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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

'ALL GOOD THINGS COME TO AN END' ...TIED.

Cole Woodliffe drives towards the net of Osoyoos Coyotes Goaltender Brett Soles
on January 27th at the Summerland Arena.
Photo Credit: Sarah Mayer (shotsbysarah.tumblr.com)
It started tied, and somewhat fittingly through 70 minutes of heart-stopping action it ended tied. The display of skill put on by the Summerland Steam and the Osoyoos Coyotes last night at the Summerland Arena was nothing more than a showcase of how good KIJHL hockey can be. There were no outlandish actions from either side, no cheap post-whistle altercations, and thankfully no controversy, just good hockey at a furious pace.

For the first time this season the two teams were truly worried about nothing more than pushing each other to the brink of defeat, and the fans reaped the rewards. In past games when things were tight they were also nasty between these two bitter rivals, but on Tuesday night in a game that ended in a 2-2 draw they were hellbent on getting the best out of one another.

GAME RECAP


In the keys to the game on our broadcast, which we normally have 3 of, we only had one: Discipline. It didn't go for just one team, but both, and they didn't disappoint. Each team received just 2 powerplays in a game that was played clean, fast, and physical. Referee Ryan Le Sage did a good job of drawing the line early and making sure he had control of his game from the very beginning. Only one penalty was called in a period that had few whistles, no scoring, and took only 23 minutes to play. 

Osoyoos opened the scoring in the second period nearly 13:00 minutes in after a Cody Allen shot popped into the slot off the chest of Brett Huber in the Summerland goal. Judd Repole was there for Osoyoos and he beat a Steam defender to the puck before making a move to Huber's left and sliding it in for his 4th of the season. Allen would draw the primary assist while 'Yotes newcomer Bailey Shaver was credited the 2nd assist. 

Summerland would knot things up with just over 1:00 to play in the period as a scramble in front of the net resulted in 3 Steam players banging away at rebounds. 'Yotes goaltender Brett Soles had trouble with his glove and couldn't corral the initial shot but made 2 saves on the doorstep before Braden Eliuk banged the puck into the net for his 9th of the season. Cole Woodliffe and Tyson Klingspohn would draw assists on the equalizer.

The home team came out in the third looking to build on a good finish to the second, but gave up a breakaway just :22 in. Aaron Azevedo, the 'Yotes leading scorer, found his way behind the Summerland defense but was thwarted by Brett Huber awaiting him at the top of the crease. Azevedo made a good move, but Huber didn't bite on the fake and followed across to make the stop.

Just :32 after the breakaway save by Huber the Steam jumped ahead on the scoreboard. Braden Eliuk would net his second of the night on a turnaround shot from the slot that caromed off the stick of a Coyotes defender and climbed behind Brett Soles. Eliuk's 10th of the season looked to be the winner as Summerland did a good job of locking things down and even taking the pace to the Coyotes in the middle of the third period. 

As the clock wound down Osoyoos turned the tide and brought the pressure to the Summerland end of the ice. With 8:31 to play on the clock the Coyotes got a break as Troy Maclise got behind the Summerland defense. Maclise is the fastest player in the KI bar none and it looked as though he was off to the races 1-on-1 with Brett Huber, but Adam Jones somehow tracked him down. Jones did all he could to erase the breakaway attempt, but took a penalty in the process.
There is no doubt that referee Ryan Le Sage SHOULD have awarded Maclise a penalty shot as it was a clear cut breakaway that ended with no shot on goal. Instead he assessed Jones 2 minutes for tripping, and the league's 3rd best powerplay went to work. It took them nearly 1:30, but it finally clicked for the Coyotes when Troy Maclise curled off the left wing wall and placed a sharp wrist shot over the far side shoulder of Huber to tie the game at 2 with 7:08 to play. 

Both teams had their chances in the final minutes to win the game, but to no avail. This game was destined for OT from the beginning and was only fitting that each team got a point and the right to try and earn the extra. 

Despite back and forth action through 5 minutes of 4-on-4 and 5 minutes of 3-on-3, we finished tied when the final buzzer sounded after 70 minutes. In the 10 minutes of overtime I'd venture a guess that each team had 3 quality chances to end it, but good defensive work from both sides kept the score tied. 

These two teams will go at it one more time this season, February 13th at 7:30 at the Summerland Arena. 

THOUGHTS


- Summerland has not seen a faster team than the Osoyoos Coyotes this season. Not only are the 'Yotes fast, but they're big and skilled, making them extremely difficult to contain. I thought Summerland did an outstanding job of keeping them to the outside last night and shutting down passing lanes down low in the defensive zone.

- Not only are they fast, but the Osoyoos Coyotes are big, particularly on the blue line. All of Cody Allen, Daryl Senholt and Daniel Stone stand well over 6' tall and all move extremely well for their size. They provide a tough wall at the 'Yotes blue line with a good mix of skill, physicality, and reach. Allen also hit 2 posts in Tuesday night's game, one in each of the second and third periods. 

- Osoyoos did a good job of getting pucks deep and forcing pressure below the Summerland goal line. They were back there all night and looking to make passes to a loose member of the pack in the slot. 

- The Steam did a good job to hold the league's best offense (AVG near 5.00 GPG) to 2 goals and under 30 shots on net. Summerland played a sound defensive game for most of the night and were strong below the goal line to match the tenacity of the Coyotes. 

- I thought, for what it's worth, that Cole Williams was Summerland's best defenseman on the night. He matched against the 'big boys' for Osoyoos most of the night and was strong on both puck and body below the goal line in his own zone.

- I would have liked to have seen Summerland a little more successful on zone exits. At times it looked as though they were a little too excited and didn't realize they had time to move the puck. 

- Both goaltenders were good in this hockey game, particularly late in the third period and in OT. Shot totals were far from high, but quality scoring chances were aplenty and both 'tenders stood tall. Brett Huber made 26 saves on the night while Brett Soles made 21 at the other end for Osoyoos. 

- I thought Tyson Klingspohn had another good game for Summerland. The young man is mired in a scoring slump that reached 20 games on Tuesday night, but has contributed in other ways and had several good chances in that game. The goals are going to come for him if he keeps doing what he's doing. 

WHAT'S NEXT


Summerland will now embark on their final "out-of-division" road trip of the season as they head to Revelstoke on Friday night. The Kelowna Chiefs paid their one and only visit to the Revelstoke Forum on Tuesday night and fell 5-0 at the hands of the Grizzlies, so Summerland will surely look to avoid the same fate. 
The Steam will then return home on Sunday to play the Princeton Posse at 2PM. 

Yes, it's Super Bowl Sunday, but I promise you'll be home in time to watch Katy Perry bounce around at the halftime show!