The game that took place tonight inside the Sun Bowl was much different from that thrashing on October the 13th. Summerland did a much better job of staying away from the penalty box and dictated play for the latter half of the contest, but still came up short on the scoreboard by a score of 5-4.
The Coyotes showed why they are the best team in the KIJHL on this night, as they controlled the puck and spent spells of the first swarming the net of Steam starter Brett Huber. Huber did a good job all night, and particularly early in the 1st period, of keeping his team in the game while they found their legs. The Steam goaltender stopped 14 of the 15 shots that he faced in the first frame, save for a good shot from the 'Yotes Ryan Roseboom which gave the home team a 1-0 lead after 1.
In the second period the Steam came out flying, and scored 2 goals in the first 2 minutes of the period. First it was Cole Woodliffe who found himself on a breakaway and beat the Coyotes' Lawrence Langan to knot the game at 1 just :17 in to the second period. Then it was Lathan McKinney getting in on the action with a rocket of a wrist shot from the right wing that got up and over Langan's left shoulder on the short side to give them Steam their one and only lead of the hockey game at the 17:21 mark of the 2nd period
The lead would last just 3 minutes, however, as Luc Gradisar took a pass on a 2-on-1 from Rainer Glimpel and made a nifty move from forehand to backhand and back again to beat Huber and tie the game back up at 2. The goal was followed closely by another for the Coyotes, as Aaron Azevedo was able to tip a shot through Brett Huber to give the Osoyoos the lead back with 13:48 to go in the 2nd frame.
Once the Coyotes took the lead back, the Steam pushed the pace of play and spent the remainder of the frame circling Lawrence Langan in the Osoyoos crease. With all their hardwork bound to pay off, the captain took things into his own hands. With just over 5 minutes to play in the 2nd period, Paulsen Lautard took a pass through the middle from Wyatt Gale and bullied his way through 3 Coyotes to find himself on a breakaway. Once through, he made a nice move on Langan to open him up and slide the puck through to tie the game at 3.
At the end of the second period we were shaping up for a heck of a third period. The game was tied and the Steam had the momentum going there way after firing nearly 30 shots on net through the first 2 periods. The game would remain tightly contested (and tied) through the first half of the period, but Luc Gradisar broke the tie with his 2nd of the night with a hard wrister from the slot near the halfway point of the period. The 2nd Gradisar goal was followed closely by a goal from Colin Bell, also from the slot, that extended the 'Yotes lead to 5-3.
The Steam would add one off the stick of Cole Woodliffe late in the 3rd as they put on the pressure in the final minutes, but it wouldn't be enough to catch the high-powered Coyotes before the final buzzer.
TIDBITS- In this game there were several bright spots for the Steam despite the end result. It looks as though Lathan McKinney and Michael McEachern have turned into bona-fide top 4 defenseman for the club moving forward, which is something sorely needed for a team that will be without the services of veteran Calvin Hadley for 3 more games due to suspension.
- With some injuries up front it gave the likes of Wyatt Gale, Cody Egilson, and Jarrett Malchow some extra minutes against the top team in the league, and all were noticeable and making positive contributions to the cause despite the end result. It looks as though the Steam will be without the services of Forwards Riley Pettitt and Kendell Wilson for extended periods of time (2-4 weeks minimum for both) heading towards Christmas so there will be minutes up for grabs for guys who step up, and it looks like these three will be the guys that Coach John Depourcq turns to to get the job done.
The Steam won't have long to dwell on the loss to the Division leading Coyotes, as they will host the 2nd place Princeton Posse on Friday night, October 31st, at 7:30 before playing host to the Revelstoke Grizzlies at 2PM on Sunday, November 2nd. Come out and check out both games this weekend as we will be hosting Halloween festivities on Friday night with prizes to be won and candy to be devoured! Family packs are just $20 (2 Adults and up to 4 Kids under 12)!