On Wednesday evening in the first of two battles this week with the North Okanagan Knights, the Summerland Steam arrived at the Nor-Val Arena in Armstrong ready to play. From the opening faceoff onward, it was visibly evident that the Steam had their foot on the gas pedal and would not relent. A win over the Knights was ultimately what the Steam went into Armstrong seeking, but what they got was a whole lot more than just a win. The Steam went into Armstrong with a purpose and took over the game as a 20 man unit, with all 4 lines and 6 defensemen making noteworthy contributions to the cause in a 3-1 victory.
Not only are the Steam getting the results they want on the scoreboard early in this 2014/15 KIJHL Season, but perhaps more importantly they seem to be making themselves extremely hard to play against. This is a trait that some may discount but in the Okanagan Division with the likes of the Kelowna Chiefs, North Okanagan Knights, Princeton Posse, and powerhouse Osoyoos Coyotes opposing them in 32 of 52 games, stiffness and resiliency are perhaps the 2 most important traits a team can develop.
In the first five games of this young KIJHL Season, the boys from Summerland have put up a 4-1 record and looked impressive in all five games. They've used their size and speed to impose their will on their opponents thus far, and all 12 forwards have been successful in creating offense. They've been able to outshoot their opponent in four of five games, the only oddity coming in a 5-0 victory over Kamloops where Brett Huber stopped 43 to put his first 'goose egg' of the season on the board.
Oddly enough, for all the offense that the Steam have created thus far this season, not a single Steam defenseman has recorded a point to date. They have, however, done a great job shutting down their own zone in front of their goaltenders and making sure the puck clears the zone on the first attempt. They'll surely look to do the same when the Knights enter the Summerland Arena for the 2nd of 2 meetings this week on Saturday night. Expect to see Brett Huber back in goal for the Steam after Coach Depourcq gave the veteran a well-deserved night off in favor of Alex Kong on Wednesday evening.
The puck drops this Saturday at 7:30 from the Summerland Arena, and tickets are just $10 at the door or $10 in advance at Nesters Market in downtown Summerland. If you can't make it in person, you can follow along with us on Twitter (@SteamKIJHL) or on KIJHL.ca with myself and Mike Swanson on the webcast with pre-game starting about 7:25!