Despite having just returned after being out with an undisclosed injury since Nov. 17, Lukas Jirousek has had an outstanding season with the Steam and is expected to be available to play in the Jan. 13 game. The 17-year-old from Whitehorse put up nine goals and 15 points in the 18 games he skated in.
“Because I was out with an injury I didn’t think I would make it into that game so it was a pretty nice surprise,” said Jirousek.
Since his return last week, Jirousek has added to his points total, adding one assist in two games — both wins for the Steam.
Steam coach John Depourcq said not only is he excited to have the big-bodied Jirousek back in his lineup but also to see him get recognized to the Top Prospects Showcase.
”He is a good young talent. He is a highly skilled player and unbelievable in one-on-one situations. He has a lot of size and isn’t afraid to be physical, but also is a great skater and a nice offensive touch,” said Depourcq.
Jirousek said his size has definitely been key to his success in the KIJHL.
“I like to play as a power forward so I don’t mind getting in those greasy corners to get the puck. I would say it has been a big help because I also don’t mind using my size in front of the net.”
Cody Swan, 18, is the other Steam player that was selected to the Top Prospects Showcase. He has been a model of consistency amassing 17 goals and 44 points to sit second in team scoring.
“Cody was a pleasant surprise at our spring camp. We were able to see his talent right away and he stepped right in at the start of the year and didn’t disappoint. We have used him all situations from the power play to the penalty kill,” said Depourcq.
“The really nice thing about both these players is not only are they talented on the ice, but they have great attitudes.”
Both Jirousek and Swan will play for the Okanagan Shuswap Conference who will face off against the Kootenay Conference at 2 p.m. at Rutland Arena. The players in this age group have made a big impact for teams across the Okanagan Conference roster. Many of the teams have these players in the top five in scoring on their respective teams.
Steam acquire new players
A forward and goaltender will join the Steam as they enter the second-half of the season.
Cory Loring (Williams Lake) is coming to the Steam from the Grand Forks Border Bruins. The 18-year-old has 66 games of KIJHL experience under his belt, split between the Castlegar Rebels, Chase Heat and Bruins over the past two seasons. The Steam moved Riley Smoler in the trade.
“Cory will bring a lot to our hockey club. He competes hard, he’s a big body that we feel will mesh well with our forward group and he’ll provide a little bite, if you will, to our forecheck,” said Steam general manager Mike Rigby. “We look forward to having him, though we had to give up a very good hockey player to get him.”
Maxim Sidelnik (Lake Balboa, California) joined the Steam at the end of 2017 to complement the play of goaltender Matt Huber as they chase the Okanagan division’s first-place team, the Osoyoos Coyotes.
“He moves well,” said Rigby of their new goalie. “He’s in the right position to make the saves he needs to make and we’re excited to see what he can bring to our club as we speed towards the playoffs.”
The Steam made a road trip to Princeton on Wednesday to face the Posse (after press deadline) and next face the Osoyoos Coyotes at the Oliver Arena on Jan. 14, then host the Chase Heat on Jan. 19.
— With files from Tim Hogg, Trolley Talk