off the opening draw, however, as Devan Suidy (newly acquired from the Princeton Posse) was able to slip one by Steam goaltender Brett Huber before the game was 15 seconds old. After the opening goal though, the ice began to tilt in the direction of the net occupied by Wranglers' goaltender Kristian Stead. 

The Steam began to fire anything and everything at the net while controlling the play for several minutes at a time, but Stead stood tall. Jack Mills was finally able to put one past the Wranglers' keeper with 6:49 remaining in the first period to tie the game at 1. The Steam carried control of the play both before and after the goal, but could muster only the lone tally while outshooting the Wranglers 12-5.

In the 2nd period we saw much of the same, with the play circling the Wranglers defensive zone continually. The Steam continued to pepper Stead with shots but were denied every opportunity. Finally, at the 12:49 mark of the 2nd, it was the Wranglers who were able to capitalize on an opportunity against the run of play. Suidy would find a loose puck out in front of Steam tender Brett Huber and contribute his 2nd of the night to give the Wranglers a 2-1 lead.

Suidy's 2nd of the night would prove to be the game winner, as the Wranglers and Kristian Stead were able to hold off the Summerland Steam attack in the final 30 minutes, with the shot clock reading 36-15 in favor of the Steam at the final buzzer. 





The Steam will now put their first loss of the season in the rear view and look forward to an afternoon matinee at home tomorrow, 2PM vs the Fernie Ghostriders. Fernie is coming off a 7-1 pounding of the Kelowna Chiefs on Friday night which saw 7 different players score and 11 players record points while goaltender Jeff Orser stopped 33 of 34 Chiefs shots. 

It should be a great tilt, and if you can't make it out the Summerland Arena you can join myself and EzRock Summerland's Mike Swanson over at www.kijhl.ca just prior to 2PM! 

Monday, 15 September 2014

STEAM TAKE BOTH ON OPENING WEEKEND, LOOK AHEAD TO 100 MILE

In an extremely tough division, it is imperative to be able to gather points early in the season while teams are still sorting out kinks and finalizing rosters. The Summerland Steam took advantage of that on opening weekend as they brought the offense to the table, cruising past the Kelowna Chiefs in their home opener on Friday night in Summerland by a score of 6-2. The Steam followed up by heading to Kamloops and ruining the Opening Night festivities of the 2013/14 KIJHL Regular Season Champion Kamloops Storm, defeating the defending champs by a score of 5-0. Brett Huber was solid on both nights on opening weekend, picking up both wins including a 43 save shutout vs Kamloops on Saturday.

Elsewhere around the Okanagan Division, all three other teams besides the Steam and the Coyotes (Kelowna, Princeton, North Okanagan) split their games on the weekend, each recording a 1-1 record.

The Steam's young guns impressed on the weekend, with Cole Woodliffe, Cody Egilson, Jack Mills and Riley Pettitt all recording their first KIJHL points. They were supplemented by veterans like Braden Saretsky and Paulsen Lautard, who accounted for 5 goals and 8 points in the first 2 games of this young KIJHL Season, and Brett Huber who stood tall in goal for the red, black and white.

The Steam were not the only ones to have an offensive outburst on opening weekend, however, as the Osoyoos Coyotes flexed their offensive muscles in their 2 games beating North Okanagan and Chase by scores of 11-0 and 7-2 respectively. The Steam and Coyotes won't meet each other until they play an afternoon game on Thanksgiving Day, October 13th at 1PM. Until then they will watch each other closely, as they will assuredly be within a few points of one another in the Okanagan Division standings.

Before any more divisional games, however, the Steam have to look forward to a road trip to 100 Mile House next weekend to play the Wranglers. The Wranglers went 2-1 on opening weekend, defeating the Grand Forks Border Bruins by a score of 4-2 on Friday night before beating the Keystone Cup Champion Beaver Valley Nitehawks 4-3 on Saturday. With a 2-0 record the Wranglers moved across the 49th parallel on Sunday to play the Spokane Braves and found defeat for the first time, as the Braves took a 4-1 decision in their home opener.

The Steam will be visiting the South Cariboo Rec Centre for the 2nd time in the history of the franchise, recording a 3-2 OT loss last season. They will also be the opponent in the Wranglers 2014/15 Home Opener and the home debut of new Head Coach & GM Dale Hladun. Hladun has spent time in Princeton and Fernie in his KIJHL career, and in my experience watching his teams they will surely be fast, physical, and make life very difficult in all 4 corners for the Summerland Steam on Friday night.

With a mix of returning players as well as new additions and rookies, the Wranglers will ice a strong lineup this season and look for an improvement on their 3rd Place Finish in 2013/14. Goaltending is key for any team in the KIJHL, and the Wranglers have 2 returning goaltenders in Kristian Stead and Magnus Viberg who will occupy the space between the red pipes this season.

