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Saturday, 14 December 2013

STEAM ROLL INTO A STORM

Tonight the Summerland Steam travel to Kamloops to take on the Kamloops Storm. The two teams met in a thriller of a meeting last Sunday, with the Steam coming from behind to win the game in double overtime. Tonight is sure to be another entertaining match-up as the Steam look to keep pace with the rest of the Okanagan Division. Every team in the division will play tonight as the race gets tighter and tighter. Right now the Steam sit 3 points back of the third place North Okanagan Knights, 6 points back of the Osoyoos Coyotes, and 13 points behind the division leading Kelowna Chiefs. The wild card is that the Steam hold three games in hand, which puts them well within reach of second place in the division heading into play this weekend.

Let's start with the Steam:

The Steam have really turned their fortunes around since the beginning of November after a dismal October that saw a 7 game losing streak hinder their position in the standings. Thankfully, they followed the 7 game slide with a 7 game win streak that brought them back to the middle of the pack in the Okanagan Division Standings. They've followed up a solid November with a great start to December as they look to continue their ascension in the standings.

Recent additions such as Riley Hunt and Dylan Burton have allowed Steam coach John DePourcq to spread his offensive players across all four lines and provide a balanced scoring attack which has led to 22 goals over the past 5 games. They are led by their top line of Daylan Robertson, Paulsen Lautard, and Kienan Scott. Since arriving with the Steam in October, Scott has taken the team lead in scoring and has at least a point in all but two games he's played in a Summerland Steam uniform.

The scorers may get all the glamour, but the heart and soul of the Steam during this solid run of play has been solid play outside the opposition's blue line. They're led defensively by Alex Williams and Michael Winnitoy, who've been solid in their defensive zone from the outset of the season. The rest of the defensive core has followed suit of late, and the Steam seem to be working on giving up less shots and making cleaner zone exits into the neutral zone. One of the most positive things for the Steam has been the play of their forwards in all three zones. Olli Dickson has led the Steam forwards in defensive play of late, and seems to have helped set an example for the rest of the forwards to make sure they're defensively responsible.

Now let's take a quick look at the opponent:

The Opponent: Kamloops Storm

The Storm are a team that is strong defensively, and will prove as a stiff test once again for the Steam's offense. The Steam will need all four lines rolling in sync and a strong defensive effort in order to come out of the McArthur Park Arena with 2 points. The Steam will really have to watch the top end offensive talent that Kamloops possesses in the likes of Daniel Buchanan, Josh Rasmussen, and Brock Balson just to name a few. They also boast strong goaltending in a tandem of Wade Moyles and Liam McLeod, and they will prove a difficult test for the Steam on the road tonight.

Their loss to the Steam last Sunday ended a 12 game winning streak that saw them climb to the top of the league standings. They proved the loss was a minor speed bump on Friday night when they took to the ice and put forth a strong effort in a 5-2 win over the 100 Mile House Wranglers. They'll surely be looking to come out with another good effort on home ice and put the Steam on their heels early.

Game time tonight is a 7PM puck drop. Make sure to jump onto KIJHL.ca and catch the Storm's webcast!