On Friday night the Summerland Steam hosted Game 3 of a best of seven series against the North Okanagan Knights. The teams split the first two games with Summerland coming out on top in Game 1 before being walloped in Game 2 by the Knights in Armstrong.
Both teams came to play on this night, as the start of Game 3 was fast and frantic with chances at both ends in the first period, particularly in the first 8 minutes. The starting goaltenders, Zach Dyment for the Knights and Darren Hogg for the Steam, were sharp early on and made some big saves to keep the game tied at 0.
In playoff games like these, the team who wins is always the team who makes the least mistakes, and in the second period the first mistake was made by Summerland. The Steam failed to clear the puck out of their own end and two players tried to block a shot from Blaine Caton as he picked up the defensive miscue. The two Steam players trying to block, however, were only successful in blocking the view of their own goaltender. Caton was able to lift the puck up and over the glove of Darren Hogg to give the Knights a 1-0 lead.
Just over 5 minutes after Caton made it 1-0, Brett Hawrys extended the lead to 2-0 after Hogg went out to play the puck and his stick snapped as he made a pass. An unfortunate time for a stick to disintegrate, as if he was able to make his pass the Steam would have had a 3 on 1 the other way. Instead the puck rolled right to Ryan Kelm who fed Hawrys who put his team up 2-0.
The Steam would try their best to get on the board in the back half of the second period, but were having terrible puck luck. Michael Winnitoy hit a post, Sam Nigg slid one just wide of an open net, and Kienan Scott had one squeak through the pads of Zach Dyment but didn't have enough to crawl over the goal line. If one of those pucks finds it's way into the back of the net the complexion of the game changes immensely, but it just wasn't Summerland's night. The effort was there, which couldn't be said about Game 2 in Armstrong.
Heading into the third period the Steam knew they needed to get some pressure and try to get an early goal. They got the pressure they were looking for, firing 6 shots at the North Okanagan goal in the first 4 minutes, but it still resulted in no goals. Zach Dyment made two or three solid saves in the first few minutes of the third, and it allowed the Knights to add an insurance goal off a giveaway in the Steam's defensive zone. Ryley Booth picked off a clearing attempt while the Knights were on the powerplay, walked into a sea of bodies, and fired a low, hard shot to the blocker side of Hogg to make the score 3-0.
Summerland would try to continue to push, but took several penalties throughout the third period that hindered their ability to sustain any type of attack on the North Okanagan net. They will look to try to turn that around tonight, as they head to Armstrong for Game #4 of this series.
They will need discipline, hard work, and a little puck luck if they're to come home for Game #5 tomorrow with the series tied at 2!
Darren Hogg will start again tonight for the Steam and the lineup will stay the same, as per Assistant Coach/GM Gregg Wilson. This means that Braden Saretsky will remain out for the Steam with an upper body injury and Nelson Hurry will also remain out of the lineup.
Faceoff tonight in Armstrong at the Nor-Val Sports Center is 7PM, while the two teams will return to play in Summerland on Sunday at 7PM.