On Saturday night the Summerland Steam played host to the North Okanagan Knights for the first time since the 2013/14 KIJHL Playoffs. It was the second meeting of the season between the Knights and the Steam, the first coming this past Wednesday in Armstrong, resulting in a 3-1 Steam victory. That game in Armstrong was a fast paced, entertaining game to watch, but this one was nothing of that sort.
The Steam would get the scoring started early in this one as Easton Bodeaux would wind up from the point and blast a shot past Knights' starter Mitch Profeit on the powerplay just 2:05 into the hockey game. Kendell Wilson would add another a little later in the period, with 3:04 to go, as he exited the penalty box and took a pass from Alex Williams. This sprung Wilson on a breakaway, and he was able to rifle a shot up and over Profeit's blocker into the top corner to extend the Steam's lead to 2.
In the second period it was all Steam once again. Much like the first period, the Steam spent a fair amount of time on the powerplay and even though they were not rewarded with a goal in the first 10 minutes, they carried the bulk of the play and created good scoring opportunities.
After the Steam carried the run of the play for the first half of the second period, North Okanagan finally solved Steam starter Brett Huber on a powerplay, as Layne Greene was able to take a puck that jumped off the back boards and lift it up and into the Steam net to cut the lead to 1.
The Steam would restore their lead, however, as Paulsen Lautard would tally his first of 2 on the night after taking a shot from Calvin Hadley off the end boards and depositing it behind Mitch Profeit.
Lautard would then score his second of the night just a couple of minutes later, while shorthanded, as he took the puck off a Knights' defender and went in all alone on Profeit. Lautard had no problem finding a hole to make it 4-1 Steam, which spelt the end for Mitch Profeit on this night. Brady Lenardon would take over in the Knights' goal for the remainder of the contest.
Once the score was 4-1, and it seemed as though the Summerland Steam were in complete control, the Knights began to take liberties. Sticks to the body came with more velocity and intent, checks were finished whether they were blatantly from behind or not, and there seemed to be a complete disregard for the rules in general.
Heading to the third period the Steam were looking to keep their foot on the gas pedal, and they did so adding 2 more goals from Calvin Hadley and Jack Mills in the third period as the game became more and more ugly and more penalties were being doled out by referee Kevin Crowell.
The Steam did a good job on this night of keeping their heads on a swivel and ensuring that nobody ended up hurt at the end of the contest. They very easily could have been heading to the Kootenays next weekend with several players injured if they had not been paying attention to exactly what was going on on the ice.
A perfect example of 'keeping your head up' came from Jarrett Malchow late in the third period. As he was fighting for the puck with 2 Knights on the right wing boards, Knights' forward Dallas Keller came clear across the ice from the left wing looking to send Malchow through the glass and into the front row from behind. Luckily, Malchow noticed him at the last minute and was able to duck away from most of the hit, sending Keller first into the glass, and then to the shower after the referees decided he was finished for the evening.
In all, it shook out as a 6-1 win for the Summerland Steam, who move to 5-1 on the season. They will now turn their attention to the road as they head to the Kootenays next weekend to play Kimberly on Friday night, Fernie on Saturday night, and Creston Valley on Sunday afternoon. They will return home again 2 week from Sunday on October 12th for a 2pm start vs the Kamloops Storm. The Steam will also play Monday afternoon at 1PM vs the Osoyoos Coyotes!