The Summerland Steam are riding a three-game winning streak as they host the North Okanagan Knights Friday.
The Knights, two wins, four losses, a tie and an overtime loss, visit Summerland Arena with puck drop at 7:30 p.m.
“I know North Okanagan is going to come into our barn and they are always a hard working team,” said Steam coach John DePourcq.
The Steam coach added if his players match the Knights intensity, their talent gives the Steam an opportunity to win. The Steam, with eight wins in 10 games to start the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season, are always facing new challenges according to DePourcq.
“If we do those little things, and do them well, we stand a chance to hopefully win a hockey game,” said DePourcq. “It’s just preparing our group of the way we need to play.”
Currently the Steam own the second best record in the KIJHL at 8-2-0, one point behind the Grand Forks Border Bruins, at 8-3-0-1.
It’s the first meeting between the team and the Knights. On Saturday, the Steam travel south on Highway 97 to face the Osoyoos Coyotes, 5-3-1, at 7:35 p.m. In their last meeting, the Coyotes won 4-2. DePourcq vividly remembers watching his players outshoot them 32-18, while hitting three cross bars and a post.
“I have been very happy with how the boys are playing. That talent is competing,” he said. “That’s been a big key to our early success.”
Coyotes coach Ken Law said he’s sure the game will be as exciting as the last one.
“We’re starting to battle into everything we have been trying to show them,” said Law, adding the group had a bit of a slow start. “Our back end was a little bit of a rebuild. It was all new to some of the younger guys coming in. It was a bit of a learning curve. They are starting to buy in now and trust in each other.”
Before playing the Steam, the Coyotes will travel to 100 Mile House on Oct. 13 to play the Wranglers.
In other Steam news, backup goalie Brandon Peacock was signed by the B.C. Hockey League’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, as reported by the Trolley Talk blog. The Silverbacks have won five of 11 games on the season.
“We always knew there was a strong possibility that Brandon wasn’t going to be with us all season,” said Steam GM Mike Rigby to the Trolley Talk blog. “He’s a very good young goaltender who was close to being in Junior A to start the season, and it just didn’t work out that way. We were very lucky to have him here even for a short period of time, and we wish him the best as he moves on to join Salmon Arm.”
The Steam have filled Peacock’s spot, acquiring Owen Petten from the Castlegar Rebels in exchange for future considerations. Petten is expected to backup Matthew Huber when the Steam host the Knights. After landing Petten, Rigby made another deal, also with the Rebels, picking up 18-year-old forward Brady Olson for the playing rights to 19-year-old forward Calvin Rout.