On Friday night the Summerland Steam will make their return to home ice after 3 full weeks of road games. The last time fans saw them at the Summerland Arena they were triumphant over the Princeton Posse by a score of 6-2. They will face the Posse again tonight, hoping for a like result. While ‘on the road’ these past three weeks the Steam have played a total of 5 games, gaining 8 of a possible 10 points and opening up a 3 point lead on the 3rd place Osoyoos Coyotes while trying to chase down Kelowna for 1st in the division. They were victorious in North Okanagan before falling 6-2 to Princeton in their home arena on Jan 7th, but have since rattled off 3 wins in a row over North Okanagan, Osoyoos, and most recently Kelowna on Tuesday evening.
Here's what you need to know to head into tonight's matchup:
Tonight the Steam turn their attention to another familiar foe in the Princeton Posse. The two teams have played each other 6 times this season, with Summerland gaining 5 wins in those 6 games. Brett Huber will get the start for the Steam tonight after Darren Hogg started in Kelowna on Tuesday. Brett’s last action was the game before, in Osoyoos, where he backstopped the Steam to a 6-5 win over the Coyotes.
The Steam will be without a couple of bodies tonight as Alex Williams remains sidelined with a lower body injury that’s seen him miss the last 2 games, and Piers Egan will also be out as he deals with an illness. Williams has begun skating again but will not play tonight as per assistant coach/GM Gregg Wilson. Look for Rylan Sideroff to step back on defense in place of Williams and Egan. Newcomer Calvin Hadley, who has looked good since joining the Steam at the January 10 trade deadline from Comox Valley, will make his home debut tonight wearing #6.
It could be very easy for the Steam to look past this game with a showdown with the Kelowna Chiefs taking place tomorrow. They’re going to have to be cautious and not look to far ahead and concentrate only on tonight’s game, because you better believe Princeton is going to bring it. The Posse possess firepower up front led by the likes of team captain Kurtis Klinger, Eric Kubis, Devan Siudy and newcomer Andrew Stack who now is performing at a point-per-game pace since being acquired from Kimberly in early December. They do a great job on the forecheck and Siudy in particular has an extremely heavy shot if he gets loose in the offensive zone. The 19 year old native of Langley, BC has 30 goals and 55 points in 70 career games with the Posse over the past 2 seasons and plays big minutes in all key situations for the Posse. At 6’3” and 190lbs, Siudy is a big body that’s tough to move in the offensive zone, particularly when he steps in front of the opposing goaltender.
Princeton will be without one of their top defenseman again tonight, as Cooper Prechel has been sidelined since before the Christmas break with a hand injury that required surgery. He was in the middle of a breakout rookie season as a sixteen year old when the injury occurred on December 13, and is hoping to get back in the lineup before season’s end.
As always you can follow along with myself (Steam_Voice) and the team (SteamKIJHL) on twitter and on Facebook at 'Summerland Junior B Hockey Club'. If you're a fan of the Posse you can find Posse play by play man George Elliott (@PosseWebCrew) on twitter as well as on Facebook at 'Princeton Posse'
After a long 3 weeks off, I will have the call for you alongside Dave Desautels just prior to 7:30 puck drop with a bit of a pregame show including the starting lineups, an update on the standings, and the three keys to the game prior to the start of this divisional tilt!
REMEMBER STEAM FANS, MAKE SURE TO COME OUT TONIGHT, BE LOUD, BE PROUD, AND CHEER ON THE BOYS AS THEY RETURN HOME FROM 3 LONG WEEKS AWAY!