That game takes place Friday night at the South Cariboo Rec Center, with the Steam returning home Sunday, September 21 to face the Fernie Ghostriders for a 2PM puck drop!


Friday, 12 September 2014

STEAM ROLL OVER CHIEFS ON OPENING NIGHT

On Friday night inside the Summerland Arena, the Summerland Steam opened their 2014/15 KIJHL season with a bang. Right from the opening faceoff the play was controlled by the home team and the Steam spent the better part of the first five minutes circling the Chiefs zone. All the pressure in the offensive zone ended up biting the Steam, however, as Kelowna would open the scoring when Ethan Rusnack was handed the puck by a Steam defender between the circles and beat Brett Huber with a nifty deke to the blocker side.

Just a few minutes later, Summerland was the benefactor of an early powerplay and tied the game on a beautiful wrist shot courtesy of Braden Saretsky. The Steam would add to their lead in the final minute of the first period when Kendell Wilson drove the net hard, drawing two Chiefs to him as the puck came out front. He was able to bang it home behind Chiefs' goaltender Chris Turner through a maze of bodies to give his team the lead heading to the second period.

The first period was marred by penalties, as both teams took their share, including a Kelowna 5 on 3 to start the second period after the Steam took back to back delay of game penalties for shooting the puck over the glass in the defensive zone.

After a quick kill to start the second, the Steam got another goal, as Saretsky chipped in yet again for his 2nd goal and 3rd point of the game. Cole Woodliffe would then add another in quick succession to give the Steam a 4-1 lead in the middle of the second period.

The Chiefs would then cut the lead to 2 after Kelsey Byrne made good on a slap shot from 50 + feet as referee Jeremy Siltzer blew the whistle as he took the shot. The goal stood after some deliberation, and the second period ended with the Steam leading by a score of 4-2.

To start the third, the Steam came out rolling. Paulsen Lautard would chime in with his first of the season on the Steam's first shot of the final frame, beating goaltender Chris Turner high to the short side. It was a wicked shot that Lautard had no business making from the angle he was at, but found a way to get it up over Turner and into the back of the Kelowna net.

As the third went back and forth, things began to get tense as they usually do between the two teams. It felt like a mid-season tilt after the teams had seen each other a couple of times, even though it was the first game of this extremely young KIJHL season.

After a few penalties back and forth, Jack Mills would add to the Steam lead and score the final goal of the game to make it 6-2. Mills showed the skill that brought him to the Steam and got into an area to make a clean shot, beating Turner high and to the glove side from a sharp angle.

This rounded out the scoring for the night, with the final shots on goal coming in at 31 for Summerland and 25 for Kelowna.

3 stars:

3) Ethan Rusnack, Kelowna Chiefs (1G)
2) Paulsen Lautard, Summerland Steam (1G, 2A)
1) Braden Saretsky (2G, 1A)

The Steam will hit the road to play in Kamloops tomorrow night, before being on the road next weekend as well. We will re-convene inside the Summerland Arena on September 21 vs the Fernie Ghostriders.

STEAM CLASH WITH CHIEFS AS 2014/15 KIJHL SEASON GETS UNDERWAY

With the start of the KIJHL season on the horizon, what better way is there to start than with a matchup of two divisional opponents who REALLY don't care for one another. That's what we're all going to see on Friday night when the Summerland Steam open the 2014/15 KIJHL Season against the division rival Kelowna Chiefs. The puck drops inside the Summerland Arena at 7:30 and anyone registered with Summerland Minor Hockey Association gets free admission when wearing their minor hockey jersey and being accompanied by an adult!

The Steam and the Chiefs finished 1 & 2 respectively in the Okanagan Division last season and went head to head for the division title on the last weekend of the season in Rutland. The two teams played each other as hard as any two teams all season long, and it ended with the Steam pulling out a 3-1 win thanks to a game winner from Braden Saretsky in the final 10 minutes of play. 

Looking back to last season and the 8 meetings between these two teams, one look at the box scores will tell you all you need to know about what you can expect when the Steam and the Chiefs clash: 

1) PIM will tell you before the teams step on the ice that they REALLY don't like each other.

2) You're going to get a close, entertaining hockey game.

All but 2 of the 8 meetings during the 2013/14 campaign were decided by just a single goal, with the two anomalies being the final two meetings of the season. Those two games ended in favour of the guys from Summerland, by scores of 6-2 on February 14 and 3-1 in the division clincher on February 21. 

There will be plenty of carry over from the rivalry last season as the Chiefs have 8 players returning from last year's team to nearly match the Steam's 9 returnees. Both teams will boast a mixture of veteran leadership and youthful exuberance, and it will be up to each team's veteran players to pave the way if their team wants to be successful this season. 

