On Tuesday night the Summerland Steam opened the KIJHL playoffs with a 3-2 victory over the North Okanagan Knights. The series will shift back and forth without consecutive home games in this series, so it was important for the Steam to get a good start and they did just that.
Despite not scoring a goal in the first period, they fired 15 shots at Zach Dyment in the Knights' goal and he was forced to make two or three 5-alarm saves to keep the game scoreless. Dyment was very solid on this night once again, and made 27 saves on 30 Summerland shots by the time the night was over.
The Steam finally did open the scoring with 8:16 to go in the second period as Dylan Burton was at the business end of a beautiful 3 way passing play between himself, Jordan Boultbee and defenceman Josh Dacosta. Burton hammered one into the back of the net off a behind-the-back pass from Boultbee at the side of the net after Dacosta did a good job to keep the puck inside the offensive zone.
As the Steam worked their way down the bench during their celebration, all of a sudden Dacosta went down in a heap. It turned out he'd taken a spear to the midsection from the Knights' Matthew Halvorson, who was caught for his actions and sent off for 4 minutes. The Steam were unable to convert on the powerplay before Michael Winnitoy took a penalty of his own for the Steam, but they were able to get a goal to extend the lead to 2-0 not long after both penalties expired.
The Steam's second goal came off the stick of Reid Brown, an absolute beauty of an individual effort to beat a defender and cut in on Dyment in the North Okanagan goal. Once in, he beat Dyment with a shot low to the blocker side to extend the lead.
The Knights would get two back, however, just a minute and a half apart coming to the end of the period. First it was a seeing eye shot by Halvorson that hit a Summerland defender in front and jumped in behind Steam starter Brett Huber. The Knights first goal was followed quickly, just 1:38 later, by a goal from Tanner Burns on the power play with :07 left in the 2nd period to knot the score at 2.
In the third the teams went back and forth, both doing their best to not give up the next goal. The pace was quick, but both teams were content to play most of the third period in the neutral zone. At the mid point of the period the shots on goal were just 5-4 in favor of the Steam, but with 5:44 to go, they were able to break the deadlock.
It came off the stick of 20 year old veteran Olli Dickson, who was able to get a long shot away through traffic on a powerplay that fooled Zach Dyment. The puck shot up and over the glove of the North Okanagan netminder and gave the Steam the lead.
All looked to be going according to plan for the Steam after that, until of course they took a penalty with 3:13 to play when Calvin Hadley took a penalty for elbowing. Despite immense pressure from a Knights' team desperate to tie the game, the Steam were successful in killing off the penalty and the remaining 1:13 after it to take the game by a final of 3-2.
Game 2 goes TONIGHT in Armstrong as the Knights host the Steam. You can expect the same two starting goaltenders to get the nod again and lineups to be fairly similar to what they were just a night ago. The only difference for the Steam will be Nelson Hurry drawing back into the lineup after sitting out last night's contest.