For the third time in 12 days, the Summerland Steam and Princeton Posse got set to do battle on New Years Eve. For the Posse they were coming off a long break with their last game being December 20th against the Steam. Summerland came in having played on Saturday and Sunday, losing both games in heartbreaking fashion to the league-leading Osoyoos Coyotes. Saturday night saw Summerland defeated by a Troy Maclise powerplay goal with :11 seconds left, while they managed a point on Sunday but ultimately fell short in a 4-3 overtime loss.
The Steam came into Wednesday night's New Years Eve tilt looking to turn the tide on their last two games. Even though they played extremely well against the Coyotes, results are what matters and they didn't get the ones they wanted last weekend. They knew coming in the needed to get back to what they did to make them successful the previous weekend against Princeton before the Holiday Break.
With a 5:30 start looming, both Summerland and Princeton were going to have to break routine and get ready for the early start. Summerland started well in the first five minutes of the hockey game, peppering Stephen Heslop in the Princeton net with shot after shot. Unfortunately they weren't successful in their attempts, and the first goal of the game was scored at the other end on Steam goalie Spencer Huff. The goal was scored by Estevan Hale when he found a lane from the right point and fired a shot up and over Huff for his 5th of the season.
Despite pressure from Summerland, Connor Sloan was able to double the Posse lead before the end of the 1st after the Steam got a little undisciplined. Back to back penalties late in the period allowed Princeton to gain some momentum and with just under 3 minutes to play Sloan located a puck out of a scramble in front of Spencer Huff and deposited his 9th of the season.
In the second the pace stayed the same and the two teams continued to get after each other. Both took a couple of penalties, giving the other powerplay opportunities, but none were succesful. While playing at 4on4 in the middle of the second frame the Posse added to their lead. Jamieson Ree pinched down from the left point to pick up a stray clearing attempt from the Summerland net, spun and fired, surprising Huff and sending the Posse to a 3-0 lead.
The three goal lead wouldn't last long for Princeton, as just over 2 minutes later Cody Egilson was able to locate a rebound and finally beat Posse goaltender Stephen Heslop to cut the lead back down to 2. Egilson's 4th of the season got the Steam a little life and they were able to swarm the zone for the remaining 7 minutes of the period. Unfortunately they were again unsuccessful, and the period would end in a 3-1 Posse lead.
The third period brought a fresh 20 minutes to the clock, but nothing fresh to the hockey game. It was status quo between the Summerland Steam and the Princeton Posse until the 9 minute mark when Connor Wilson collected his first goal (and first point) of the season. A long point shot from Wilson found it's way through a maze of bodies and past Spencer Huff to give the Posse their 3 goal lead back. This time they wouldn't relinquish their 4-1 lead, and despite back and forth action to both ends of the ice the score would show no change when the final buzzer sounded.
The Steam close out the 2014 portion of their schedule on an unfortunate 3 game losing streak, but have played extremely well in all three games. Tonight they put 37 shots on Posse goaltender Stephen Heslop and controlled puck possession for most of the night, but were unable to beat the Posse netminder.
They will now turn their attention to the Sicamous Eagles, who pay their one and only visit to the Summerland Arena on Friday, January 2nd at 7:30 PM. The Steam will then climb back on the bus and go back to Princeton for a 2PM start on Sunday afternoon in meeting #6 of 8 on the season.