A 5-0 loss to the Kelowna Chiefs at home Tuesday has the Summerland Steam trailing 3-1.
Not only do the Steam head into Kelowna Thursday with their Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season on the line, they do so without Mitchell Gove, who sustained an injury 16 seconds into Tuesday’s game.
“The boys all tried to pick it up and play as hard as they could,” said Steam coach John DePourcq. “With a fallen teammate there, it was definitely a downer because Mitch means a lot and gets along with the guys. It was tough to see him go down and get injured. I thought the guys did a great job of rallying and playing hard.”
Gove was looked after by paramedics and taken to hospital during the first intermission.
Brody Dale scored the winner with 4:33 remaining in the first when he beat Jared Breitkreuz top corner on his glove side with a quick shot. Breitkreuz finished with 30 saves on the night. Also scoring for the Chiefs were Jordan Lowry, Tyler Love on the power play, Lane Paddison and Devin Sutton.
“Unfortunately we were making some mistakes and with a talented team like Kelowna, you make a mistake, teams are going to capitalize,” said DePourcq. “Just have’t been able to respond to it. It has been frustrating.”
DePourcq talked about the Steam not getting bounces, missing open nets or hitting posts, which Lane French hit one Tuesday. Braeden Mitchell finished with 29 saves.
The positive thing for the Steam heading into Thursday is they have had success in Kelowna. DePourcq talked about the importance of having a good start and getting the first goal.
“Getting a bounce early on would definitely help,” he said. “Give the guys a little bounce in their step. That is a big part of it. Getting off to a good start and capitalizing. Taking advantage of opportunities.Getting the lead is going to be the challenge.”
Gove joins Eric Scherger on the injured list. DePourcq said he needs other players to step up.
Thursday’s Game 5 at Rutland Arena is at 7 p.m. For fans who don’t make the trip, they can watch it on www.playfullscreen.com.