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Thursday, 30 October 2014

POSSE RIDE INTO THE STATION

Just shy of 2 months into the 2014/15 KIJHL season, the Summerland Steam will get a first look at the division rival Princeton Posse on Friday night. The Posse are the only divisional opponent the Steam have yet to face early in this season, even though the two teams did play one preseason game to get acquainted. In that exhibition game it was the Steam coming out on top with a 4-3 win, and they'll look for the same result in their first meeting of the regular season on Friday night.

Summerland comes in having lost on Wednesday night in Osoyoos by a score of 5-4 in a tightly contested and very fast paced hockey game. The Steam did a good job containing the Coyotes on Wednesday night, although it took a few minutes of brilliance from goaltender Brett Huber to allow the Steam to get their legs underneath them and have the score remain 0-0.

On Friday night they'll look for a bit of a faster start on home ice as they face off against a Princeton Posse team who boasts a better record than the Steam and a veteran KIJHL presence to their lineup. From last season the Posse have 11 returning members of their 2013/14 team as well as two players who played in the KIJHL last year in Connor Sloan (100 Mile House) and Bradly Palumbo (Columbia Valley). The biggest changes for the Posse come in the goal crease with 2 new goaltenders in Stephen Heslop and Bailey Stephens. Stephens is a graduate of the Okanagan Hockey Academy while Heslop has seen stops in the BCHL with Victoria and Cowichan before settling in with the Peninsula Panthers in the VIJHL in 2013/14.

So far this season the Posse have compiled a 9-4-1-2 record and are 7-2-0-1 in their last 10, propelling the team from the Similkameen to 2nd place in the Okanagan Division. By the numbers, the Posse score at a pace similar to the teams in the middle of the KIJHL based on 'Goals For' per game. Princeton averages 3.63 goals per game on offense, while giving up an average of 3.38 goals against, which is also in the middle of the pack.

Comparing the Steam and the Posse, the numbers of the two teams are very similar. Both teams have 9 wins, both are good on special teams, and both can score goals with some of the best in the league. Some of the big differences are in goal differential (Summerland +14, Princeton +4) and in Goals Against Average as the Steam carry a 2.67 team GAA coming into Friday's contest in comparison to Princeton's 3.38 team GAA.

From what's been observed in the first 2 months of the season, the Posse will have no problem dumping the puck in deep and going to work, making life difficult for the Steam defense. Princeton, as they do every single season, has assembled a hockey team that is equipped to play any style of game that arises throughout the course of the season. They can beat you with skill when they have a chance but they can also take the body and beat teams along the boards and cause serious problems for teams in their own end of the ice.

Having said that, it's another difference between this Princeton team and the 2014/15 Summerland Steam. Summerland can play the physical game all night long when needed, but they'd much rather beat teams with speed and skill, pound shots at the net and score off the rush. In order to do that against a physical hockey team, it'll be important for the Steam to capitalize on their zone exits from their defensive zone. They will need to clear on the first opportunity when it arises and ensure they don't have the puck going the wrong direction as they break up ice.

Regardless of the differences in style of play, Friday night's game should be an entertaining one at the Summerland Arena, and on Halloween night we hope you're planning to join us! We've got plenty of things in store including Family Packs of tickets for just $20, giveaways from Game Night Sponsor Nesters Market, a 2 night stay giveaway from the Best Western Inn at Penticton and some deals and prizes to be had at the Spud Bros. Concession! Puck drop is 7:30 but you catch myself and Mike Swanson on the KIJHL webcast from www.kijhl.ca around 7:15!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

STEAM GET NIPPED BY COYOTES

On Wednesday night the Summerland Steam headed to Osoyoos looking for a little revenge. In the last meeting with the Coyotes, October 13th in Summerland, the Steam put the Coyotes on the powerplay early and often and allowed them to walk out of the Summerland Arena with a convincing 6-2 win thanks to 3 powerplay goals in the 1st period.

The game that took place tonight inside the Sun Bowl was much different from that thrashing on October the 13th. Summerland did a much better job of staying away from the penalty box and dictated play for the latter half of the contest, but still came up short on the scoreboard by a score of 5-4.

GAME RECAP


The Coyotes showed why they are the best team in the KIJHL on this night, as they controlled the puck and spent spells of the first swarming the net of Steam starter Brett Huber. Huber did a good job all night, and particularly early in the 1st period, of keeping his team in the game while they found their legs. The Steam goaltender stopped 14 of the 15 shots that he faced in the first frame, save for a good shot from the 'Yotes Ryan Roseboom which gave the home team a 1-0 lead after 1.

In the second period the Steam came out flying, and scored 2 goals in the first 2 minutes of the period. First it was Cole Woodliffe who found himself on a breakaway and beat the Coyotes' Lawrence Langan to knot the game at 1 just :17 in to the second period. Then it was Lathan McKinney getting in on the action with a rocket of a wrist shot from the right wing that got up and over Langan's left shoulder on the short side to give them Steam their one and only lead of the hockey game at the 17:21 mark of the 2nd period

The lead would last just 3 minutes, however, as Luc Gradisar took a pass on a 2-on-1 from Rainer Glimpel and made a nifty move from forehand to backhand and back again to beat Huber and tie the game back up at 2. The goal was followed closely by another for the Coyotes, as Aaron Azevedo was able to tip a shot through Brett Huber to give the Osoyoos the lead back with 13:48 to go in the 2nd frame.

