It didn't start how you want a road game to start for Summerland, as Kelowna was awarded a penalty shot just :40 into the hockey game. Braeden Cyra was the recipient of the call after being taken down on his way to the net, and made no mistake on the free chance to give his team the lead. Cyra made a backhand-forehand move and beat Steam goaltender Spencer Huff high to the glove side for his 10th of the season.
Summerland was on their heels from the get go, and was unable to muster a shot on net until the 11:00 mark of the period when something woke them up. After that first shot, the Steam took the pressure to the Chiefs and outshot them 12-10 in the period. Summerland was able to get on the board at 8:58 when they capitalized on a defensive turnover. Braden Eliuk was the recipient of the gift in the Chiefs' zone and he was able to beat Chiefs goaltender Chris Turner. Unfortunately, his shot hit the post and came straight to Cole Woodliffe, who buried his 19th of the season to tie the game at 1.
Both teams had their chances in the period, and both teams had their fair share of rough stuff take place as well. Both Chris Turner and Spencer Huff ended up below piles of bodies in the period and each team had a couple of chances on the powerplay without any luck.
The second period started much like the first with Kelowna pressuring. They were rewarded with a goal thanks to newly returned Nick Josephs, who walked in and wired a shot past Spencer Huff. Braeden Cyra then extended the lead just 4 minutes later while shorthanded. Josephs was the guy who made it happen, making several moves before passing to a wide open Cyra for the goal.
Josephs would add another late in the 2nd period after Nelson Hurry was assessed a 5 minute major and a game misconduct. Josephs' goal, his 2nd of the night and 3rd point, came in the middle of that powerplay to extend the Chiefs' lead to 3. The Chiefs' took the lead in shots as well, firing 15 at Spencer Huff in the 2nd period while Summerland only mustered 8.
Whatever was said in the Summerland dressing room during the 2nd intermission seemed to work in the third period. Summerland showed some jump coming out of the break and got 2 quick goals from Braden Eliuk and Cody Egilson to close the gap to 4-3. This would be as close as they got, however, as despite a late game push to get the game tied Josh Kobelka secured a Kelowna victory with an empty netter to make the final score 5-3 Chiefs.
A 5-3 score is a little flattering for the Summerland Steam on this night, as they allowed Kelowna's top line to run wild all over the place and combine for 9 points in the victory. Braeden Cyra led the way with 5 (2g, 3a) while Nick Josephs chipped in with 3 (2g, 1a).
For much of the night Summerland was not sharp, although they did get themselves together and make a great comeback effort late in the 3rd period.
- This is the first meeting of the season that didn't end with a Summerland victory. In 4 previous meetings the Steam had been victorious in all of them:
Sept 12: 6-2 Steam (in Summerland)
Oct 24: 5-2 Steam (in Summerland)
Nov 28: 6-4 Steam (in Summerland)
Dec 9: 3-2 Steam (In Kelowna)
- A shorthanded goal by Braeden Cyra in the 2nd period of tonight's contest was the first shorthanded marker the Steam have given up this season. They were the last team in the KIJHL to have a 0 in the shorthanded goals against column heading into tonight's game.
- Cole Woodliffe, Jack Mills and Braden Eliuk were once again Summerland's best line on the night. Eliuk finished with 2 pts (1g, 1a) while Woodliffe finished with a goal and Mills' finished with an assist.
- Nick Gnazdowsky had a good night against his former team, recording an assist on a third period goal by Cody Egilson.
- Spencer Huff was outstanding once again, stopping 32 shots in the loss. Many of those 32 saves were of the miraculous variety and kept his team in the game at key moments. Huff allowed 4 on the night, including a penalty shot just :20 seconds into the game as well as 2PP goals.
- Special Teams was the killer for the Steam on this night, as they allowed 2 powerplay goals and a shorthanded goal in a 5-3 loss. They also went 0-fer on the powerplay, despite having several chances.
- Josephs 2nd period goal came on a 5 minute powerplay after Nelson Hurry was shown the gate for high sticking. Hurry received 5 and a game for the infraction and Kelowna didn't hesitate to cash in when they were given the opportunity.
- ** Nick Josephs IS the Kelowna Chiefs offense. It was a stark contrast to what we've seen in the previous 4 meetings between these two teams. When he wasn't on the ice for the Chiefs in this game the puck spent the majority of the night in the Steam's offensive zone, but when he was, the Steam weren't ready for him. He was an integral part of the Chiefs' attack and he and Braeden Cyra ran roughshod over the Steam on this night.
- Chris Turner was sharp when called upon, stopping 27 shots for the Chiefs in the victory.
Summerland will go back to the drawing board in preparation for their next game which comes Friday night. They host the North Okanagan Knights at 7:30 at the Summerland Arena before heading to Oliver to play the Osoyoos Coyotes at 1:35 on Sunday afternoon. Their next meeting with the Chiefs will come a week from this coming Sunday. That game goes on January 25th at 7PM from the Rutland Arena.