|Teammates Celebrate with Braden Eliuk after his 5th|
goal of the season during a game vs the Creston Valley
Thunder Cats on November 21st.
Photo Credit: Sarah Mayer
With a minor hockey team from Whitehorse in the house to watch the game, Head Coach John Depourcq was able to put the 'Yukon Connection' back together. It had been a few weeks since the line of Jarrett Malchow, Riley Pettitt and Wyatt Gale had been together as injuries and illness ran rampant through the Summerland Steam dressing room, but coach Depourcq was rewarded pretty much right away en route to a 4-3 Summerland victory.
It didn't take long for the boys from Whitehorse to connect on a pretty scoring play, as just 1:05 into the hockey game Riley Pettitt would get on the board with his 5th of the season. After Wyatt Gale stripped a puck off a Creston defender he started in on a 3-on-1 with both Malchow and Petttitt. Gale came down the right wing looking like he was going to shoot, but instead elected to drop to Pettitt who had a wide open net and made no mistake.
With a 1-0 lead, Summerland didn't let up as they kept the pressure on the Creston net. With all the pressure in the Creston defensive zone, the Thunder Cats were able to break up the ice twice on odd man rushes just under a minute a part and were rewarded on both opportunities. First it was Nicholas Kovacik, who was able to convert on a bad bounce off a Steam defender that fell straight to him. Shortly after the Kovacik tally it was Carson Cartwright getting in on the action on a powerplay as he was able to take a pass and backhand one past Steam goaltender Brett Huber to give his team a 2-1 lead after the 1st period.
In the second the flow of play was very back and forth as both teams had their chances in the early half of the period. Finally it was the 'Cats captain, Marcel Fuchs, who was able to locate a rebound and poke it past Brett Huber with just over 8 minutes to go to give his team a 2 goal lead.
As nice as the 2 goal cushion was for Creston, it didn't last long, as Summerland was able to bring themselves back within one on a powerplay thanks to Braden Eliuk's 4th of the year. Off a won draw in the offensive zone, Cole Woodliffe took a low, hard shot from the point that created a rebound. The rebound off the pads of Creston goaltender Brock Lefebvre sat in the slot waiting for someone to go get it, and Eliuk was that guy. He walked into a shot and ripped it top corner to cut the deficit back to 1 with 5:53 to go in the 2nd period.
Not long after the Eliuk goal, it looked as though Cole Woodliffe had tied the hockey game on a wrap-around, but the goal was disallowed due to the net being off. With the non-goal, the score would stay 3-2 in favor of the Thunder Cats headed to the third period.
Facing a one goal deficit, the Summerland Steam came out in the third period ready to work. Through several minutes of unimpeded pressure, the Steam had plenty of opportunity but no finish. This was until the 12:11 mark of the third when a failed shot attempt from Riley Pettitt fluttered into the corner. Pettitt was able to retrieve the puck himself and force it out front of the net, where Wyatt Gale was waiting with his stick on the ice to bury his 5th of the season and tied the game at 3.
With the game tied, the Steam didn't let up the pressure. They continued to hang around the Thunder Cats' zone and put shots on Brock Lefebvre, but Lefebvre stood tall in the crease and made a couple of very strong saves to keep the game tied.
The game turned with about 9 minutes remaining in the 3rd when Lien Miller-Jeannotte took exception to a hit on the boards from Nelson Hurry and came back with a blatant cross check to the numbers. He was given 2 minutes for interference on the play as well as a 10-minute misconduct on his way to the penalty box that ended his night.
The powerplay gave Summerland some momentum, and they were given another powerplay at the tail end of the first one thanks to another hit from behind. This one came on Riley Pettitt courtesy of Jackson Bruce-Fuoco, and even though they couldn't capitalize on the first penalty, the Steam were able to take the lead on the second powerplay.
It didn't take long for Summerland to capitalize, just 23 seconds, as Jack Mills was able to tip a Cole Woodliffe shot from the point down through the pads of Brock Lefebvre to give the Steam the 4-3 lead, which would stand as the final score.
The Steam got a full team effort once again on this night, as everyone chipped in and did their part in the victory. They will now turn their attention to the Princeton Posse, as they travel to the Similkameen valley on Saturday night. The win on Friday pushed the Steam to within 1 point of the 2nd place Posse and Summerland will carry 3 games in hand through Saturday night's game in Princeton.
The Steam come into Saturday's divisional contest on 3 game winning streak, while Princeton lost on Friday night, 2-1 at the hands of the Kamloops Storm. Puck drop is 7PM at the Princeton and District Arena.
**NOTE - If you're watching the webcast from Princeton tonight, it sounds like they will not have a play-by-play man, just sounds of the game.