Once the Coyotes took the lead back, the Steam pushed the pace of play and spent the remainder of the frame circling Lawrence Langan in the Osoyoos crease. With all their hardwork bound to pay off, the captain took things into his own hands. With just over 5 minutes to play in the 2nd period, Paulsen Lautard took a pass through the middle from Wyatt Gale and bullied his way through 3 Coyotes to find himself on a breakaway. Once through, he made a nice move on Langan to open him up and slide the puck through to tie the game at 3.

At the end of the second period we were shaping up for a heck of a third period. The game was tied and the Steam had the momentum going there way after firing nearly 30 shots on net through the first 2 periods. The game would remain tightly contested (and tied) through the first half of the period, but Luc Gradisar broke the tie with his 2nd of the night with a hard wrister from the slot near the halfway point of the period. The 2nd Gradisar goal was followed closely by a goal from Colin Bell, also from the slot, that extended the 'Yotes lead to 5-3.

The Steam would add one off the stick of Cole Woodliffe late in the 3rd as they put on the pressure in the final minutes, but it wouldn't be enough to catch the high-powered Coyotes before the final buzzer.

TIDBITS

- In this game there were several bright spots for the Steam despite the end result. It looks as though Lathan McKinney and Michael McEachern have turned into bona-fide top 4 defenseman for the club moving forward, which is something sorely needed for a team that will be without the services of veteran Calvin Hadley for 3 more games due to suspension.

- With some injuries up front it gave the likes of Wyatt Gale, Cody Egilson, and Jarrett Malchow some extra minutes against the top team in the league, and all were noticeable and making positive contributions to the cause despite the end result. It looks as though the Steam will be without the services of Forwards Riley Pettitt and Kendell Wilson for extended periods of time (2-4 weeks minimum for both) heading towards Christmas so there will be minutes up for grabs for guys who step up, and it looks like these three will be the guys that Coach John Depourcq turns to to get the job done.



The Steam won't have long to dwell on the loss to the Division leading Coyotes, as they will host the 2nd place Princeton Posse on Friday night, October 31st, at 7:30 before playing host to the Revelstoke Grizzlies at 2PM on Sunday, November 2nd. Come out and check out both games this weekend as we will be hosting Halloween festivities on Friday night with prizes to be won and candy to be devoured! Family packs are just $20 (2 Adults and up to 4 Kids under 12)!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

STEAM ROLL INTO COYOTES' DEN

After a 6-2 drubbing at the hands of the Osoyoos Coyotes on October 13th, the Summerland Steam will travel to Osoyoos for a rematch on Wednesday night. In the games between then and now the Steam have looked solid and picked up a few wins, but they know that facing the league leading Coyotes is no easy task.

The last time the two teams met it was Jackson Dematos and Rainer Glimpel doing the majority of the damage in that 6-2 victory. Dematos was returning from a 7 game hiatus due to a lower body injury and recorded a hat trick, while Glimpel recorded 5 points and was +5. If the Steam would like a different result than the last game between the two teams, they're going to have to stay out of the penalty box.

In the October 13th matchup between the Steam and the 'Yotes, Summerland had trouble staying out of the penalty box early and often, and allowed Osoyoos to take a 4-0 lead into the 1st intermission. From the start of the 2nd onward the game was played fairly evenly, with teams scoring two goals each and the game ending in a 6-2 score. If the Steam can stay out of the box, they won't have a problem playing with the Coyotes, but if they get into penalty trouble, Osoyoos will surely make them pay for it.

Expect the pair of #1 goaltenders to go in this game as Steam Head Coach John Depourcq will go with Brett Huber (6-5, 2.60 GAA / .960 SV%), while  Lawrence Langan (10-2, 2.68 GAA / .908 SV%) will likely get the call for the Coyotes from Head Coach/GM Ken Law.

The Steam will be without a few key pieces in their lineup as Kendell Wilson remains sidelined with a lower body injury, Riley Pettitt will sit out with an upper body injury for the next 4-6 weeks, and Calvin Hadley will sit game 2 of a 6 game suspension. The team will have to rally around not having these three individuals in the lineup, and the contributions are going to have to come from elsewhere both in their defensive end and on offense.

Summerland will get a boost to their lineup as Cole Woodliffe is expected to return from a weekend spell on loan to the West Kelowna Warriors, where he collected a goal and an assist in 2 games. Along with Woodliffe, Rylan Sideroff will return to the Steam lineup and provide a veteran presence for Summerland that is needed against a powerhouse like Osoyoos. Sideroff makes his return from a 3 game suspension incurred in that Oct 13 game vs the Coyotes when he put a high hit on Troy Maclise. That hit saw him land a major penalty for a hit to the head and a game misconduct in the final 10 minutes of the hockey game, sparking the 3 game suspension.


Game time is 7:35 from the Sun Bowl Arena in Osoyoos, and you can catch all the action on the webcast at www.kijhl.ca. The Steam will return home for a Halloween matchup THIS FRIDAY, October 31st vs the Princeton Posse.

Family packs of tickets (2 Adults and up to 4 kids) are just $20 and Nesters Market is the Game Night Sponsor. After you're done trick-or-treating with the kids, bring them down to the rink to get some more candy and watch some great hockey for a great price! Spud Bros. Concession will have great deals and some stuff to giveaway and there will be a 2 night staycation package from the Best Western Inn at Penticton given to the couple with the best costumes as well as ticket giveaways for best kids' costume AND best adult costume! Come down to the rink and check it out as the Posse make their first trip to the Station this year! 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

STEAM USE POWERPLAY TO DOWN CHIEFS

Coming into Friday nights game between the Summerland Steam and the Kelowna Chiefs at the Summerland Arena, we saw two teams on different trajectories. Kelowna was trying to get themselves back together after losing their previous 5 while Summerland wanted to keep the trolley on the rails after getting back to their winning ways in the Kootenays last weekend. In these divisional games with how little these teams care for each other it often comes down to discipline, and on this night the Special Teams battle would determine the outcome of the contest.

