The Summerland Steam have advanced to the second round of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoffs with a 3-0 win over the Kelowna Chiefs Tuesday.
The Steam took the series in six games.
After a scoreless first period at Rutland Arena in Kelowna, Michael McEachern netted what would be the winner at 8:24 with assists to Josh Pilon and Jarrett Malchow. With 1:36 left in the period, Braden Eliuk put the Steam up 2-0 as McEachern and Brogan Lautard set him up.
In the third period, Jack Mills sealed the game and series for the visitors with an empty net tally at 2:28. Steam goalie Matthew Kostiw made 25 saves, while Brady Lenardon turned aside 25.
Setting the Steam up to take the series on Tuesday was a 4-3 overtime victory on Monday in Summerland Arena. Summerland came out firing on all cylinders and a great start had them up 2-0 before the game was five minutes old. Josh Pilon opened the scoring, beating Lenardon with a shot from the lower right circle. Riley Pettitt would then pot a pass from Jack Mills on the power play.
It was the third game in a row where the Steam had come out with a 2-0 lead, and for the third game in a row, Kelowna came back. Summerland couldn’t avoid the second period meltdown and it cost them. It took just 44 seconds of play for Jaden McNulty to cut the lead to one. Jonathan Lee tied things up with just over five minutes remaining. The score would stay that way until the Chiefs took a lead 2:46 into the third period. Luke Kalenuik placed a good shot behind Kostiw from the right circle.
The lead would last until 10:33 when Pilon poked the puck through a pile and behind Lenardon to eventually force overtime. Wyatt Gale ended it 5:07 into the first overtime period with a sensational goal scored from his stomach. Gale took a pass from Adam Jones in the neutral zone and made a move around the Kelowna defender standing in front of him. The Kelowna D-man did a good job to separate Gale from the puck, but Gale pushed through to end up right in front of Lenardon in the Kelowna net. While being taken down, Gale was able to get enough of the rolling puck to chip it past Lenardon.
The Steam will now face the Osoyoos Coyotes on the road starting Saturday. The Steam hosts the Coyotes on March 8 and 9 at the Summerland Arena at 7:30 p.m. Should the series reach a sixth game, Summerland hosts on March 13 at 6:30 p.m.
-With files from Trolley Talk