Tonight the Summerland Steam will travel to Osoyoos to face the Coyotes at the Sun Bowl Arena. They come off a holiday break that saw them take 5 full days off before returning to practice on Friday. The Steam were a team that deserved a break after really turning their season around and gaining at least a point in 16 of their past 18 games through November and December.
In their last game they saw a 3-2 lead slip away in the second period against Kelowna before clawing back to tie the game 5-5 sending it to overtime. In OT they saw Levi Johnson score for Kelowna on the powerplay to give the Chiefs a 6-5 OT victory. In that game the Steam drew even at the end of the first before taking the lead early in the second. In the latter half of the second they had some defensive lapses in behind their own net that they couldn't get away with, and the situation will be the same against the Coyotes tonight.
It will be the 5th meeting of the season between these two teams, each team having won two games previously. These two teams head into a home & home this weekend separated by only 2 points in the Okanagan Division, with Summerland holding a game in hand on the Coyotes.
Games against these teams are always fast and physical, and it's no secret that once they get on the ice they don't enjoy one another's company all that much. 3 of the first 4 matches between these teams so far this season have been decided by 2 goals or less. The only anomaly being the season opener which was a 4-0 win for the Summerland Steam. Needless to say the game tonight at the Sun Bowl will be a can't miss hockey game that is sure to see some great hockey and has potential for lots of offense.
The key contributors for both teams will have to be just that in order for one team to come out with a win. For the Steam that means their top line of Daylan Robertson, Kienan Scott, and Paulsen Lautard will have to outplay the top line for Osoyoos which is made up of Aaron Azevedo, Colin Chmelka, and Troy Maclise. They'll really have to watch Troy Maclise in this hockey game, as he is considered one of the fastest players in the KIJHL.
He will be rivaled in the speed department by Summerland's Riley Hunt, who has looked good since joining the Steam early in December. He's played predominately with the likes of Reid Brown and Jordan Boultbee on one of Summerlands top 3 scoring lines and has created good chemistry with his teammates in the short time he's been with the team. Look for a big game from him tonight using his speed to create opportunities for himself and his linemates against a very stingy Osoyoos Coyotes D-core led by Cameron Dobransky and Wyatt Trumbley.
Starting goaltenders tonight will likely be Brett Huber for Summerland and Lawrence Langan for Osoyoos. Huber has played 3 out of 4 games against Osoyoos so far this season, winning 2 of 3, including one goose egg.
The puck drops at 7:35 at the Sun Bowl in Osoyoos and it'll surely be a barn burner. If you can't make it to the rink in Osoyoos, join Tom Shields and the crew from Osoyoos