The Summerland Steam were just too injury-plagued to defeat the Osoyoos Coyotes.
The Steam were swept from the second round of Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoffs on March 11 with a 2-1 loss at home. Players sustained knee injuries, broken noses, a broken hand, and a separated shoulder. Their captain Alex Williams returned from injury, playing well, then was reinjured by a teammate.
“The good Lord ain’t paying attention here right now, he’s killing me,” joked Steam head coach John DePourcq of what was going through his mind at the time. “It was tough. I’ve never had that many injuries.”
The Steam’s bench boss was proud of his players and how hard they played.
They lost the opening game 5-4 in overtime, then lost Game 2, 2-1. In Game 3, they had a 4-2 lead in the second period before losing 6-4.
“We were in every game. Ken (Law, the Coyotes head coach-GM) has got a great team there in Osoyoos,” said DePourcq. “Can’t take away that we had a great season.”
The Steam was second in the Okanagan Division with 34 wins in 47 games.
DePourcq praised the fact he had a deep lineup. The Steam held their awards banquet on Wednesday.
Cole Williams was named the Best Defenceman; Riley Pettitt the leading scorer after scoring 22 goals and 65 points in 45 games. Brogan Lautard was named Most Sportsmanlike. He spent 18 minutes in the penalty box during the regular season. Calvin Hadley was named the Fan Favourite; while Most Improved went to Morey Babakaiff. Everett Scherger was named the Rookie of the Year; goalie Matt Huber is the regular season Most Valuable Player, while that recognition went to Wyatt Gale in the playoffs. Gale sniped eight goals in 11 playoff games and added four assists.
The Steam is holding their spring camp April 7 to 9. DePourcq said there will be several open roster spots.