The festivities got started even before the opening puck drop on this Friday night, as at the end of warmup a pane of glass in behind the Kelowna net burst all over the ice after being hit with a shot. The delay got us off to a late start, not dropping the puck until near 7:45 local time. From that opening puck drop, the Summerland Steam knew they were going to be up against it with a tough opponent in their building. They were without 4 regulars to start the game and dressed just 15 skaters in what turned out to be a 5-2 victory.

GAME RECAP

Once we finally got the puck dropped on this hockey game after a delay to fix the glass, the pace was immediately turned up to 10 as both teams came out flying. In the first 5 minutes of the hockey game the teams combined for 8 shots and 7 hits while keeping the pace of play at a high level. After the opening five minutes, the Steam took over the first period and spent the majority of the rest of the period in the offensive zone. They didn't make starting goaltender Brett Huber work too hard in the first as he ended up facing only 6 shots. Josh Shank in the Kelowna net, on the other hand, faced 13 and was under siege for much of the period. He made several key saves in the early part of the 1st, but was finally beaten by the line of Jack Mills, Braden Saretsky and Braden Eliuk with 5:59 to play in the frame. After some good work in the offensive zone it was Jack Mills who circled out of the corner and found Braden Saretsky out front. Instead of shooting from a great shooting position, Saretsky slid it over to Eliuk at the side of a yawning cage who tucked it in for his first KIJHL goal to give the Steam a 1-0 lead.  

They would extend the lead to two just before the end of the period, as a Cole Williams shot found a seam on the powerplay and went up and over the outstretched glove of Josh Shank to make it 2-0 and donate another $10 to KidSportBC thanks to Subway Restuarants of BC.

With Summerland up 2-0 heading to the second, it was all Kelowna early on in the period. Nicholas Gnazdowsky and Jonathan Lee both had good chances early in the period but were thwarted by Huber, who was sharp despite the light first period work load. As things moved along in the 2nd period there were no goals to speak of, but lots of back and forth action. With 8:46 to play in the period the Steam were given a 5 minute powerplay as Austin Braid was given the gate and an early shower after he ran Brett Huber straight through the back of the net while the puck was in the corner. He and Huber both ended up inside the net as the net rested against the end boards, but both seemed uninjured as the crowd cleared and Braid was sent off.

Unfortunately the Steam couldn't get much going on the extended man advantage, and what they did have going for them was snuffed out by three five-alarm saves from Josh Shank in the Kelowna net. There was one particular instance where a puck went on net from the Steam defense and tipped by Riley Pettitt, but Shank shot out his left pad to stop the attempt. Pettitt then picked up his own rebound at the side and tried to lift it over the outstretched Shank, but out of nowhere came the glove hand of the Kelowna netminder to make a wonderful windmill glove save. 

As good as Shank was in the 2nd period for Kelowna, Summerland was able to solve him near the end of the period. Paulsen Lautard took a pass from Lathan McKinney in his own zone and sped up the right wing where he found a spot on the short side and beat Shank to give the Steam a 3-0 lead after 2 periods. 

The third period started much like the 2nd, with Kelowna controlling runs of play for minutes at a time and Brett Huber standing tall in the Steam crease. Huber was good in this game, but was beaten twice from the slot in the third period. Kelowna's first goal came at the 16:43 mark of the third off the stick of Braeden Cyra, who was left open in the slot as Steam defenders ran around their own zone. Then, just over 8 minutes later it was Kelowna's Josh Baird who beat Huber with a sweet shot from about 35 feet through a screen to cut the Steam lead to 3-2. 

It looked as though the Chiefs were going to make their comeback complete until a bad bounce ended their bid with 4:43 to go in the 3rd. Nelson Hurry, who hadn't scored a goal in nearly two full seasons, dumped a puck hard into the Kelowna zone. It bounced off the back boards, off the back of goaltender Josh Shank's left leg, and crawled its way into the net to restore a 2 goal lead for the Steam.

Clearly frustrated that the comeback bid was going to fall short, Kelowna's Braeden Cyra took a cheap shot at Summerland's Braden Eliuk, cutting across in front of Eliuk and getting his elbow up under his chin. For his trouble he was assessed a 2 minute minor and a 10 minute misconduct for Head Contact by referee Devin Samaddar, and Summerland didn't waste any time with their powerplay. Just 7 seconds into it, Alex Williams was able to tip a shot from Paulsen Lautard to give the home team a 5-2 lead and round out the scoring for the night.

Paulsen Lautard recorded a goal and 2 assists on the night to put himself in a tie for the league scoring lead while Braden Eliuk and Braden Saretsky recorded 2 points each for the Steam in the win. 


On this particular night Summerland started with a short bench, dressing only 15 skaters. Rylan Sideroff and Calvin Hadley missed the contest due to suspension, while Kendell Wilson sat out with a lower body injury and Cole Woodliffe was picked up for the weekend as an AP for the West Kelowna Warriors.

As short as the bench was to start the game, it got even shorter for the Steam at points in this game. They went a stretch in the 2nd period without forward Wyatt Gale after a hard hit from Kelowna's Austin Dorn, and then spent most of the 3rd period without forward Riley Pettitt. Pettitt took a hard shoulder-to-shoulder hit from Chiefs' Captain Anthony Ruggiero on the boards and missed the remainder of the game. Pettitt was being re-evaluated postgame and an update will come as soon as we have it, but the initial consensus was an upper-body injury that could sideline him for a couple of weeks at minimum.




