After a big win over the Kelowna Chiefs on Friday night, the Summerland Steam came up short against the Osoyoos Coyotes on Saturday by a score of 7-2. The score looks ugly, but the game was anything but that. Both teams skated well early on, but you could see the disdain the teams had for each other as they combined to give one another 19 powerplays in the game. It ended with Summerland 2 for 10 with the man advantage, while Osoyoos went 4 for 9. It was a very tightly played game until midway through the third period when the Coyotes scored their 4th powerplay goal of the night to make the game 7-2. Any night you allow the best powerplay in the KIJHL NINE powerplay opportunities and they score on four of them, it's going to be a long night. The Summerland Steam found this out the hard way, and dropped the 7-2 decision without a whole lot of push back on the scoreboard.
The Steam did score both of their goals on the powerplay, but it clearly wasn't enough to beat the best in the league. On a positive note though, new addition Tyson Klingspohn made his debut with the Steam wearing #19, and scored the 2nd goal of the game. Brett Huber got the start for the Steam and allowed six before giving way to Spencer Huff midway through the third period. He'll look to bounce back Tuesday when he likely makes his next start against the North Okanagan Knights.
After the loss Saturday that halted a 5 game win streak for the Steam, they'll be looking to start another one on Tuesday night when they host the lowly Knights. North Okanagan comes into Tuesday night's action with a 4-22-1-2 record, 11 points, and currently sit in the basement of both the Okanagan Division and the KIJHL. Having said this, the Steam are surely not going to take them lightly. The two teams have played three times so far this season, with Summerland winning all three by a combined score of 13-3 (3-1 Sept 24, 6-1 Sept 27, 4-1 Nov 9). All three games have been hard fought, tough hockey games that have seen Summerland tested considerably at both ends of the ice at certain points in games. The only game never in doubt was the 6-1 win on September 27th.
Looking over stats, there doesn't seem to be too many positives for the Knights this season, as they've had a pretty tough time in a very tough division. They sit 20th in the KIJHL in Goals For, Goals Against, and Powerplay %. One positive this season for the Knights has been their penalty kill, which sits 4th in the KIJHL at 86.36%. The statistic that caught my eye, though, was the opportunities on Special Teams.
On both sides of the Special Teams battle, there has been a disparity in opportunities for the Knights. They play a rough and tumble brand of hockey, and that might contribute to the spike in numbers that sees them lead the KIJHL in both man-up and man-down situations. They've been a man down 220 times through 29 games this season. That's 37 more times than the next team in line (Castlegar), and is 71 more times than Summerland has been shorthanded this season.
In the KIJHL as a whole, the Knights have also had more Powerplay Opportunities (205) than any other team. Nelson sits 2 behind them, and then there is a gap of 48 powerplay opportunities before you get to the third place team, the Spokane Braves. Summerland sits with almost half the powerplay opportunities as the Knights do, sitting 18th in the league with just 120 powerplay opportunities. As many opportunities as the Knights have had with their powerplay so far this season, they've only been operating at a clip of 9.27% with the man advantage, which has them sitting 20th in the KIJHL.
As determined by the numbers, it's going to be important for the Steam to keep themselves either at five on five or on the powerplay as much as possible. This seems to be a key in our pregame show every single night, but it's always an important one and it's once again important heading into this game.
Calvin Hadley will return from suspension on Tuesday night, and Alex Williams will be a game-time decision.
These two teams will see each other twice this week, once on Tuesday and again in Armstrong at Nor-Val on Sunday afternoon. Faceoff on Tuesday night is 7:30PM at the Summerland Arena, and you can catch the pregame show about 7:20 hopefully with some audio from Head Coach John Depourcq.