On Saturday night the Summerland Steam headed into 'The Eddie' in Invermere to play the Columbia Valley Rockies in the opener of a 2 game road trip through the Kootenays. Rookie goaltender Alex Kong got the call from Coach John Depourcq on this night while Talon Walton manned the space between the red pipes for the Rockies.
After 2 losses last weekend, the Steam came out with a purpose on this night, controlling the majority of the play in the 1st period. After a very solid penalty kill late in the period though, the Steam gave up a goal against the run of play as Doan Smith was able to slip one past Alex Kong to give the Rockies a 1-0 lead. Ryan Lawson and Sam Young would draw assists on Smith's team leading 11th of the season and the Rockies escaped the period with a 1-0 lead despite being outshot 15-6.
In the 2nd frame the Steam exercised their penalty killing skills, as they took several penalties in the early part of the period and spent the better part of 10 minutes in the penalty box. After all the penalty kill did their part in the early part of the period, the offense began to see the fruits of their labour. Summerland worked hard to draw a penalty and used their powerplay to have Jack Mills feed Paulsen Lautard a breakaway pass through the middle of the ice. Lautard took the pass and found himself one-on-one with Rockies goaltender Talon Walton, and Lautard was able to make a move to the backhand and go up under the bar to tie the game at 1.
The lead would be restored just under 5 minutes later, however, as Carter Melnyk took a shot from the point on the powerplay that found it's way to the back of the net to give the Rockies a 2-1 lead. With the Steam trailing, they worked hard to keep the pressure on the Rockies, but failed to convert and ended the 2nd trailing by that same 2-1 score.
In the third it seemed to be all Steam all the time, as they put the throttle down and kept driving shots towards the Columbia Valley net. On a powerplay near the mid-point of the period, Lathan McKinney potted his first KIJHL goal on a Summerland powerplay to tie the game at 2.
After several minutes of relentless pressure from Summerland, the Rockies got a hold of the puck and sent it down the ice. Alex Kong left his crease to play the puck and was pressured by the Rockies. He tried to make a pass across to his defenseman, but it was picked off by Dondre Watson and he put the puck in the yawning cage to give his team the lead with near 8 minutes to go.
As it started to look more and more grim for the Steam, they continued to push towards the final buzzer and get the game tied. With 2:21 left in the third period, Paulsen Lautard collected his third point of the night as he found Cole Woodliffe in the corner. Woodliffe was able to head behind the net and tuck a quick wrap-around in the far side to tie the game at 3 and force overtime.
In OT it was Riley Pettitt who played the hero when a shot from Lautard came off the back boards for Pettitt to jam behind Talon Walton and give the Steam one of those wins that would go in the 'Character' category. This type of win was one the Steam desperately needed after losing 4 of their last 5, and it was the best thing the team could have asked for to have their captain lead them to victory.
Now the Steam will look forward and head to Golden to face the Rockets tomorrow afternoon. You can catch all the action on kijhl.ca with the broadcast crew from Golden. Summerland will return to home ice at The Station on Friday, October 24th when the Kelowna Chiefs pay a visit for a 7:30 start!