The Steam will now head to Osoyoos on Wednesday night, October 29th to face the 1st Place Coyotes before returing home to play the Princeton Posse on Friday night, October 31. During that home game there will be some great prizes to be won from our friends at Nesters Market, Spud Bros Concession, and the Best Western Inn at Penticton! DON'T FORGET TO DRESS UP!

Friday, 24 October 2014

CHIEFS ROLL INTO THE STATION

After a weekend on the road last weekend, the Summerland Steam will return home on Friday night for a home date with the Kelowna Chiefs. With two trips to the Kootenays finished in the month of October, the Steam will play only their 3rd home game in the first 24 days of the month, and they'll certainly be looking for a different result than their previous 2.

In both of those home games Summerland took some early penalties and allowed the Kamloops Storm and Osoyoos Coyotes to come into their building and 'blow the doors off'. Both teams chimed in with early goals en route to 5-2 and 6-2 wins respectively and sent the Steam home unhappy on Thanksgiving weekend. The loss to Osoyoos on Thanksgiving Monday sent the Steam to their 4th loss in 5 contests and was accompanied by a drop in the standings as Princeton made a move to 2nd place in the Okanagan Division. The boys left the arena that day knowing they needed to be better on home ice, and that's exactly what they'll try to be on Friday after a good road weekend and a week of practice.


SUMMERLAND STEAM


11 days removed from the loss to the 'Yotes, the Steam are headed back inside the Summerland Arena. After playing in the Kootenays last weekend and picking up a 4-3 OT win in Columbia Valley and a convincing 5-2 win in Golden, the Steam's perspective is a little brighter heading onto home ice tomorrow night against the Chiefs.

The Steam have somewhat turned their fortunes around with a couple of wins, but will be in tough in their lone game of the weekend. Summerland comes into the contest winning their past 2 games, but they're going to be slightly shorthanded heading into this weekend's contest. The Steam will be without Rylan Sideroff who will serve the final game of a 3-game ban picked up near the end of a tilt with the Coyotes on Oct 13, and will also be without Calvin Hadley due to suspension as he serves game #1 of a 6 game ban for a Gross Misconduct picked up in Golden on Sunday.

The bodies don't stop dropping for the Steam with the 2 suspensions, as the Steam will be without veteran Kendell Wilson who will sit out the next couple of weeks with a lower body injury. Cole Woodliffe will also be out of the lineup for Friday's game as he joins the West Kelowna Warriors on their weekend trip to Vancouver Island.

In the wake of the suspensions and injuries that hit the Steam this week, it will be up to the rest of the roster to pick up the slack and ensure they don't let the Chiefs off easy when they come into the Summerland Arena on Friday. With the absence of Hadley on defense, expect youngsters Adam Jones and Lathan McKinney to see expanded workloads to go along with big minutes for Cole Williams, who has arguably been Summerland's most consistent defenseman in his own zone.

Up front look for the insertion of Wyatt Gale into the lineup to fill some of the void left by Woodliffe being temporarily unavailable to the Steam. Gale missed the trip to the Kootenays last weekend with the flu, and will certainly be ready to go after not playing in over a week.

Brett Huber will likely get the start at home for the Steam after picking up a 5-2 win in Golden last weekend. In that game he faced a fairly light workload, only seeing 22 shots in the victory and sometimes going 6 or 7 minutes without any action.

KELOWNA CHIEFS


The Chiefs come in to The Station having lost 5 straight, including a 10-3 drubbing at the hands of the Kimberly Dynamiters on October the 12th. In their last contest they played the 2nd place Princeton Posse hard through sixty minutes, but came up on the short side of a 2-1 score. They're surely going to be coming into Summerland looking to 'right the ship' and get back to winning close hockey games and making teams pay the price with the body.

Kelowna is a big hockey team and they have several offensively gifted forwards including Jonathan Lee and Ethan Rusnack, the team's top 2 scorers. Despite the two being the Chiefs' only 'point per game' players, the Chiefs can put up goals with the top half of the KIJHL as far as Goals For numbers are concerned (3.14). Looking at those numbers, though, tells you that they have no problem scoring goals but seem to have trouble in their defensive zone. As a team through 14 games so far this season they've posted a 4.50 team Goals Against Average, which ranks 18th in the KIJHL.

The last time the Steam and the Chiefs played it ended in a 6-2 victory for Summerland, and it seemed as though the Chiefs had some trouble with the speed of the Steam to the outside off the rush. The Chiefs will no doubt have watched some video and be looking to avoid having that happen again on Friday night.


One thing is certain that you can expect from the Chiefs and that's that they'll come to play. They're going to bring the physicality and nothing will come easy for either team. It's sure to be a battle of two teams who really don't like each other and haven't been friendly for some time. Make sure to come out and support Junior Hockey in your community on Friday as the Steam host the Chiefs for a 7:30 start! Tickets are just $10 and will be available in advance at Nesters' Market in Summerland or at the door on game day!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

STEAM SWEEP WEEKEND TRIP

It was fairly evident on Sunday afternoon from the opening faceoff in Golden that the Summerland Steam had come to play. The Steam were coming off a 4-3 OT win on Friday night that saw team captain Paulsen Lautard lead the way with 4 points, including an assist on Riley Pettitt's OT winner. It didn't take long for the momentum from the Overtime win on Saturday to carry over, as the Steam came out hard on Sunday and scored 3 goals in the first 8:33 of the Sunday afternoon affair.

