It took seven games of intense hockey action for the Summerland Steam to win the playoffs against the Kelowna Chiefs.
The last three games in the series were played on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Going into the final games, each of the Junior B teams had two wins in the best of seven series.
Thursday’s game at the Summerland Arena saw the Steam recover from a four-goal disadvantage to defeat the Chiefs in overtime.
“It was hard work by the boys,” said Gregg Wilson, co-owner and general manager of the team. “They didn’t quit.”
Kelowna dominated the first period with three consecutive goals.
At 15:42, the Chiefs scored on a power play to take the lead. Two more goals in rapid succession came later, with a power play at 7:54 and another goal at 7:43.
The Steam’s first goal of the game came at 7:09 when Paulsen Lautard scored, assisted by Daylan Robertson.
In the second period, the Chiefs added a power play goal at 17:26 and a power play at 8:36.
Near the end of the period, the Steam began to make a comeback.
Cole Woodliffe scored unassisted at 2:08 and Riley Pettitt, assisted by Jarrett Malchow and Wyatt Gale, scored at 1:06.
In the third period, the Steam continued to close the gap.
Braden Eliuk scored on a power play at 11:12, assisted by Lathan McKinney and Adam Jones.
Tyson Klingspohn tied the game with a goal at 10:16, assisted by Woodliffe and Lautard.
The Steam took the lead at 5:09 with a goal by Kendell Wilson, assisted by Eliuk and McKinney.
Then, with six seconds remaining in the third period, a Kelowna goal forced the game into overtime.
In the second overtime period, Woodliffe scored at 17:35, assisted by Robertson.
Wilson said the Kelowna lead early in the game came because of Steam penalties.
The following night, in Kelowna, the Chiefs defeated the Steam in a 2-1 decision.
After a scoreless first period, the Chiefs took the lead at 4:21 in the second period to establish the lead.
In the third period, the Chiefs added a goal at 18:48.
The Steam responded at 11:33 with a goal by Calvin Hadley, assisted by Nelson Hurry, but the Summerland players were unable to catch up to the Chiefs.
On Saturday, playing on home ice, the Steam earned a 2-1 win, clinching the playoff series.
Prior to the game on Saturday evening, Tim Hogg, director of media and marketing for the Steam, expressed confidence in the team.
“This is a group that can get the job done. They know it and everyone around them knows it,” he said
He added that the Summerland and Penticton teams both worked hard throughout the playoff series.
“No matter what happens tonight, neither team should leave the Summerland Arena hanging their head,” he said. “Both have performed valiantly.”
Throughout the game, Summerland outshot Kelowna, with 41 shots from the Steam, compared to 27 for the Chiefs.
There was no scoring in the first period, Jack Mills scored for the Steam at 8:52 in the second period, assisted by Kendell Wilson.
In the third period, the Chiefs scored on a power play at 18:00 to tie the game.
Mills responded with a power play goal at 6:56 to regain the Summerland lead. Wilson had the assist.
The Steam will now advance to the Okanagan Division Final, a best of seven series against the Osoyoos Coyotes, the top-ranked team in the division.
The first game in that series will be held March 2 in Osoyoos.