3 Thoughts: Wild @ Warriors Game #56

The West Kelowna Warriors had the lead, lost the lead, tied the game but eventually fell by a 7-6 score in overtime to the Wenatchee Wild on Wednesday night at Royal LePage Place.

BOXSCORE

WARRIORS WEBSITE RECAP

RYLAN FERSTER PRE GAME

BLISS LITTLER PRE GAME

Game photo from Wednesday night provided by Wayne Moore of Castanet along with Tami Quan Photography:

3 THOUGHTS:

1) WELL THAT WAS… WILD

It’s a game that featured just about everything and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. The Warriors had outplayed the Wild through two periods and held a 4-2 lead before the oddest 3rd period of the season with the Wild coming from behind, scoring four times before the Warriors came back and scored twice in 35 seconds to tie the game with Matt Dorsey ended the game 3:49 into the extra frame and finish off what was a (wait for it) wild affair. Heading into the 3rd period with a 4-2 lead, the Warriors have been one of the most airtight teams when leading after 40 minutes with a 22-0-0-0 record in that category before Wenatchee scored four goals in the opening 12 minutes of the period. Only Penticton and Nanaimo have been better when holding a lead this season after 40 but the Wild were able to break through and tie the game before eventually taking the lead and then adding one more goal from the captain AJ Vanderbeck to get a 6-4 lead. You’ve got to give this Warriors team credit as they do not quit, no matter what the situation is and were able to write their own comeback story late in the 3rd period with under two minutes remaining. Parm Dhaliwal jammed in a loose puck at the front of the goal on a rebound before Michael Ryan slid the puck along the ice through the legs of Wenatchee goaltender Seth Eisele to tie the game with goals at 18:15 and 18:40, coming just 35 seconds apart and getting the game into overtime. The Warriors did have a power play chance in the extra frame with the best opportunity coming off of a pair of RJ Murphy shots, coming down the left wing to drive to the net with Eisele making the stop before Jared Marino provided a solid screen in front of Eisele with Murphy’s slot shot being blocked before getting to the goal. Matt Dorsey would end the game on a terrific pass from the left point by Zac Galambos down low to Dorsey in the slot as he went to his forehand and in to end the game in the favour of the Wild and cap off a truly Wild night of hockey.

2) SPECIAL TEAMS FACTOR

I mentioned it in my “3 Keys” blog pre-game and it turned out to be one of, if not, the biggest factor in the game and might have been the biggest reason the Wild were able to come back in this one. Taking all the special teams out of the game, the Warriors would have come out on top by a 4-2 score but unfortunately, hockey just doesn’t work that way. I thought the Warriors were certainly the better team 5-on-5 but the Wild flexed their muscle on the power play along with a big Lucas Sowder shorthanded goal to tie the game at 4-4 at the 4:44 mark of the 3rd period. The Wild can certainly zip the puck around on the man advantage and did a very good job of that tonight with three power play markers including that shorthanded goal and have now vaulted up to the top spot in the BCHL in power play percentage at 22.8%. Cooper Zech was a big part of the Wenatchee power play with two of his three assists on the night coming on the power play as well as both of Sam Morton’s goal being PPG’s. The Warriors were no slouches on their power play as well as Dhaliwal deflected in a perfect pass from Chase Dubois while the Warriors captain Marino found the back of the net from the slot but it was the Wild who were the better special teams team on this night and earned the victory because of it. 5-on-5 these two teams were flying and making plays with lots of speed and skilled players from both sides but the Wild were the ones to get the better of the Warriors in the special teams department and that was the difference in the game, or at least one of the biggest differences.

3) MY TAKEAWAYS

My takeaways from the Warriors 7-6 loss in overtime to the Wenatchee Wild on Wednesday night at RLP was that the Warriors played a very solid 40 minutes, a start of the 3rd period to forget before tying the game late but then falling in overtime, just your average Wednesday night of hockey. Honestly, this was a pretty fun game to call with both teams so skilled and having the ability to make plays. Ryan Steele had himself a night as he scored twice and added three assists for a five-point night and now sits just five points off of his total from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in 22 fewer games. His linemates, Parm Dhaliwal and Chase Dubois, have been outstanding as well as they have turned into the Warriors top line with Dhaliwal earning two goals on the night and Dubois collecting four assists. I also liked the look of a line that had plenty of success early in the season as Jared Marino-Cavin Tilsley-Bennett Norlin came together for a strong night with Norlin earning a couple of chances to score in behind the Wenatchee defense but Eisele shut the door on both occasions. It wasn’t a great night for either goaltender as both Eisele and Amundrud struggled (although I liked Nik’s game through the first 40 minutes) in a high scoring affair between two teams that can score a few goals. A very exciting game to watch as a fan, a game to rip your hair out for coaches and one for the Warriors where they collect a point and will hope for a Salmon Arm victory on Thursday night when they head to Merritt to face-off against the Centennials before the Warriors and Cents meet in Merritt on Friday for a game of significant meaning.