GAME STORY:


They opened with a barrage of shots on Rockets starting goaltender Mitch Privett and were successful early. After a penalty to the Rockets in the opening minutes the Steam were able to get on the board on the powerplay. As the puck was worked around the zone it found it's way to Michael McEachern at the right point. The shot was low and hard, and tipped beautifully in the slot by Jack Mills to give the Steam a 1-0 lead. McEachern and Cole Woodliffe would draw assists on Mills' 6th of the season

Just over 4 minutes after Mills opened the scoring it was Braden Saretsky's turn to get in on the scoring action, potting his 4th of the year. Saretsky found himself with the puck on his stick in the low-slot after a Cody Egilson shot was directed straight to Saretsky by the Rockets' goaltender. Saretsky was able to deposit the loose puck into the back of the net to extend the lead to 2-0.

Just a minute after the Saretsky goal, the onslaught continued for the Steam. This time it was Riley Pettitt who took a sweet feed from Jarrett Malchow off the right wing and was able to slide one past Privett, ending his night as the Steam took a very early 3-0 lead.

The Rockets would take their timeout and make a goaltending change at the 8:33 mark of the first period as Magnus Viberg took over between the pipes for Golden. Golden was able to fend off the Steam for the remainder of the period and they got on the board with 1:46 to go in the first thanks to Zack Finlay. He was able to find a seam out in front of Summerland goaltender Brett Huber and deposit one behind him to cut the lead to 3-1 after a period.

In the second frame the Steam didn't take their foot off the gas, as they controlled the pace and possessed the puck for the majority of the period. They were rewarded with 2 goals in the 2nd period, both off the stick of Cole Woodliffe to extend the lead to 5-1.

As for Huber, he was as good as he needed to be on the afternoon. He was not tested often, stopping 22 of 24 on the day, but he was solid when called upon and made sure his team was in full control of the scoreboard. Both goals against Huber on the day came on the Golden powerplay, with the first coming from Finlay at the end of the 1st period and the second rounding out the scoring at 11:31 of the 3rd period off the stick of Rockets' Cole McKechney.

RECAP:


On this day in Golden it would go down as a 5-2 win for the Steam, but more importantly it finished off a perfect weekend. The Steam picked up all four points they wanted to bring home, and did so without one of their emotional leaders, Rylan Sideroff (Suspension) and one of their leading goal scorers, Wyatt Gale (Flu). Sideroff has one more game to serve on a 3 game suspension after getting ejected from a Thanksgiving day game vs the Coyotes for a high hit on Osoyoos' Troy Maclise. Maclise was able enough to play the entire 5 minute powerplay, but Sideroff picked up a suspension nonetheless.

The Steam will be without Sideroff for one more game, and will also be without veteran Calvin Hadley, who picked up a Gross Misconduct during a fight in Golden and will sit the next 6 contests.


Keep your eyes on Trolley Talk this week for a preview of the Steam's next matchup, which goes Friday night, October 24th at the Summerland Arena against the division rival Kelowna Chiefs.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

PETTITT NETS OT WINNER AS STEAM GET BACK ON TRACK

On Saturday night the Summerland Steam headed into 'The Eddie' in Invermere to play the Columbia Valley Rockies in the opener of a 2 game road trip through the Kootenays. Rookie goaltender Alex Kong got the call from Coach John Depourcq on this night while Talon Walton manned the space between the red pipes for the Rockies.

After 2 losses last weekend, the Steam came out with a purpose on this night, controlling the majority of the play in the 1st period. After a very solid penalty kill late in the period though, the Steam gave up a goal against the run of play as Doan Smith was able to slip one past Alex Kong to give the Rockies a 1-0 lead. Ryan Lawson and Sam Young would draw assists on Smith's team leading 11th of the season and the Rockies escaped the period with a 1-0 lead despite being outshot 15-6.

In the 2nd frame the Steam exercised their penalty killing skills, as they took several penalties in the early part of the period and spent the better part of 10 minutes in the penalty box. After all the penalty kill did their part in the early part of the period, the offense began to see the fruits of their labour. Summerland worked hard to draw a penalty and used their powerplay to have Jack Mills feed Paulsen Lautard a breakaway pass through the middle of the ice. Lautard took the pass and found himself one-on-one with Rockies goaltender Talon Walton, and Lautard was able to make a move to the backhand and go up under the bar to tie the game at 1.

The lead would be restored just under 5 minutes later, however, as Carter Melnyk took a shot from the point on the powerplay that found it's way to the back of the net to give the Rockies a 2-1 lead. With the Steam trailing, they worked hard to keep the pressure on the Rockies, but failed to convert and ended the 2nd trailing by that same 2-1 score.

In the third it seemed to be all Steam all the time, as they put the throttle down and kept driving shots towards the Columbia Valley net. On a powerplay near the mid-point of the period, Lathan McKinney potted his first KIJHL goal on a Summerland powerplay to tie the game at 2.

 After several minutes of relentless pressure from Summerland, the Rockies got a hold of the puck and sent it down the ice. Alex Kong left his crease to play the puck and was pressured by the Rockies. He tried to make a pass across to his defenseman, but it was picked off by Dondre Watson and he put the puck in the yawning cage to give his team the lead with near 8 minutes to go.

As it started to look more and more grim for the Steam, they continued to push towards the final buzzer and get the game tied. With 2:21 left in the third period, Paulsen Lautard collected his third point of the night as he found Cole Woodliffe in the corner. Woodliffe was able to head behind the net and tuck a quick wrap-around in the far side to tie the game at 3 and force overtime.

In OT it was Riley Pettitt who played the hero when a shot from Lautard came off the back boards for Pettitt to jam behind Talon Walton and give the Steam one of those wins that would go in the 'Character' category. This type of win was one the Steam desperately needed after losing 4 of their last 5, and it was the best thing the team could have asked for to have their captain lead them to victory.

