On Sunday night the Summerland Steam took to home ice for Game 5 of a best of 7 series with the North Okanagan Knights. A win would pull the Steam's deficit to just one game in the series, and with their backs against the wall and facing elimination, the boys came to play.
It went down as a 2-1 win, and here's how we got there:
The start of the game was delayed by a few minutes as KIJHL President Bill Ohlhausen made a presentation at center ice. The presentation was to the Steam's Kienan Scott, who took home the 'Rookie Of The Year' award for the entire KIJHL.
Once the game got started on this particular night, the fast paced action took place mostly in the neutral zone early on, as the teams were tied in shots 3-3 (compared to 15-5 Steam in Game 4) at the halfway point of the first period. The shots on goal would end 10-6 in favour of the Steam, but again the period would end 0-0. To start the second the Steam knew they were going to have to come out with a strong effort and were going to have to get the first goal of the hockey game.
The did just that.
All of the Steam's forward lines were pushing the pace of play on this night, but the line of Boultbee, Nigg, and Burton were particularly good. In the first period they had a few great chances, and early in the second period they did a great job to keep the play down in the Knights' zone and get shots to the net.
As good as the Boultbee line was, it was the line of Robertson, Lautard, and Scott that got the scoring started. Kienan Scott was able to get into a foot race with the Knights' Austin Garrington and was able to out-skate him and shield the puck from him before going high over the glove of Knights' starter Zach Dyment to give the Steam the lead. The period would end in the same score of 1-0 in favour of the Steam, who were heading to the third with a lead and looking to stay alive in this series.
In the third Summerland would hope to come out and do their best to extend their lead without giving up too much. On the powerplay just 2:30 into the period, they would get the insurance marker they were looking for, and it came off the stick of Josh Dacosta. Dacosta has shown an innate ability to get shots through from the point all season long, and that's exactly how he beat Zach Dyment to extend the Steam lead to 2-0.
Playing with the lead in the third, the Steam did a good job to shut down the Knights' attack and not let them have much in the way of scoring chances in front of starting goaltender Darren Hogg. Hogg was forced to make a couple of good saves in the third, but nothing extremely dangerous. He was solid all night long once again and took home 1st star honours in the building after making 24 saves on 25 Knights' shots.
It looked as though the Knights were going to start a late-game push after Brett Hawrys beat Hogg with a shot from the left wing while the Knights were killing a penalty, but that would be all the Knights would get. With just over 2 minutes left in the game the Steam were penalized for putting the puck over the glass in their own zone, but did a good job to shut down a dangerous Knights' powerplay and not give them any quality looks in the final minutes.
Dylan Burton would add an empty netter right near the buzzer, but the referees decided it would no count as it came after time expired. It wouldn't matter though as one way or another the Steam would take this game and force a Game 6.
Game 6 will go in Armstrong on Tuesday night, and if the Steam can pull out another win it will force a GAME 7. If necessary, GAME 7 WILL BE HELD WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5TH AT 7:30 AT THE SUMMERLAND ARENA!