They say it isn't how you start, but how you finish. That statement rang true for the Summerland Steam on Tuesday night in Game 6 of a best of 7 series with the North Okanagan Knights. Pre-game I mentioned how important it was for the Steam to get a quick start and force their hand early in the game, and boy did they make me look like a fool. On this night the Steam DIDN'T get the start they wanted to, as they had the pace taken to them early in the game by the North Okanagan Knights.
Brett Huber got the start for the Steam in goal on this night and he was superb, particularly in the first period while the Steam shook out their legs. The Steam would weather the storm and eventually get some pressure of their own near the end of the period, but no results showed up on the scoreboard for either side as the period ended in a scoreless tie.
In the second it was the Steam who came out with a bit of pressure. They spent the first couple of minutes in the Knights' end of the ice buzzing around Zach Dyment before Ryan Kelm was able to stride up the right wing and fire a shot past Brett Huber to give the Knights a 1 goal lead.
From there, to be quite honest, the game got a little bit dry. A lot of the play was in the neutral zone and just inside either blue line, with no real strong attempts at either goal. Brett Huber was forced to make one dazzling glove save on the Knights' regular season leading scorer, Brett Hawrys, as Hawrys had some room to come down the left wing and cut across the front of the net. As he tried to go to his backhand and lift it into the top of the net, Huber did a good job to stick with him and get his glove up to knock the puck off course and into the corner.
Unbelievably, the two teams combined for only 2 penalties on this night, both taken by Summerland in the 2nd period. North Okanagan was unsuccessful on both of their powerplays in this hockey game, and Special Teams played a non-factor overall.
In the third, with their backs against the wall in a major way, the Steam never gave up. Each and every single 'Steammate' picked up their lunch-pale and went to work trying to tie the game. That 'Never Say Die' attitude was what they needed, as they were relentless in their attack while letting the Knights' have next to no looks at Huber and the Summerland net.
Just when it looked like all their efforts were going to come up short, the Steam's veterans took over and led the way. It started with some pressure in the final minutes and finally Easton Bodeux was able to get a shot through a maze of bodies to the net, where Jordan Boultbee was able to put a tip on the puck to get it past Knights' goaltender Zach Dyment. As much credit as we should give Boultbee for putting a beautiful tip on a puck, we should also give equally as much credit to Steam defender Easton Bodeux. Bodeux did a fantastic job to get the puck through a group of 5 players to the net and made sure the shot was low and able to be tipped.
The Steam fans who travelled on the Team Fan Bus (Thanks to Murray GM and the Robertson Family) erupted in cheers as their team had tied the game at 1 with :53 seconds to play.
From there we were off to OT, where the action went back and forth for a few minutes before Summerland got the opportunity they needed. Sam Nigg was able to strip a Knights' defender of the puck and walk in on Zach Dyment uncontested. He got to the face-off dot to the glove side of Dyment before rifling a wrister low to the blocker side, going post and in to give the Steam a 2-1 win and send the series off to a Game 7 tomorrow night at the Summerland Arena!
Faceoff tomorrow night will be at 7:30 at 'The Station' and WE WANT YOU to #BRINGTHENOISE to the Summerland Arena! Let's fill the barn and show the boys WE BELIEVE they can get it done in Game 7!