On Tuesday night the Summerland Steam got their week off to an early start as they climbed on the bus and headed up Highway 97 for a divisional matchup with the Kelowna Chiefs. The Chiefs had won 3 of the 4 games played in the season series leading into tonight's action, but on this night it was the Steam who would come out victorious with a 4-2 victory. It's a big 2 points that brings the Steam to within 5 of the Chiefs with three head to head matchups to go. The Steam now sit 5 points clear of the 3rd place Osoyoos Coyotes with Osoyoos having 1 game in hand. The Steam were solid from the start tonight, save for a couple of minutes early in the game where they let Kelowna take advantage of some sloppy play in the D zone. Darren Hogg picked up the win for the Steam, his first of the season against the Chiefs, making 25 saves. He also recorded an assist on the Steam's first goal of the night.
The Steam wanted to come out quickly and get a good start against the Chiefs in order to neutralize their offense, but it wasn't that easy. Braeden Cyra opened the scoring for the Chiefs after taking advantage of some sloppy defensive play. It looked as though the puck was covered up in the Steam crease before it was dug out and stuffed into the net.
Not long after, however, the Steam struck back on a powerplay. Hogg managed to get his stick on a dump in from Kelowna and moved the puck quickly up the left wing wall to a waiting Olli Dickson, who skated in and ripped a shot past former Steam goaltender Connor De Melo to tie the game at 1. Five minutes later, however, after Summerland had controlled play for several minutes, Colten Dachwitz broke the tie after coming down the right wing and putting a puck to the front of the net off his backhand. The puck ricocheted off a body or two in front of the net and found it's way behind Darren Hogg to give the Chiefs a 2-1 lead.
The Steam would continue to push without any result until the final seconds of the period when Paulsen Lautard fought off two Chiefs' defenders and potted a game-tying goal with just :6 on the clock. Daylan Robertson and Jordan Boultbee would pick up assists on Lautard's 17th of the season.
In the second the Steam were helped by their goaltender in a big way. He held the team in the game for the better part of the period until the shots were 13-2 in favor of Kelowna, when Josh Dacosta put the hammer down on a puck from the point on a 5-on-3 powerplay to give the Steam the lead.
That goal would prove to be the winner, as Jordan Boultbee would add a goal midway through the third to bring the lead to 4-2 and round out the scoring. Boultbee was the benefactor of a strong cycle and was allowed to curl out of the corner and have a clean shot at De Melo which he put in a perfect spot to extend his team's lead.
Boultbee and Dickson both finished the game with 1 goal and 1 assist each, and Michael Winnitoy added an assists as well in the victory.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
THE STEAM RETURN HOME THIS FRIDAY, JANUARY 24TH TO FACE THE PRINCETON POSSE FOR A 7:30 PUCK DROP. YOU CAN PICK UP YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE AT NESTER'S MARKET IN DOWNTOWN SUMMERLAND OR AT THE DOOR ON THE WAY INTO THE RINK.
BE SURE TO COME OUT AND CHEER ON THE BOYS AFTER 3 FULL WEEKS OF NOTHING BUT ROAD GAMES AS THEY CONTINUE TO ROLL TOWARDS THE PLAYOFFS.
BRING SIGNS, WEAR RED, WHITE AND BLACK, AND DON'T FORGET TO BE LOUD!
As always, you can join us on Facebook at Summerland Junior B Hockey Club or on twitter with myself (@Steam_Voice) and the team (@SteamKIJHL) for all the updates you'll need!