The Warriors head out on the road for their final two games of the regular season as they begin their final weekend with a trip to the Nicola Valley to face-off against the Merritt Centennials for a 7:00 PM puck drop. The game can be heard on the Warriors Internet Network and also streamed live on HockeyTV.com beginning at 6:45 PM with the pre-game show.

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3 Keys: Wild @ Warriors Game #56

 vs. 

The West Kelowna Warriors play their final home game on the regular season schedule as they host the Wenatchee Wild on Wednesday night at Royal LePage Place.

TICKETS

WATCH

Warriors vs. Wild 2017/18 Schedule:

Friday, October 13th @ Royal LePage Place (4-2 Wild) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, November 10th @ Town Toyota Center (9-2 Wild) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, December 2nd @ Royal LePage Place (4-3 Warriors/OT) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, January 12th @ Town Toyota Center (5-4 Warriors/OT) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, January 13th @ Town Toyota Center (6-0 Wild) (BOXSCORE)

Wednesday, February 21st @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

3 KEYS:

1) CRUNCH TIME

We are down to the final week of the BC Hockey League’s regular season and the Warriors play their final home game on the regular season docket as they host the Wenatchee Wild on Wednesday night at Royal LePage Place. With just three games left in the 2017/18 season, it makes every game of the week that much more valuable and it starts against the Wild tonight as the Warriors look to try and secure the 5th place position in the BCHL’s Interior Division. The Warriors will have their hands full with the league’s highest scoring team in the Wild who have scored 230 times this season in 55 games thus far and possess the league’s leading scorer in Jasper Weatherby. West Kelowna comes in after their biggest comeback victory of the season in a 6-3 win over the Victoria Grizzlies on Saturday night including a five-goal 3rd period to seal the victory. Ryan Steele continued his hot stretch of play as he has points in 10 straight games while RJ Murphy has collected points in 9 straight contests and are leading by example as the season gets into it’s toughest stretches. Parm Dhaliwal added to his strong second half of the season with a pair of points on Saturday while Chase Dubois has overtaken Warriors captain Jared Marino for the team lead in points with 53 on the year and also had a goal and an assist on Saturday. The Warriors have their offense going as they have scored five or more goals six times since the Christmas break and against the highest scoring team in the league, they will need to bring that offensive prowess. The final week of the regular season should set up a good test for the Warriors with the playoffs being just a week away with plenty of jockeying for playoff position still very much up for grabs. West Kelowna controls their own fate in the attempt to finish in 5th place in the Interior Division, entering Wednesday four points ahead of the Merritt Centennials and six points up on the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and a win tonight against Wenatchee would go a long ways in helping their cause to finish in 5th place. It all starts with a big effort tonight as it’s crunch time in the BCHL season and the Warriors will have plenty of momentum coming into the night after their come from behind win on Saturday.

2) SPECIAL TEAMS BATTLE

It played a big factor in Saturday’s victory and will continue to have a play in tonight’s game as special teams will be a big key for the Warriors. West Kelowna won the special teams battle on Saturday with a pair of power play goals and a penalty kill that stood very tall and did not allow much against the top ranked power play team in the BCHL in the Grizzlies and were very disciplined in the game with only 3 PK’s going against them. The script will have to be replicated for tonight as Wenatchee is all around a very strong special teams squad. The Wild sit 2nd in the BCHL at a 22.0% and lead the league with 66 goals for on the man advantage. With that being said, the Wild have drawn the most penalties in the league as they have had 300 power play chances with 177 of those coming on home ice, which may or may not have something to do with the officiating down south. The Warriors will have to do the same that they did on Saturday which is staying disciplined and not allowing that lethal power play on the ice much throughout the night. After their two-goal power play performance on Saturday, the Warriors man advantage has moved to 5th in the league and will go up against the Wild’s 3rd ranked PK in the contest as it will be a heavy battle of special teams in that department and has played a big part in the season series thus far. Wenatchee is 8/28 on the power play in the season set while the Warriors sit 3/21 on the man advantage but that difference has mostly come while at the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee. The Wild are 0/6, 0/3 in each game, at Royal LePage Place this season as the Warriors discipline and a bit more consistent officiating has helped them on home ice. The Warriors have done a pretty good job in special teams on home ice against the Wild and each of those games has been down to the wire, I’d expect the same tonight.

