It took just eleven seconds to undo what was arguably one of the best games of the season Friday night that saw the Kelowna Chiefs lose to the Summerland Steam 2-1.
With less time on the clock than it takes to brew a Keurig cup of coffee, the battle that had been going on all night between the Chiefs' Dakota Kittle and Summerland netminder Jacob Mullen (34 saves) finally erupted.
Summerland's Michael McCeachern opened the scoring midway through the first period, which was largely fought in the neutral zone. A few minutes prior, Summerland had a breakaway goal reversed after the officials discussed the play, but Summerland kept pushing and got the breakthrough.
The second period was a much more open affair with both teams seeing plenty of opportunities only to have both netminders turn them away. Kittle introduced himself to the Summerland goalie repeatedly throughout the frame, essentially parking himself as close as possible every time he was on the ice.
The crease play would pay off for Ryan Lawson with four minutes remaining in the period when Kittle and Josh Baird took the play to Mullen who gave up a rebound onto Lawson's stick. With a minute remaining, Kittle went hard to the net again ending up going airborne over Mullen who was none to thrilled about the rush. While Kittle would receive two minutes for interference, it was just foreshadowing.
With the game tied at one, the final period was a great one to watch. Both teams executed their plays, while simultaneously stealing the puck and turning it over. It was fast paced and exciting. Chiefs' netminder Josh Tetlichi (21 saves) made some remarkable saves and Summerland's Mullen matched him save for save. And then Wyatt Gale showed up.
With a poke and push, a pull and chip the puck was in the net and Gale and his teammates were celebrating their 2-1 lead with only three minutes left in the game.
For the next 169 seconds, the Chiefs pushed, they dumped, they chased. Everything but get an equalizing goal even with the extra skater on the ice while Tetlichi watched helplessly and hopefully from the end of the bench. Eleven seconds left, the whistle blew and Jonathan Lee was falling into Mullen closely followed by Kittle.
With both Chiefs players landing on top of Mullen, the Summerland goalie fought his way out. And Lee and Kittle fought back. Gloves, sticks and helmets littered the ice and Mullen skated to the dressing room having received a match penalty, Gale, Kittle and Lee went to the penalty box.
When the buzzer went to end the game it was Kalenuik that took the final shot, and then received a few of his own from Summerland's Adam Jones. More sticks, helmets and gloves littered the ice and what had been a remarkable game to watch became something far less. More penalties were handed out in the final eleven seconds than the rest of the game.
The Summerland Steam returned home with their early 2-1 win Christmas present while the Chiefs returned to their dressing room to prepare for Saturday nights road game to Kamloops.
The Chiefs return home on Sunday, December 20th when they host the Sicamous Eagles in Rutland Arena at 7pm. All tickets for this game are ONLY $5 so be sure to make it out and cheer on the Chiefs!