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Saturday, 21 February 2015


Jarrett Malchow celebrates with linemates
Riley Pettitt, Wyatt gale, Adam Jones & Lathan
McKinney after Malchow's Game winning goal
in Game 1 vs Kelowna.
Photo: Sarah Mayer (
There really is nothing better than playoff hockey, and the Summerland Steam and the Kelowna Chiefs proved that Friday night. In a wild game that saw swings in momentum, shots on net, and even swings of sticks, the home team managed to come away with a 3-2 victory.

Both teams got the good start they were undoubtedly looking for to start Game 1 of the playoffs, combining for 15 shots in the first 8 minutes of the hockey game. Both got early powerplays as well but were unsuccessful in the department of conversion. 

After some back and forth action to both ends of the ice and some good saves from both goaltenders, Summerland got on the board first. Kendell Wilson opened the scoring for the Steam at 8:51 of the first period after a sharp shot from Nelson Hurry created a rebound in front of Chiefs' goaltender Chris Turner. Turner made a great save on the initial shot off the wing but kicked a rebound into the slot where Wilson was waiting to hammer home the rebound. This gave the home team the lead as the building erupted, but the elation did not last long. 

Just :31 after the Wilson opener, Kelowna would equalize on a goal from recent University of Central Oklahoma commit, Ethan Rusnack. After Kelowna went to work in the offensive zone the puck was cycled back to the point by Braeden Cyra. He found Cole De Jonge with a pass, and CDJ sent a low, hard shot towards the Summerland net. Rusnack was there to put a good tip on the puck to beat Steam goaltender Brett Huber and tie the game at 1. 

Rusnack would thrust his team into the driver's seat in the 2nd period, recording his second of the game with just over 7 minutes to play. The goal was a beauty as Rusnack took the puck off the stick of his goaltender Chris Turner, and burned 2 Steam defenders wide down the right wing. He then took a shot low to the blocker side of Huber going post and in to give Kelowna their 2-1 lead. 

That score would hold through most of the third period as both teams took a couple of penalties but went 0-fer on the powerplay. Summerland ended up 9/9 on the PK in Game 1 while also getting a powerplay goal. That goal was the one that tied the game with 5:50 to play in the third period, coming off the stick of Daylan Robertson. 

Robertson was the benefactor of a home-town bounce, and poked a puck past Chris Turner in the Kelowna net to tie the game at 2. Paulsen Lautard started the play with a dump in from just outside the Kelowna blue line. Whether it was on purpose or by accident, the puck clamored off the end boards and straight back out front where Robertson beat Kelowna defender Josh Johnston to it and poked it in to tie the score. 

Just as we were talking about what the tie meant for Summerland and what they should be focused on, they took the lead. It took :41 seconds after the tying goal from Robertson for the Yukon Line to strike gold below the Kelowna goal line. The line of Jarrett Malchow, Wyatt Gale and Riley Pettitt have been Summerland's best forecheckers all season long, and they caused havoc behind the Kelowna net again on Friday. 

After some good work by Wyatt Gale on the corner boards he got the puck to Pettitt on the cycle. Pettitt then motored, as he does, behind the net. Just when it looked like he was going to go all the way behind the net he fed a pass out from the left post of Chris Turner, right onto the stick of a waiting Jarrett Malchow. Malchow made no mistake, notching what would stand to be the game winner with 5:09 left on the clock.

After the goal by Malchow, Summerland did a good job to lock things down in their own zone and contain the pushback from Kelowna. As the Chiefs tried to tie the game Summerland continued to not allow them time and space, and were able to clear the puck out of danger when necessary. Daylan Robertson then won a defensive zone faceoff with 1.9 seconds remaining to seal the victory. 


- Brett Huber was far and away the best player for Summerland on the night. He made 29 saves in the victory, including several big saves on penalty kills in the 2nd period. 

- Summerland's best line on the night was the Yukon line of Jarrett Malchow, Riley Pettitt and Wyatt Gale. They were hard on the forecheck all night long and went to the "dirty areas" to make plays in all 3 zones. 

- Ethan Rusnack was Kelowna's best player on the night, followed closely by defenceman Kevin Roth. Roth had a shot sneak through Brett Huber early in the game only to be cleared away by Michael McEachern before it crossed the goal line. Roth is Kelowna's best and most mobile defenseman, skating smoothly with the ability to get the puck up ice in a real hurry. 

- Things got a little hacky and whacky at the end of the 2nd period after Riley Pettitt fell on a puck off a faceoff and was speared. Jack Mills took exception and got a spear in the guts for his trouble as well from the Chiefs' Braeden Cyra. No penalties were doled out on the play and thankfully tempers calmed before the start of the third period. 

- Mills was active for Summerland all night, buzzing around the offensive zone with linemates Cole Woodliffe and Braden Eliuk. Mills and Dakota Kittle got into it late in the third, having a bit of a wrestling match in the corner to the left of Chiefs' tender Chris Turner. Referee Ryan Le Sage gave them both a double minor for roughing instead of a fighting major, meaning both are eligible to play in Game 2 on Saturday

- Chiefs' defender Carter Melnyk was given 2 minutes for cross checking and a 10 minute misconduct in the final 10 minutes of play that led to the Robertson tying goal for Summerland. He was assessed the penalty after extending his arms and stick into the back of Braden Eliuk, sending Eliuk to the ice with some force. Melnyk will be eligible to play in Game 2. 


After an extremely entertaining Game 1, we move on to Game 2. The second of this Best of 7 goes Saturday night in Summerland, presented by our friends at Ultimate Hockey & Skate. They'll have some fun prizes to give away and "The Fuzz" will be on hand as well! 

 Puck drop is 7:30 and you can catch the pregame show with myself (hopefully my voice is back to 100%), Mike Swanson and Joel Barg prior to puck drop at 7:15.