On Friday night the Summerland Steam will host the Princeton Posse at the Summerland Arena. After a dismal October the Steam have put together a stellar November and an equally good December to put them within reach of 2nd place in the Okanagan Division.They'll be looking to start the New Year with a win tonight against the Posse.
The Steam split a home and home series last weekend with the Osoyoos Coyotes who sit in that 2nd spot, winning in Overtime on Saturday night in Osoyoos before falling 3-2 to the Coyotes at home on Sunday afternoon. The Steam got stellar goaltending in both games from both of their goalies, Brett Huber on Saturday and Darren Hogg on Sunday afternoon. Both faced over 40 shots as Huber made 45 saves on 47 Coyotes' shots on Saturday, while Hogg made 38 saves on 41 shots on Sunday afternoon.
This pivotal home and home series with the Coyotes leaves the Steam 3 points behind Osoyoos in the Okanagan Division, still with a game in hand. These two teams will face each other two more times this season, and those dates will surely be marked on the calendar as the race gets tighter and tighter heading to the playoffs in the Okanagan Division.
In the past few games for the Steam it's been a total team effort, with no one player carrying the load for the team. All four offensive lines and three defensive pairs have really come together as a team to get the job done. If there's any one player to watch for the Steam it's newcomer Riley Hunt. He possesses unbelievable speed and vision on the ice, and has looked very good of late since joining the team in early December.
As dangerous as the Steam are on offense with 4 lines that can score any time, their opponent tonight will provide a stiff test. The Princeton Posse also have 4 lines that can score at any given time to go along with a stingy defense and good goaltending, which makes them extremely tough to play against. Here's a little deeper look for those who may not be familiar with the Posse:
THE PRINCETON POSSE
The Posse come into tonight's game inside the Summerland Arena coming off a 14 day break over the Christmas holidays. Heading into the break the Posse were enjoying what is probably their best stretch of play this season through December, winning 5 of their 7 games including a 5-0 drubbing of the Osoyoos Coyotes on December 18.
The Posse are led by two Americans on the offensive side of the puck in team captain Kurtis Klinger (Santa Rosa, CA) and 20 year old veteran Eric Kubis (Philadelphia, PA). Both are point per game players for the Posse along with Devan Suidy and all three play meaningful minutes in key situations, including powerplay and penalty killing.
On defense the Posse are led by Penticton Minor Hockey product Cooper Prechel, who at 16 years old leads the Posse's d-core with 7 points through 29 games played. Prechel gives the Posse a solid effort every night and at 6 feet tall and 170 lbs, has the ability to give opposing forwards a rough ride as they come up the ice or go into a corner.
In goal the Posse boast a goalie tandem of Scott Legault and Spencer Huff, both who have played well for most of the season, particularly through the month of December.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
This divisional battle goes down tonight at 7:30PM at the Summerland Arena. Tickets for the game are just $8 for adults, $6 for seniors/students, and kids under 6 are FREE! We've also got family packages available as well for $25 (Family of 4 or more). If you can't make it to the game tonight, join us on the web at KIJHL.ca as we'll have all the action for you starting just before puck drop around 7:25!