Pettitt among top scorers in hockey league

Consistency has helped Summerland Steam forward Riley Pettitt vault himself as a top scorer.

Consistency has helped Summerland Steam forward Riley Pettitt vault himself among the Kootenay International JuniorHockey League’s best scorers.

The Whitehorse product used that word a few times when talking about his play, which has helped the Steam be a first-place team in the Okanagan Division, even while dealing with significant injuries and suspensions.

“I’d say it has gone pretty good,” said Pettitt of his season in which he is scoring at a 1.3 point-per-game clip.

Pettitt was eighth in the scoring race with 11 goals and 15 assists for a total of 26 points in 20 games as of Tuesday.

“It’s pretty exciting. I’m really happy about it,” said Pettitt of where he is among the scoring leaders. “I’m also happy thatour team is winning (15 wins in 22 games) and foremost that we’re just being consistent as a group and the points arecoming.”

Every time Pettitt steps on the ice, he is determined to play his best. Helping him do that is the work he puts in practice, butalso the experience he has. He came into the season with 86 regular season games under his belt.

“I think it’s just being more comfortable in having that extra confidence in yourself as a player and your ability,” said Pettitt,who loves to hunt and fish when he’s home in Whitehorse.

When it comes to his abilities, Steam coach John DePourcq speaks highly of him.

“He’s a very tenacious player and a very good skater,” said DePourcq. “He’s got to be one of the fastest, if not the fastest,skaters in the league. He’s such a skilled player. He has an offensive touch. He’s playing some great hockey.”

Pettitt does have a flaw though. Because of his style, he takes some undisciplined penalties. Of his 75 penalty minutes, onlyfive have been served for fighting. He has been given four 10-minute misconducts.

“If there was a knock on him, sometimes the competitiveness of the game gets the best of him,” said DePourcq. “He spendsmore time in the penalty box than doing what he is good at.”

DePourcq said Pettitt always works hard and if he can control his emotions, he can have a really good season. In his firstseason with the Steam, he collected 56 penalty minutes. That doubled last season to 117. DePourcq said players will try toget under his skin because of how skilled he is. It’s a matter of learning to control himself.

His suspension in Revelstoke on Oct. 15 was for his role in a brawl.

“It was a bit of a scrum,” said Pettitt, who was among three players that got into a fight. “It was just someone hit one of ourplayers pretty dirty and we all stood up for each other.”

DePourcq has been very happy with how Pettitt has been playing of late as he has racked up seven points this month.

“He’s leading by example out there,” said DePourcq.