Now the Steam will look forward and head to Golden to face the Rockets tomorrow afternoon. You can catch all the action on kijhl.ca with the broadcast crew from Golden. Summerland will return to home ice at The Station on Friday, October 24th when the Kelowna Chiefs pay a visit for a 7:30 start!

Friday, 17 October 2014

STEAM GO SEARCHING FOR A WIN IN THE KOOTENAYS

Last weekend on home ice, the Summerland Steam did not have a banner weekend, losing 5-2 and
6-2 to Kamloops and Osoyoos, respectively. They were coming off an 8 day layoff that saw the coaches give them the majority of the week off in order to get healthy, as a flu bug caught the dressing room and put several players down early in the week. They'll head to Invermere for a Saturday night tilt with the Columbia Valley Rockies and then on to Golden to face the Rockets on Sunday afternoon. The Steam will certainly be hoping for a better result in order to start climbing back up the standings in the Okanagan Division and (excuse the pun) get back on track.

Even though they have lost 4 of their last 5, and even though the last 2 scores may have been a little lopsided, the Steam haven't been playing bad hockey. They've been working hard in all three zones and Coach John Depourcq is ultimately happy with what they're doing, they just aren't yielding the results they want.

In our new "2 Minutes With" feature on our broadcast on Monday afternoon, Coach Depourcq noted that his team was a little bit undisciplined over the weekend and put themselves at a disadvantage against two of the KIJHL's best powerplays.

This weekend the Steam have another tough road trip ahead as they start in Invermere on Saturday night. Although the Columbia Valley Rockies don't have the best record in the KI, they are a tough opponent and boast a young roster looking to improve on a tough start.

After a Saturday night matchup with the Rockies, the Steam will head up to Golden to face the Rockets on Sunday afternoon. The Rockets are off to a hot start to their 2014/15 KIJHL season, starting with a 7-4-0-1 record through 12 games. The Rockets are not only off to a good start, but they're very tough to play on home ice, posting a record of 4-2 in 6 home games.

Summerland will be up against it this weekend going over to the Kootenays for the 2nd time in 3 weeks. This time they are healthy and ready to play and will be looking to bounce back after a tough couple of weeks. You can catch all the action on the webcasts from Columbia Valley and Golden at www.kijhl.ca.

The Steam will return home next Friday, October 24th, when they face-off against the Kelowna Chiefs!

Monday, 13 October 2014

STEAM TRAIN GOES OFF THE RAILS AT HOME



Photo: Sarah Mayer
It was supposed to be a weekend for the Summerland Steam to gain some ground in the Okanagan Division standings. With 2 tough opponents coming into the building on Sunday and Monday the Steam knew they were in tough, but with both the Kamloops Storm and Osoyoos Coyotes playing 3 games in the better part of 3 days the Steam thought they might be able to come away with 4 points.

Instead, the photo on the left depicts exactly how the Steam came up: Empty.


With most of the team having their parents and siblings in town to celebrate the Thanksgiving weekend, the Steam took to the ice on Sunday afternoon against a Kamloops Storm team who had won 4 of their last 5 and were coming in fresh off a loss at home on Saturday night. It was evident early on which team had spent the week recovering from a flu bug. The Steam had one good chance off the stick of Wyatt Gale on the opening shift of the hockey game, but beyond that it was nearly all Kamloops. 

David Larouche would open the scoring for the Storm on the powerplay before Mitch Friesen would add another shortly after. Both goals would come on the powerplay as Summerland was unable to stay disciplined against a bigger, stronger Kamloops team.

The Storm were helped by an extended 5-on-3 in the middle of the period, including a high sticking call on Summerland's Michael McEachern that wasn't assessed until after a goal was scored nearly a minute after the infraction took place. During that minute, a stoppage occurred with no arms raised before Kamloops captin Felix Larouche inquired with referee Mike Langin, who then assessed the penalty after the Kamloops goal had been scored. In all my years of being around a rink and the game of hockey, I'd never seen anything like it and am still quite bewildered by it, to say the least. 

While on the 5-on-3, David Larouche would collect his second of the night to extend the Storm lead to 3-0, while also deflating whatever was left of the confidence for the Summerland Steam. Wyatt Gale would find the back of the net to cut the lead to 3-1 with 2:03 to go in the frame, giving the Steam a faint flCcker of some light at the end of the penalty filled tunnel. 

That wouldn't last long, though, as the Storm's Brayden Dale would have a shot find it's way past Brett Huber to extend the lead back to 3 goals and spell the end of Huber's night. Alex Kong would come in relief of Huber, and allow one more (Mark O'Shaughnessy in the 3rd period) on the 12 shots he faced. 

Coleton Fisher would cut the lead to 4-2 again late in the second, but the O'Shaughnessy goal in the 3rd would close out the scoring to make it 5-2 for the Kamloops Storm. 


After a disappointing start to their Thanksgiving weekend, the Steam were looking for a bounce-back performance on Monday afternoon against the league's best team, the Osoyoos Coyotes. The Coyotes had previously been 10-0 coming into the weekend before being stopped on consecutive nights by Sicamous and Chase. With one of their biggest rivals coming into town having lost their last 2, Summerland was looking to come out early and use the body on the Coyotes and create some opportunity. 

Unfortunately, the only opportunity that throwing the body was able to give the Steam was the opportunity to sit in the penalty box while the league's best powerplay went to work. After a period the Coyotes led 4-0, and after two the score read 5-1, with the third period ending in a  6-2 'Yotes win. 