3) THE OPPOSITION

The Wenatchee Wild come into Wednesday night’s action in a dogfight for the top spot in the Interior Division with their 36-14-1-4 record. The Wild are four points behind the Penticton Vees for the division lead and are two points behind the Vernon Vipers for 2nd place with a game in hand on Vernon being burned up tonight. The Wild’s schedule is not an easy one as they played their final three games on the road starting in West Kelowna before going to Vernon on Friday and finishing in Penticton on Saturday for what could be two massive games to close out their regular season schedule. Wenatchee leads the BC Hockey League with 230 goals for, well ahead of the Victoria Grizzlies for first, and possess the league’s leading scorer in Jasper Weatherby who has 37 goals and 72 points to pace the BCHL in scoring and if he can finish in the top spot in scoring, Weatherby would give the Wild a leading scorer in the league for the second straight season after Brendan Harris did so last season. Wenatchee captain AJ Vanderbeck has been outstanding this season as well with 35 goals and 59 points while Sam Morton, Lucas Sowder and Murphy Stratton have also been excellent for the Wild this season. Wenatchee defensemen have had a strong season producing from the back end as Cooper Zech is the highest scoring defenseman in the league since Mike Reilly of the Penticton Vees from the 2011/12 season and anchors the Wild blue line with 11 goals and 65 points this season. Zac Galambos has been a great add for the Wild defensively while Chad Sasaki and Slava Demin are always players to watch for from the blue line for the Wild. Seth Eisele will make his 12th straight start in the Wild goal with Austin Park remaining out of the lineup with an injury. Eisele has compiled an 8-3-0-0 record in those 11 previous starts with a 2.23 GAA and a .903 SV % and has been very good against the Warriors this season with a 2-0 record along with a 1.00 GAA and a .935 SV% but has yet to start at RLP.

It’s the final home game of the regular season with the Warriors and Wild battling head-to-head with $2.50 draft beer and 25 cent chicken wings being featured on Fan Appreciation Night! Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM at Royal LePage Place with tickets being available online at wkw.goticketpro.com, at the Warriors office, by calling (250) 769-7051 or at the box office one hour prior to the opening face-off. The game will also be broadcasted live on Shaw TV Okanagan (Channel 11).

3 Thoughts: Grizzlies @ Warriors Game #55

The West Kelowna Warriors offense erupted on Faith Night with five 3rd period goals, including a pair from RJ Murphy, for a come-from-behind 6-3 victory over the Victoria Grizzlies on Saturday night at Royal LePage Place.

BOXSCORE

WARRIORS WEBSITE RECAP

RYLAN FERSTER PRE GAME

SCOTT DIDMON PRE GAME

TYLER JUTTING

MICHAEL RYAN

Game photos provided by Julie Pringle of Snap Photography:

  

3 THOUGHTS:

1) WHAT. A. COMEBACK.

An incredible come from behind victory for the Warriors that saw five 3rd period goals from West Kelowna highlighted an outstanding night on Saturday in a 6-3 victory for the Warriors over the Victoria Grizzlies. The Warriors had played a pretty strong first 40 minutes and maybe weren’t deserving to be down by a pair of goals heading into the 3rd period but whatever was said in the dressing room between the 2nd and 3rd period seemed to work as the Warriors scored a season-high five goals in the final frame to pick up the victory. It was an impressive onslaught of offensive chances and 26 shots on goal in the final frame and completely dominated a Grizzlies team that had no answer whatsoever to the Warriors attack. It started with a power play marker by Chase Dubois coming just under 8 minutes into the period as he jammed the puck at the blocker side and past Zach Rose. Then, RJ Murphy displayed his ability to play in the clutch as he tied the game then gave the Warriors their first, and only, lead of the game. Murphy got a puck behind the goal and wrapped it around on the glove side and second whack at the loose puck would push the rubber biscuit across the goal line and push the game to a 3-3 tie. Mr. Overtime showed that he has a knack for being the hero in regulation as well with the game winning goal coming with just under four minutes to play in the game. Wyatt Head, who I thought had a terrific night, spotted Murphy off the bench as he flew into the Grizzlies zone with the puck. Murphy crept into the right wing face-off circle as he made a move to his backhand to get back to his forehand and slid the puck past the right pad of Rose to give the Warriors their first lead of the game and give Murphy the team lead in goals with 21. Chase Stevenson found the back of the net for his 11th goal of the season on an odd man rush and a nice feed from Cavin Tilsley before Ryan Steele found the empty net and capped off a season-high 5 goals in the 3rd period for the Warriors and a remarkable comeback in the books for win #27 of the season.

