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Saturday, 25 October 2014


Coming into Friday nights game between the Summerland Steam and the Kelowna Chiefs at the Summerland Arena, we saw two teams on different trajectories. Kelowna was trying to get themselves back together after losing their previous 5 while Summerland wanted to keep the trolley on the rails after getting back to their winning ways in the Kootenays last weekend. In these divisional games with how little these teams care for each other it often comes down to discipline, and on this night the Special Teams battle would determine the outcome of the contest.

The festivities got started even before the opening puck drop on this Friday night, as at the end of warmup a pane of glass in behind the Kelowna net burst all over the ice after being hit with a shot. The delay got us off to a late start, not dropping the puck until near 7:45 local time. From that opening puck drop, the Summerland Steam knew they were going to be up against it with a tough opponent in their building. They were without 4 regulars to start the game and dressed just 15 skaters in what turned out to be a 5-2 victory.


Once we finally got the puck dropped on this hockey game after a delay to fix the glass, the pace was immediately turned up to 10 as both teams came out flying. In the first 5 minutes of the hockey game the teams combined for 8 shots and 7 hits while keeping the pace of play at a high level. After the opening five minutes, the Steam took over the first period and spent the majority of the rest of the period in the offensive zone. They didn't make starting goaltender Brett Huber work too hard in the first as he ended up facing only 6 shots. Josh Shank in the Kelowna net, on the other hand, faced 13 and was under siege for much of the period. He made several key saves in the early part of the 1st, but was finally beaten by the line of Jack Mills, Braden Saretsky and Braden Eliuk with 5:59 to play in the frame. After some good work in the offensive zone it was Jack Mills who circled out of the corner and found Braden Saretsky out front. Instead of shooting from a great shooting position, Saretsky slid it over to Eliuk at the side of a yawning cage who tucked it in for his first KIJHL goal to give the Steam a 1-0 lead.  

They would extend the lead to two just before the end of the period, as a Cole Williams shot found a seam on the powerplay and went up and over the outstretched glove of Josh Shank to make it 2-0 and donate another $10 to KidSportBC thanks to Subway Restuarants of BC.

With Summerland up 2-0 heading to the second, it was all Kelowna early on in the period. Nicholas Gnazdowsky and Jonathan Lee both had good chances early in the period but were thwarted by Huber, who was sharp despite the light first period work load. As things moved along in the 2nd period there were no goals to speak of, but lots of back and forth action. With 8:46 to play in the period the Steam were given a 5 minute powerplay as Austin Braid was given the gate and an early shower after he ran Brett Huber straight through the back of the net while the puck was in the corner. He and Huber both ended up inside the net as the net rested against the end boards, but both seemed uninjured as the crowd cleared and Braid was sent off.

Unfortunately the Steam couldn't get much going on the extended man advantage, and what they did have going for them was snuffed out by three five-alarm saves from Josh Shank in the Kelowna net. There was one particular instance where a puck went on net from the Steam defense and tipped by Riley Pettitt, but Shank shot out his left pad to stop the attempt. Pettitt then picked up his own rebound at the side and tried to lift it over the outstretched Shank, but out of nowhere came the glove hand of the Kelowna netminder to make a wonderful windmill glove save. 

As good as Shank was in the 2nd period for Kelowna, Summerland was able to solve him near the end of the period. Paulsen Lautard took a pass from Lathan McKinney in his own zone and sped up the right wing where he found a spot on the short side and beat Shank to give the Steam a 3-0 lead after 2 periods. 

The third period started much like the 2nd, with Kelowna controlling runs of play for minutes at a time and Brett Huber standing tall in the Steam crease. Huber was good in this game, but was beaten twice from the slot in the third period. Kelowna's first goal came at the 16:43 mark of the third off the stick of Braeden Cyra, who was left open in the slot as Steam defenders ran around their own zone. Then, just over 8 minutes later it was Kelowna's Josh Baird who beat Huber with a sweet shot from about 35 feet through a screen to cut the Steam lead to 3-2. 

It looked as though the Chiefs were going to make their comeback complete until a bad bounce ended their bid with 4:43 to go in the 3rd. Nelson Hurry, who hadn't scored a goal in nearly two full seasons, dumped a puck hard into the Kelowna zone. It bounced off the back boards, off the back of goaltender Josh Shank's left leg, and crawled its way into the net to restore a 2 goal lead for the Steam.

Clearly frustrated that the comeback bid was going to fall short, Kelowna's Braeden Cyra took a cheap shot at Summerland's Braden Eliuk, cutting across in front of Eliuk and getting his elbow up under his chin. For his trouble he was assessed a 2 minute minor and a 10 minute misconduct for Head Contact by referee Devin Samaddar, and Summerland didn't waste any time with their powerplay. Just 7 seconds into it, Alex Williams was able to tip a shot from Paulsen Lautard to give the home team a 5-2 lead and round out the scoring for the night.

Paulsen Lautard recorded a goal and 2 assists on the night to put himself in a tie for the league scoring lead while Braden Eliuk and Braden Saretsky recorded 2 points each for the Steam in the win. 

On this particular night Summerland started with a short bench, dressing only 15 skaters. Rylan Sideroff and Calvin Hadley missed the contest due to suspension, while Kendell Wilson sat out with a lower body injury and Cole Woodliffe was picked up for the weekend as an AP for the West Kelowna Warriors.

As short as the bench was to start the game, it got even shorter for the Steam at points in this game. They went a stretch in the 2nd period without forward Wyatt Gale after a hard hit from Kelowna's Austin Dorn, and then spent most of the 3rd period without forward Riley Pettitt. Pettitt took a hard shoulder-to-shoulder hit from Chiefs' Captain Anthony Ruggiero on the boards and missed the remainder of the game. Pettitt was being re-evaluated postgame and an update will come as soon as we have it, but the initial consensus was an upper-body injury that could sideline him for a couple of weeks at minimum.

The Steam will now head to Osoyoos on Wednesday night, October 29th to face the 1st Place Coyotes before returing home to play the Princeton Posse on Friday night, October 31. During that home game there will be some great prizes to be won from our friends at Nesters Market, Spud Bros Concession, and the Best Western Inn at Penticton! DON'T FORGET TO DRESS UP!