As you get down to the final games of the season, each and every one becomes more and more valuable to a hockey team. With both teams trying to secure playoff position, the Summerland Steam hosted the North Okanagan Knights on Friday night, and oh boy was it a thriller. It was back and forth all night long between the two teams that went right down to the wire with the Steam ending up on top by a score of 6-5.
It was Brett Huber getting his 3rd straight start in goal for the Steam and Mitch Profeit in net for the Knights to start the hockey game. Profeit was celebrating a birthday, and played extremely well for the Knights all night long, giving them a chance to win when Summerland came with pressure.
Paulsen Lautard got the scoring started early, just 46 seconds into the hockey game when he picked up a puck out of the corner and powered his way to the middle. Once there he fired a backhand high and hard over the glove of Profeit to give the Steam a 1-0 lead.
The lead wouldn't last long, however, as Logan Geefs would get a stick on a Ryley Booth shot on a North Okanagan powerplay to even the score at 1. Just over 2 minutes later the Knights took the lead thanks to the Summerland defense. After a puck slid into the Steam zone, goaltender Brett Huber stopped the puck behind his net for his defender, Easton Bodeaux. As Huber was headed back to the net a clearing attempt by Bodeaux actually hit Huber in the back of the legs and caromed into the net behind him. The Steam then couldn't take advantage of a powerplay, and the Knights scored again with 6 minutes to go in the period as Austin Garrington beat Huber with a shot low to the blocker side to extend the Knights' lead to 3-1. That would spell the end for Brett Huber as Darren Hogg would come in to replace him at that same 6 minute mark of the 1st.
In the second period Dylan Burton pulled the Steam to within one just over 3 minutes into the period after taking a pass from Olli Dickson. Kendell Wilson also recorded an assist on the play, his first of 2 on the night. The Steam carried the play for the most part through most of the second period. Mitch Profeit made a wonderful right pad save on Kienan Scott about halfway through the second period and North Okanagan got a goal as a direct result. After Profeit kicked the puck aside the Knights turned the puck back up the ice and Logan Mostat was sprung on a breakaway. He tried to make a move and go to the glove side of Darren Hogg, but instead the puck rolled off the heel of his stick and through Hogg's legs to restore the Knights' 2 goal lead. On a late period powerplay, however, the Steam were able to cut the lead back to one on a shot from Michael Winnitoy that was hard, low, and found it's way behind goaltender Mitch Profeit.
At the start of the third period the Steam took the pressure to the Knights and were rewarded. After 8 minutes of nearly continuous pressure Dylan Burton poked home his second of the night and 10th of the season to tie the hockey game at 4.
After going back and forth in the final minutes the Steam's leading scorer, Kienan Scott, mustered up some of his late-game magic once again and tied the game on a breakaway with 2:42 to play. Just when everybody thought we were headed to overtime, Ryley Booth restored the lead for the Knights with just :55 left on the clock.
Not to be outdone, Summerland came straight back. With just over 20 seconds left in the hockey game the Steam's Reid Brown made a strong power move to the outside on the right wing and placed a shot off the pads of Mitch Profeit right to Kienan Scott, who buried the puck in the back of the Knights' net and gave Summerland the lead with :20 on the clock.
Simple analysis on the play is if Reid Brown doesn't make that strong play to the outside, the Steam lose the hockey game and the Knights gain ground. Instead the Steam gain 2 points, and with the Kelowna Chiefs stomping out the Osoyoos Coyotes 6-0 Summerland remains 3 points back of the Chiefs. The big story is that they extend the gap between themselves and the 3rd place Coyotes to 9 points.
The Steam will play next on Wednesday night IN Armstrong where they will travel to face the same North Okanagan Knights they beat 6-5 on Friday night. They will return home next Friday, February 7th, when they host the Revelstoke Grizzlies.
As always you can "Like" us on Facebook (Summerland Junior B Hockey Club) or follow along with the team on twitter @SteamKIJHL. You can also follow along with me on twitter @Steam_Voice for as many updates on the team that I can find!