2) GOOD EFFORT ALL AROUND

The Warriors played a pretty strong game on Saturday night and were more than deserving of the comeback effort that they were rewarded with. I thought the Warriors got the better of the Grizzlies in the opening period but Zach Rose stood tall in the first frame with many big saves on the Warriors 15 shots on goal in the opening period. One of the best saves Rose had to make wasin the opening minute of the frame as RJ Murphy dragged and shot form the left wing circle with Rose getting the stop on his blocker side. West Kelowna came out of the game strong and led in shots by a 7-2 margin in the early going but could not find the back of the net as it was Ethan Nother that gave Victoria a 1-0 lead. That goal came a bit against the flow of play as I felt the Warriors had some very good pressure in the beginning of the period but the score favoured Victoria. The Grizzlies got up by a 2-0 score later in the period with Shawn O’Malley banging in a rebound before Parm Dhaliwal tipped in a Chase Dubois pass from the left wing corner to get the Warriors on the board with 1:07 remaining in the opening period, one where Zach Rose was the best player on the ice in the first 20 minutes. I thought the 2nd period favoured the Grizzlies as they came out with a strong presence and outshot the Warriors 14-10 in the middle stanza but Warriors goaltender Nik Amundrud was dialed in and made some solid saves in the 2nd period where the Grizzlies had their best pressure of the game before the Warriors came out in the 3rd period and were outstanding. Zach Rose had been Victoria’s best player through the opening 40 minutes with even more impressive saves in the 2nd period but struggled in the 3rd period to keep the puck out of his goal and didn’t get much help in front of him but still a terrific effort from the Warriors on Saturday night.

3) MY TAKEAWAYS

My takeaways from the Warriors 6-3 come from behind victory over the Victoria Grizzlies on Saturday night at Royal LePage Place is that the Warriors came together and battled back against one of the better teams in the BC Hockey League from a 3rd period deficit to earn a big win. The Dhaliwal-Dubois-Steele line might have been the Warriors best on Saturday as all three had their game going and were excellent on the night while RJ Murphy was terrific as well with his two 3rd period goals pushing the Warriors to the win. In a game where the Warriors only had four regular defensemen along with an AP and Jordan Todd taking a couple of shifts on the back end, Michael Ryan and Jake Harrison had strong nights along with Wyatt Head, who seems to get better and better with the larger amount of minutes he sees in a game. I also liked Nik Amundrud on Saturday and thought it was a solid bounce back game for the 20-year-old netminder after a bit of a hiccup on last Sunday against the Chilliwack Chiefs. The Warriors played a strong team game on Saturday and were rewarded with a big win and a very big two points in the standings.

The Warriors close out their regular season schedule on home ice as they host the Wenatchee Wild for the final time in their six-game season series for a 7:00 PM puck drop. The game will be broadcasted live on Shaw TV Okanagan (Channel 11) with tickets available for the game online at wkw.goticketpro.com, at the Warriors office, by calling (250) 769-7051 or at the box office ahead of the opening face-off.

 

3 Keys: Grizzlies @ Warriors Game #55

 vs. 

The West Kelowna Warriors compete in their second-to-last home game of the season, hosting the 9th annual Pastor Don’s Faith Night against the Victoria Grizzlies on Saturday night at Royal LePage Place.