Jackson Dematos was making his return for the Coyotes after missing the past 7 games due to a lower body injury, and made his presence known by collecting a hat trick in his first game back. 

The top 2 lines for the Coyotes were on fire on this particular afternoon, as Rory Neary collected 4 points (1G, 3A) and Rainer Glimpel added 5 points in the victory. Daniel Stone and Brett Jewell would record the other Coyote goals in the victory, while Cole Woodliffe and Paulsen Lautard connected for the Steam. 

Lautard's goal was especially pretty, as he took a long lead pass from Michael McEachern and made a forehand, backhand move to beat Coyotes' goaltender Lawrence Langan late in the 3rd period. Not long after the goal, Steam forward Rylan Sideroff was assessed a 5 minute major for a check to the head and a game misconduct after a decent sell-job from 'Yotes captain Troy Maclise, who was well enough after the hit to play nearly 4 minutes of the 5 minute power play. 


The Steam will now take to the road again, as next Saturday night they will play in Invermere against the Columbia Valley Rockies before moving on to Golden to play the Rockets on Sunday afternoon at 4:30. You can catch all the action on the KIJHL Webcast at www.kijhl.ca. The Steam return home for a 7:30 start on October 24th vs the Kelowna Chiefs. 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

STEAM WAIT FOR THE STORM TO ROLL IN




Rarely as a junior hockey player do you have both Friday and Saturday off during any given season. It's also considered a rare occurrence to have to play back to back afternoon games, but on this Thanksgiving Weekend the Summerland Steam will experience both of these things. While the rest of the division plays Friday, Saturday, and some Sunday, the Steam will play back to back afternoon affairs on Sunday (2PM) and Monday (1PM). 

First on the docket for the Steam is a meeting with the Doug Birks Division leading (and reigning KIJHL Regular Season Champion) Kamloops Storm. The two teams have faced each other once already this season, that being a 5-0 road win for Summerland in Kamloops on the Storm's Opening Night. On that night it was Brett Huber that secured the win for the Steam via a 43 save goose egg, and it looks as though he will start Sunday. He and goaltending partner Alex Kong have both been extremely sharp early in this KIJHL Season, as they hold the lowest combined Goals Against Average in the league and have stapled down the top 2 spots on the 'League Leaders' list of goaltenders over at KIJHL.ca. 

Here's a look at how the two teams stack up in the stats department heading into the weekend. These numbers could change before game time on Sunday as Kamloops plays 2 games between now and then, but here's how they sit heading into play on October the 10th. 



                   Summerland Steam                                                   Kamloops Storm.jpg

SUMMERLAND STEAM

KAMLOOPS STORM
6-3
W-L
6-3-0-1
3.56 (7th)
GF (Per GM)
3.80 (2nd)
1.89 (1st)
GA
2.70 (4th)
.930 (1st)
SV %
.882 %
16.22 % (9th)
PP
20.83 % (5th)
91.53 % (2nd)
PK
74.36 % (19th)
2nd
POWER RANK
Source: Nitros Night in Kimberly Blog Oct 6.
7th


If stats don't lie, the one thing the numbers would tell you is that the Steam need to find a way to put themselves on the powerplay early and often on Sunday afternoon. With the 19th ranked PK in the KIJHL (2nd last), it would seem that Kamloops has a bit of trouble while playing a man down, and the Steam would surely like to capitalize with the man advantage as much as possible. 

Unfortunately, finding powerplay opportunities isn't quite that easy. The Steam are going to have to do what they've done all season and find that physical line and play on it, and that part of the game is going to have to be led by newly minted Captain Paulsen Lautard. He and linemates Jack Mills and Cole Woodliffe have done a good job causing problems for the opposition in the offensive zone early in this season, and that will be imperative again this weekend.

The trio did a great job last weekend in the Kootenays at causing havoc in the offensive zone on the forecheck, and that is where they will need to succeed again on Sunday. They will likely be trying to cause problems for a defense corps of Kamloops who may have some 'heavy legs' after playing both Friday and Saturday nights, and it will be important for the Steam to get the puck low into the Kamloops zone and keep it there. 

On the defensive side of the puck for the Steam, it will be equally as important to stay out of the penalty box as it will be to try to get the Storm into it. Kamloops boasts the 5th best powerplay in the KIJHL and will not hesitate to find a lane and take a shot whenever possible. They also own the KIJHL's second most potent offense, right next to the team the Steam will host on Monday afternoon, the Osoyoos Coyotes. The Steam will have to be conscious of locking down their D zone and not allowing Kamloops to run around the zone on them. 


The puck drops at 2PM at the Summerland Arena on Sunday afternoon. Tickets are just $10 at the door or in advance at Nesters Market in Summerland. If you can't make it to the game on Sunday, be sure to catch Mike Swanson and I on the webcast at www.kijhl.ca 









Tuesday, 7 October 2014

LAUTARD HAS BIG WEEKEND WHILE STEAM STUMBLE THROUGH KOOTENAYS

Over the weekend the Summerland Steam took to the road for a 3 game road trip into Kimberly, Fernie, and Creston. The trip didn't get off to the start that the Steam would have liked, as when they boarded the bus on Friday morning nearly half the team was down with the flu. As all teams find out at one point or another during the season, the show must go on, and that's exactly what the Steam had to do. They were staring down the barrel of 3 games in 2.5 days, and didn't have any other choice but to battle through.

Prior to the Friday night matchup with the Kimberly Dynamiters, the coaching staff finalized a decision they'd been weighing for weeks, appointing Paulsen Lautard the Captain of the 2014/15 Summerland Steam. Lautard promptly rewarded them, showing as the Steam's best player in a Friday night shutout loss before collecting 4 goals and 3 assists in the final 2 games of the weekend.

