On Wednesday night the Summerland Steam took to the ice in Armstrong at the Nor-Val Center to face-off with the North Okanagan Knights. These two teams have seen a lot of each other as they've played 3 times in 31 days since November 19, and it didn't take long for the blood to start boiling in this hockey game. The Knights won the first two meetings of the season, but that was not the case tonight as the Steam managed to put together a solid 3-1 victory on the road.
The Steam were a little sluggish early, allowing 11 shots by the Knights in the first 10 minutes of the period. The Knights opened the scoring early in the first period as two Summerland Steam defenders collided, allowing Tanner Cochrane to walk into the slot all by himself and drive a shot past Steam goaltender Darren Hogg to give his team a 1-0 lead. That would be all they would get, however, as Hogg stood tall in the Summerland net stopping 37 of 38 shots he faced in the contest.
Before the Steam managed to tie the game the extracurricular activity got started as Gordon Walters took exception to a hit from behind in the corner to the left of the Summerland goal. This led to a bit of a scuffle that saw 2 fights on the same play. When the dust settled the Steam would be without Walters as well as Cooper Holick for the remainder of the hockey game as both were given major penalties for fighting and game misconducts along with their counterparts Logan Geefs and Blaine Caton. The Steam ended up shorthanded for 4 minutes when the dust settled, but managed to kill it with the help of a penalty by North Okanagan halfway through the four minute powerplay.
When the Steam finally did manage to tie it up, it was Steam leading scorer Kienan Scott who converted to tie the game at 1 heading into the second period.
The second frame was quite a bit more ho-hum than the first. The action was far more fluid due to less penalties, although Michael Winnitoy and TJ Christensen got into it in front of the Steam net after a stoppage, earning them each nothing more than a 10-minute misconduct for their trouble.
It looked as though the period would remain scoreless and the teams would head to the dressing room again tied 1-1. That was until Dylan Burton flew down the left wing and pulled the puck to his backhand before making a highlight real pass to a wide open Kienan Scott at the far post. He deposited the puck past Knights goaltender Zach Dyment to give the Steam a 2-1 lead with :40 seconds remaining in the second, and they headed to the dressing room with the lead.
To the Steam's credit, they did not come out and sit on a lead in the third period. They kept the pace of the game and made sure they had equal number of chances. On the chances they did give up, Darren Hogg was equal to the task, making 14 of his 37 saves in the third period. At the halfway point of the period the Steam got the goal that gave them a two goal lead to make it 3-1 on the powerplay from none other than Kienan Scott to complete his hat trick and round out the scoring in the game.
6 different players managed assists for the Steam on the night as Josh Dacosta, Sam Nigg, Dylan Burton, Daylan Robertson, Riley Hunt, and Paulsen Lautard all chipped in on Scott's goals to help the Steam to victory.
The two points tonight are huge as they allow Summerland to jump ahead of the Knights in the Okanagan Division standings while continuing to hold 2 games in hand. The Steam were also done a favor by the Princeton Posse on this Wedneseday, who shut out the Osoyoos Coyotes by a score of 5-0. The Steam now hold onto sole possession of 3rd place in the Okanagan Division with 35 points, 5 points behind the Coyotes while holding 3 games in hand.
The Steam will look to ride this victory into Friday night when they return home to host the Chase Heat. That one is set for a 7:30 puck drop at 'The Station' (Summerland Arena). We'll have the broadcast for you on KIJHL.ca if you can't make it out to what should be a very entertaining hockey game!