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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

STEAM ROLL ON HOME TO HOST THE 'BIRKS DIVISION

Looking at their record, you could say the Summerland Steam head into this weekend's home games on a roll. Coming off a 3-2 win against the Kelowna Chiefs on Tuesday the Steam have won 4 in a row and 9 of their last 10 games. Since November 1st they've recorded just two regulation losses and an overtime loss in 12 games. The boys in red, white and black sit comfortably in 2nd place in the Okanagan Division, with a 9 point lead on the Princeton Posse and a 12 point lead on the 4th place Chiefs. The Steam also have 3 games in hand on the Chiefs heading into weekend play this weekend.

The first opponent staring the Steam in the face are the Chase Heat, who come to the Summerland Arena for their only visit of the year on Friday night. Chase comes in having lost their last game by way of a shutout to the Sicamous Eagles on Wednesday, 4-0.

Summerland hasn't seen Chase yet this season but have something to prove against teams in the Doug Birks Division. As it stands, Summerland has the same amount of losses (3) to the Doug Birks Division as they do to their own Okanagan Division. Pretty impressive from the Okanagan Division standpoint as the only losses they've recorded are to Osoyoos within the division. Having lost to 100 Mile House, Kamloops and Revelstoke already this season, however, the Steam want to change it up quickly and turn their fortunes around. The only victory they've recorded against the Doug Birks Division this season was on the 2nd night of regulation play in a 5-0 blanking of the Kamloops Storm.

In the first meeting of the year with Chase, the Summerland Steam will have to deal with some familiar faces from last season on the Heat roster. Their leading scorers from last year are again their leading scorers this season as Cody Hodges, Connor Venne, and Kaleb Boyle are amongst the top of the list. Logan Mostat will also be a concern for the Steam after switching allegiances from the North Okanagan Knights to the Chase Heat in the offseason. All are above the 20 point plateau for the season, which means Chase will offer up a balanced scoring attack and give the Steam all they can handle in the D-Zone.

For Summerland, there's only one key: Stick to the status quo.

If the Steam continue to do what they've done since November 1st, they're going to be just fine. As previously mentioned, the Steam are on a 4 game winning streak and have won 9 of 10, giving up more than 3 goals on only three occasions during that span. If the boys from the South Okanagan can continue to play a strong game in their own zone, they're going to be just fine.

We won't know until game day who starts in goal for Summerland, but it doesn't really matter if it's Brett Huber or Spencer Huff. Huber has been solid for the past 2 seasons for the Steam and continues to be steady eddy in the Summerland crease, while Huff has been nothing short of great since joining the team.

Alex Williams and Rylan Sideroff will once again be game time decisions for the Steam and everyone else is expected in the lineup come time for puck drop on Friday night.

Game time is 7:30 from the Summerland Arena, and you can catch a full pre-game show with myself and EzRock Summerland's Mike Swanson starting at 7:15. You can catch a more in-depth weekend preview tomorrow morning when I join SoCountry Internet Radio's Dennis Walker at 7:40 for some hockey talk. I'll also join Mike at EzRock on Friday morning for a preview of the game vs the Chase Heat!