On Saturday night Lautard was alone on the scoreboard, as he tallied all 3 Steam goals in a 5-3 loss to the Fernie Ghostriders. On Sunday afternoon, Alex Kong picked up his second victory of the season as the Steam picked up a 5-2 victory on the final leg of the road trip. Lautard picked up 4 points (1G, 3A) in the victory, while Jack Mills and Calvin Hadley each chipped in with 2 points.

Newcomer Lathan McKinney got his first crack at the Steam lineup on the weekend and impressed the coaching staff with his skating ability and puck control on defense. McKinney helped the Steam powerplay out tremendously as well, collecting 2 assists in the 3 weekend games.

Head Coach John Depourcq along with assistant coaches Wade Parker and Matt Taylor elected to give the team 2 full days off on the heels of the road trip in order to get the team healthy and ready for a BIG weekend ahead. The team will have both Friday and Saturday off before playing a pair of afternoon games on Sunday and Monday against a pair of tough opponents.

The Steam will face-off against the Kamloops Storm on Sunday afternoon at 2PM followed by a clash with the division leading (and undefeated) Osoyoos Coyotes on Monday afternoon at 1PM.


Stay tuned to the blog for a preview of both games coming a little later this week, including an in-depth look at both teams and what the Steam are going to have to do to beat them.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

STEAM STUMBLE IN KIMBERLY, LOOK TO REBOUND VS THE 'RIDERS

Starting a stretch of 3 games in 2.5 days, the Summerland Steam rolled into Kimberly on Friday night looking to stay hot and keep up with the division leading Osoyoos Coyotes. Unfortunately the only thing that was hot was Kimberly goaltender Tyson Brouwer, who stopped 31 Steam shots to shut Summerland out for the first time this season. Brouwer was stellar on this night, as the Steam poured shots at the Kimberly net right from the start. On the night the shot clock would read 31-19 in favor of the Summerland Steam, but the shot clock and the score clock said 2 different things at the end of the night. Kimberly used some undisciplined play by the Steam to their advantage and connected twice on the powerplay en route to a 3-0 win.

The first period was a scoreless one, but it wasn't uneventful. It was highlighted by Kimberly's Eric Buckley taking a healthy run at Steam goaltender Brett Huber with 6:46 to go in the first period. Buckley received 5 minutes for goaltender interference and a game misconduct for his trouble, and Huber would shake it off and stay in the game.

The scoring wouldn't get started until the midpoint of the 2nd period when Jordan Roy opened the scoring for the Dynamiters. It was a shot from about 20 feet out that got up and over Brett Huber on a Kimberly Powerplay to give the Nitros a 1-0 lead.

Despite their best efforts, the Steam could not beat the Kimberly goaltender, Brouwer, who was easily the first star of the hockey game. As the Steam continued to pester him with shots, he stood tall until the Dynamiters got another goal on the powerplay. This time it was Jason Richter with a timely goal after a Summerland penalty to extend the lead to 2. Marco Campanella would then add an empty net goal with :36 on the clock to secure the victory for the Kimberly Dynamiters.

After the loss last night, the Steam are going to have to have a quick rebound as they head to Fernie to face the Ghostriders on Saturday night. In their last meeting, the Steam skated away with a 3-1 win in Summerland after getting goals from Coleton Fisher, Braden Saretsky, and Wyatt Gale. They'll need that balanced scoring attack again tonight in a hostile barn in Fernie where nothing comes easy to any visiting opponent.


Puck drop is at 730 MST (6:30 in Summerland) and you can catch the call at KIJHL.ca!

Friday, 3 October 2014

STEAM BEGIN KOOTENAY SWING WITH VISIT TO KIMBERLY

Facing arguably their toughest test of this young season over the next 3 days, the Summerland Steam climbed on the bus this morning to head to the Kootenays for 3 very tough games in 2.5 days. They start their grind tonight at the Civic Center in Kimberly where the 5-0 Dynamiters are ready and waiting. The two teams last met in the 2012/13 season in which Fernie won both meetings, 3-1 and 5-3.

As two teams who are vastly unfamiliar with one another, the focus turns to stats. Both teams have their strengths and weaknesses, and will surely look to exploit each other early on to get an upper hand. You can check out how the two teams compare with one another over at 'Nitros Night In Kimberly' with Josh Lockhart by clicking the link on the right side of our blog.

Here's how it shakes out after all the numbers are analyzed:

Summerland has the best defense corps and goaltender in the KIJHL, holding a 1.17 team Goals Against Average and a Save Percentage of over 95%. Their goaltending has been no less than stellar and has been helped by the play of their defensmen in the early part of this season. The Steam can also score at the other end of the ice, sitting fifth in Goals For (4.00 Goals per game). The top line has led the way on the scoreboard as Paulsen Lautard, Jack Mills, and Cole Woodliffe are 1,2,3 on the team leaderboard with 9,7, and 6 points respectively.

On the other side of the center line, the Kimberly Dynamiters boast one of the most potent offenses in the league. Early in the season they are averaging 5.60 Goals per game, with Coy Prevost leading the attack with 5 goals and 8 points in the first 5 games of the season.

The key for the Steam tonight against the Dynamiters will be shots on goal. Shots are always one of the most important elements to winning hockey games, but it will be especially important for the Steam tonight as Kimberly sits 17th in the league in Save Percentage at just a shade over 88%.


The puck drops at 7PM MOUNTAIN TIME (6PM IN THE OKANAGAN), and you can catch the broadcast from the Civic Center in Kimberly just prior to puck drop over at www.kijhl.ca