Returning for the Chiefs are the likes of Brady Mende, Braeden Cyra, Chase Astorino, Nicholas Gnazdowsky, Anthony Ruggiero, Dylan Jamieson, Cole De Jonge, and Kevin Roth. They'll be flanked by highly touted rookie Jeran Knorr, a Kelowna Minor Hockey product, as well as KI veterans Ethan Rusnack, Josh Baird, and goaltender Chris Turner. 

Turner will partner up with Josh Shank to form the goaltending tandem for the Chiefs this season after spending last season with the Sicamous Eagles. In 21 appearances, Turner posted a 5-15 record while putting up a 3.28 GAA and a .916 SV% in an environment where he saw A LOT of shots. He will likely carry the bulk of the load for the Chiefs at least in the early going. He is expected to start the opener on Friday night in net for Kelowna, while Brett Huber is expected to go for the Steam.


As far as the Steam are concerned they have 9 players slated to return to don the red, black and white for another season. These 9 players were all part of the Okanagan Division Championship run last season and are highlighted by last season's co-leader in goals, Paulsen Lautard, the goaltender who had the best numbers in the division in Brett Huber, and locals Rylan Sideroff, Nelson Hurry, and Kendell Wilson.

General Manager Gregg Wilson and Director of Scouting Mike Rigby, along with the coaching staff, have put together an exciting group of young talent coming into 2014/15 that should keep fans on the edge of their seat and excited about the brand of hockey the Steam bring to the rink each and every night. The Steam will be shorthanded right from the get go tonight, as newcomers Riley Pettitt and Wyatt Gale will both sit due to suspensions carrying over from last season and exhibition season.





The puck drops on the new KIJHL season TONIGHT, Friday, September 12th at 7:30 at the Summerland Arena. Tickets are just $10 at the door, and kids wearing their minor hockey jerseys receive a free ticket when accompanied by a paying adult. As always you can follow along with us on Twitter at @SteamKIJHL and myself @Steam_Voice for all the latest news and roster updates as we inch closer to game time! 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

WITH EXHIBITION IN THE REAR VIEW, STEAM OPEN DEFENSE OF OK DIVISION TITLE

As we approach the beginning of the 2014/15 KIJHL season, I can't help but look at the KIJHL as a league with a sense of pride. It is filled with quality players and quality people, and that shows by just how many players, coaches and personnel graduate into the BCHL, AJHL, and even into the college ranks for teams in divisions as high as NCAA Division II.

When I stepped into the broadcast booth for the Summerland Steam last season, I had no idea what I was in for. As a matter of fact, I walked into the arena for the home opener as a paying fan looking for an entertaining brand of hockey. Little did I know I'd step into the broadcast booth when the team needed some help and fall in love with the game of hockey and the people involved in a whole different way.

 Entertaining was the brand of hockey everybody got from the 2013/14 group that made up the Summerland Steam, and it resulted in a worst-to-first Okanagan Division Championship that was won against the rival Kelowna Chiefs on the final weekend of the 2013/14 regular season. It was the result of an improbable run that included the Steam collecting at least a point in 31 of their final 36 regular season games before bowing out to the North Okanagan Knights in a thrilling 7 game series that was one in the final 2 minutes of Game #7. 

Now at the start of my first full season as the Director of Media & Marketing for the Steam, I see a new group of individuals who are already beginning to come together as a team. With an immediate rematch on tap with the Kelowna Chiefs in the home opener, the 2014/15 group of 'Steammates' have large boots to fill to try and repeat as division champs.

In three preseason games against divisional opponents from Princeton and Osoyoos, the Steam went 1-1-1 while showing strong team dynamics and a mix of speed and strength in both ends of the ice. The exhibition season was highlighted by 4 goals in 3 games from Cole Woodliffe, solid defensive & physical play from rookie Cole Williams, and steady goaltending from both Brett Huber and newcomer Alex Kong, among other things. Ryley Pettitt and Jarrett Malchow both impressed during preseason play as well, adding a couple of goals a piece in 3 preseason contests. 

The team will be helped this season by returning 9 of those players from the 2013/14 Okanagan Division Championship team, including goaltender Brett Huber and local products Kendell Wilson, Rylan Sideroff, and Nelson Hurry. Also joining the team full time after being an Affiliate Player last season is Summerland native Cody Egilson.

The Steam will boast a bevy of local talent from Penticton, Summerland, West Kelowna, Kelowna, and Vernon this season as well as players like Riley Pettitt, Jarrett Malchow and Wyatt Gale from the Yukon Territory, Coleton Fisher from Calgary, AB, and Alex Kong from Burnaby, BC.

The 2014/15 Steam will be merchants of speed this season, boasting a combination of speed and skill that if used correctly will be difficult to manage for opponents all season long. They will open defense of their 2013/14 KIJHL Okanagan Division Championship this Friday night at the Summerland Arena vs the Kelowna Chiefs. The puck drops at 7:30 and the game is presented by Nesters Market!