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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

MCKINNEY SCORES LATE WINNER AS STEAM ROLL ON

After a busy week last week that produced 3 wins and 6 points, the Summerland Steam started another busy week on Tuesday night in Kelowna. Summerland would find out early in the day that they would be without defenseman Alex Williams for the 4th time in 5 games, as well as Rylan Sideroff for the 3rd time in 4 contests. Affiliate Player Sam Jones, from the Okanagan Hockey Academy, would draw in on defense for the Steam and play alongside his brother Adam.

For the Chiefs, a couple of key components were missing from their starting lineup. Defencemen Kevin Roth and Cole De Jonge both missed the contest with upper-body injuries, per play-by-play man Justin McCartney. Nick Josephs also missed Tuesday's contest with the same lower-body injury that has limited him to just 11 BCHL games this season. Josephs has yet to play a game with the Chiefs after re-joining the team on December 1st, but hopes to draw back into the lineup sometime this weekend.

The game at hand on Tuesday was won by the road team, 3-2, and was played completely to the contrary of the season series thus far. There were only 5 minor penlaties taken in the hockey game, no fighting majors, no misconducts, and no visits to angry coaches at either bench from referee Dustin Minty.


GAME RECAP

There really wasn't too much to write home about in the first period of this hockey game. Both teams kept each other in check while going back and forth throughout a period of hard, clean hockey. Both goaltenders were good early, making saves in the first few minutes and getting comfortable inside their respective areas of blue paint.

Brett Huber, the starter for the Steam, faced 13 shots and stopped them all, while Kelowna 'tender Brady Lenardon saw 10. Lenardon was beaten on a late-period 2 on 1 when Jack Mills feathered a pass cross-crease to Cole Woodliffe, who went high into the top corner. Woodliffe's 14th of the season netted the Steam a 1-0 lead headed to the second period. The only penalty of the period came at the 20:00 mark, as Dylan Jamieson took a roughing penalty at the buzzer. 

Starting the 2nd with the powerplay, the Steam weren't able to convert. After the initial 2 minutes with the man advantage the Steam continued to press the Chiefs without any success in finding the back of the net. For the next few minutes there wasn't much flow or even much pace to the game. The pace finally picked up after Brett Huber was forced to make a five-alarm save on a 3-on-1 near the mid-mark of the period. 

After the save, the puck went the other way and Riley Pettitt nearly converted a rebound that popped loose at the side. Pettitt couldn't get enough wood on it though, and the score remained 1-0 until just a couple of minutes later. On a Steam powerplay not long after the Pettitt miss, Cole Woodliffe would convert on his 2nd of the night and 15th of the season to pad the lead for the road team.

After the puck was worked down into the corner, Jack Mills found Woodliffe cruising through the slot and he was able to bury the powerplay marker with a low, hard shot through Brady Lenardon. 

Just a couple of minutes after the Steam took a 2-0 lead, however, Austin Dorn cut the lead back to 1 as he scored for the Chiefs. Dorn moved through the neutral zone with the puck and was able to beat a Steam defender wide. He then was able to move laterally across the crease in front of Brett Huber and tuck a puck five-hole for his third of the season to cut the Steam lead back down to 1.

Riley Pettitt would take a penalty with :10 to play in the period which Summerland would promptly kill off to start the third. After the Steam ratcheted up the pressure again early in the third, Kelowna pulled even against the run of play. Dakota Kittle was the recipient of an angled dump in to the right of Brett Huber, and he was able to find some daylight high over the blocker on the short side to knot things up at 2. 

Despite Kelowna tying the game up, Summerland continued to press as they had before, knowing Huber was there to stand strong when needed behind them. After they completed a powerplay without success, the line of Coleton Fisher, Jarrett Malchow and Cody Egilson spent a solid minute in the offensive zone. This caused Kelowna to panic with the puck and fail to clear, with the puck popping into the slot. While lying there like loose change, Lathan McKinney found himself all alone and walked into the game winner with 8:32 to play in the third. The hard slapper from McKinney beat Lenardon low to the glove side and rounded out the scoring. 

Huber was magnificent late, helping the Steam kill a penalty to Cole Williams with just under 5 to play. He stopped 28 of 30 for the second straight game, and was definitely in consideration for a nod in the 'Stars of the game' category.


GAME THOUGHTS: 

- Brett Huber was great in this game, particularly on a 3 on 1 in the 2nd and late in the third period.

- Cole Woodliffe, Jack Mills and Braden Eliuk continued to roll on and show why Head Coach John Depourcq shows faith in them night in and night out. Woodliffe scored twice while Mills added 2 assists and Eliuk recorded an assist.

- The line of Coleton Fisher, Jarrett Malchow and Cody Egilson are beginning to find some chemistry and were very good (and very noticeable).  stood out for the 3rd or 4th game in a row.

- Michael McEachern showed what he can do with his speed all game long, starting rushes and becoming a catalyst at driving play forward out of the Steam defensive zone.

WHAT'S NEXT


The win for the Steam over the Kelowna Chiefs makes them 4 for 4 in the season series thus far. The two teams won't meet again until January 13th at the Rutland Arena when the season series resumes. The positive result for Summerland makes 4 wins in a row and 9 of their last 10, with the only blemish being the 7-2 loss to the Osoyoos Coyotes. 

The Steam will now have a couple days of practice before playing their only set of back-to-back home games of the season. Those two games come against Doug Birks Division opponents on Friday and Saturday. The Steam host the Chase Heat on Friday night before welcoming the 100 Mile House Wranglers on Saturday, December 13th. Both games are 7:30 starts from 'The Station' and tickets are just $10. You can pick those up in advance at Nesters Market in Summerland, or at the door prior to puck drop!