TICKETS

WATCH

LISTEN

Warriors vs. Grizzlies 2017/18 Schedule:

Friday, January 5th @ The Q Centre (7-3 Grizzlies) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, February 17th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

3 KEYS:

1) STARTING STRONG/USING THE CROWD ENERGY

The Warriors are back on the ice after not having played since last Sunday and will look to make the short week a strong one with a matchup against the Victoria Grizzlies tonight at RLP. West Kelowna is looking to rebound off of a road trip that saw them pick up just one victory out of their three contests. There was one constant in those three games for the Warriors and that would be their play right off the get go, which I think will be a big key for tonight’s game. The Warriors have been struggling with their consistency in regards of the win and loss column but in the games against Cowichan Valley, Powell River and Chilliwack, the Warriors had some fantastic jump in those three games and it shall be seen if they can bring that same jump tonight. There’s most likely going to be the biggest crowd of the season packed into RLP on Saturday and a strong start could go a long way at getting the crowd involved in the game and allowing the Warriors to get some mojo going. Included in that thinking (and I’m not sure if this really has much meaning anymore) but the Warriors did not play on Friday night while the Grizzlies picked up their fifth win in a row and could be a bit more of a tired team in the early going which is why I think West Kelowna will have to bring the pressure early on. A big hit, a good look offensively in the early going or even a goal in the opening moments could make a big impact and get the near capacity crowd involved early on and getting them to their feet. The Warriors coaching staff has liked to use the term “starting on time” throughout this season and I think that adapts well to this key. Both of these teams can absolutely fly so expect a fast-paced, energetic matchup tomorrow night and makes for a playoff-like atmosphere ringing throughout RLP.

2) SPECIAL TEAMS PLAY

The Warriors five-on-five play right now has been terrific, outchancing teams on a nightly basis and possessing the puck strongly inside of the offensive zone and creating many good chances. One of the issues for the Warriors in the New Year has been special teams, in particular the penalty kill and it will face it’s toughest test yet as the number one power play of the Victoria Grizzlies comes to town. Although not being able to find the back of the net in Salmon Arm on Friday, the Grizzlies man advantage has gone 7/22 (32%) over the last five games and has scored a power play goal in four of those five contests. The Grizz sit 1st overall in the BCHL in power play percentage at 22.6% as well as owning the league’s 3rd best power play percentage on the road at 20.8%. The Grizzlies have plenty of weapons that can strike at any time on the man advantage and the Warriors will have to be weary of that and play a disciplined style of hockey against a team that can crack a game wide open with their special teams. For West Kelowna, staying disciplined is something this team has done very well over the course of their 54 game regular season so far but will need to find a way to stop the bleeding when the time does come around to go on the PK. The Warriors have seen their penalty killing drop to 16th in the league, operating at 72.2% and has not been good enough over the last two months to help this team get into the win column more often. The Tribe’s penalty kill over the last five games has gone 12/18 (66.7%) but really took a turn in the final two games of their three-game road trip, going 3/7 in the games against the Powell River Kings and Chilliwack Chiefs. The Warriors spent plenty of time during the week trying to shore up their penalty kill and will make for an interesting matchup and challenge against the strongest power play team in the BCHL.

3) THE OPPOSITION

The Victoria Grizzlies come into Saturday night at the top of the Island Division with a 30-17-3-4 record and have won five games in a row after last night with a 3-0 shutout victory in Salmon Arm. Since the turn of the calendar to 2018, the Grizzlies have been one of the hottest teams in the league and have not lost a game in February so far . The Grizzlies are 2nd in the BCHL with 202 goals for this season and have been helped in large part by the contributions of 16-year-old forward Alex Newhook, who has collected 66 points this season. The Boston College commit, it was announced last week, will miss the remainder of the regular season and will not play tonight, along with 24-goal scorer Justin Michaelian who was injured last night against the Silverbacks. The Grizz still possess a dangerous amount of fire power including second year forwards Jamie Rome and T.J. Friedmann. Rome sits 5th in league scoring with 64 points and has registered 107 career points in 108 games over his two-year BCHL career. Friedmann has scored 21 goals this season and is a powerful skating forward and secured a commitment to play alongside Warriors forward Michael Lombardi at Quinnipiac University next season. The defense for the Grizzlies is anchored, in points, by 20-year-old defender Dayne Finnson, who scored twice against the Warriors back in early January. Carter Berger has struck me as an outstanding 18-year-old rearguard while Matthew Doran and Drayson Pears, who did not meet the last time these two teams played against each other, add some very solid veteran presence along with a rough and tumble style of play. In goal, Kurtis Chapman made 41 saves in a shutout against the Silverbacks on Friday so the Warriors will see 18-year-old Zach Rose. Rose came in and turned aside 23 shots in these two teams last meeting and has been outstanding this season with a .919 SV%. It didn’t really matter who the Warriors would see in goal for tonight as both of Victoria’s goaltenders are having spectacular seasons to date and will be tough to beat on this night.

