After a strong regular season, the Summerland Steam Junior B hockey team are facing the Kelowna Chiefs in division semifinal action.
At the end of regular season play on Sunday, the Steam had secured the second place spot in the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference: Okanagan Division in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
The team finished with 34 wins, 16 losses and two overtime losses.
The Chiefs had a record of 24 wins, 23 losses, two ties, two draws and one overtime loss.
Last year, the two teams finished in the same order amd faced each other in playoff action.
Summerland won that series in seven games and went on to face the top ranked Osoyoos Coyotes, losing in six games.
John DePourcq, coach of the team, said the competition at the playoffs will be intense.
“The playoffs are like a whole new season,” he said.
Gregg Wilson, owner and general manager of the team, said playoff action is unpredictable, especially between Summerland and Kelowna.
“It’s going to be a hard fight,” he said. “Those teams don’t like each other.”
He added that the two teams are closely matched.
Wilson said the schedule for the end of the regular season of play had been hectic.
On the weekend, Summerland played the last three regular season games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the playoffs beginning on Tuesday.
Three more games are scheduled for this evening in Summerland at 7:30 p.m., Friday in Kelowna at 7 p.m. and Saturday in Kelowna at 7 p.m.
If necessary, a fifth game in Summerland will be held Monday, Feb. 29 at 7:30 p.m. The sixth game, if required, will be on Tuesday, March 1 at 7 p.m. in Kelowna and the seventh game, if required, will be in Summerland on Thursday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m.
The winner of this series will face the winner of the match between the Osoyoos Coyotes and the North Okanagan Knights.
The Coyotes are the top ranked team in the division, while the Knights are ranked fourth.
Last year in the division finals, the Steam lost to Osoyoos after six games.