The Warriors and Grizzlies drop the puck at 7:00 PM on the 9th annual Pastor Don’s Faith Night with plenty of local churches in attendance and some great prizes to be won and the annual team awards being presented post game! Tickets are available online at wkw.goticketpro.com, at the Warriors office, by calling (250) 769-7051 or at the box office one hour prior to puck drop.

3 Thoughts: Warriors Road Trip Games #52-54

The West Kelowna Warriors picked up one win in three games on their final extended road trip of the regular season with games against the Cowichan Valley Capitals, Powell River Kings and Chilliwack Chiefs.

3 THOUGHTS:

1) WARRIORS @ CAPITALS (FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9TH) (3-1 W)

BOXSCORE

WARRIORS WEBSITE RECAP

RYLAN FERSTER PRE GAME

BRIAN PASSMORE PRE GAME

WARRIORS OWNER MARK CHEYNE

The Warriors began their trip on Thursday morning, departing Royal LePage Place in the morning before arriving in Parksville on Vancouver Island around 6 PM ahead of Friday’s game in Duncan against the Cowichan Valley Capitals. The game started on a great note for the Warriors with Matt Kowalski finding the back of the net for the first time in 12 games. That fast start continued in the game as the Warriors lead in shots by an 8-0 margin in the opening five minutes of the game. The Caps came back with some good chances late in the period and early in the 2nd frame where they tied the score. Moving to the 3rd period, it was the Warriors best of the game. They held Cowichan Valley to just three shots on goal throughout the period and the Warriors coaching staff had zero scoring chances against in the period. They threatened the Cowichan goal but Capitals netminder Michael Corson was excellent in keeping the Warriors at bay, including a massive save he made, getting across to his glove side and robbing Jake Harrison of what would have been a sure goal. The Warriors broke Corson with just 54 seconds remaining in the game with Ryan Steele burying a rebound off of a Parm Dhaliwal attempt toward the goal with Cavin Tilsley following up with an empty netter to give the Warriors a 3-1 victory. I liked the Warriors game on Friday as they were able to completely shut down the Capitals attack when the game was tied in the final period but you’ve gotta give credit to the Capitals. They worked extremely hard and wouldn’t have had any idea that they are a nine-win team with their effort on Friday night but the Warriors were able to find a way late in the game to get a big goal from a big acquisition in Steele and seemed to set up the weekend well.

2) WARRIORS @ KINGS (SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10TH) (5-3 L)

BOXSCORE

WARRIORS WEBSITE RECAP

RYLAN FERSTER PRE GAME

BRIAN PASSMORE PRE GAME

RYAN STEELE

Game photos: Alicia Baas/Powell River Kings

The Warriors continued their trip with a trek on the ferry to Powell River to face-off against the Kings at the Hap Parker Arena. The opening period was a bit off of a saw off as both teams looked to get their footing but Powell River was the better of the two teams in the 1st frame. A pair of rushes down the right wing side resulted in identical goals for the Kings but the Warriors wouldn’t quit, as usual, and got the game all knotted up at 2. Goals from Chase Stevenson and Willie Reim got the game levelled and the Warriors came out with some impressive jump and were all over the Kings and were rewarded with the pair of goals. A pair of power play goals by the Kings in the 2nd period sunk the Warriors along with a late period goal from Carter Turnbull to give PR a 5-2 lead heading into the 3rd period. Michael Ryan scored late in the frame as the Warriors pressed hard throughout the period, including towards the end of the game with the goaltender pulled, but couldn’t get anymore pucks past AP goaltender Alex Rolfe, who made 40 saves on Saturday in a terrific performance. And that was the difference for me in the game, the Kings got big saves throughout the game from Rolfe where the Warriors couldn’t get those same stops from Cole Demers. I really liked the Warriors game on Saturday and thought that the club was more than deserving of getting at least a point out of the game but it was not to be. Powell River played well in the opening period but I thought the Warriors were the better of the two teams in the final two periods, especially in the 2nd frame, but ran into a hot goaltender and a Kings team that is very good at burying their offensive chances and needed to get a save but could not find one and fell to the Kings with the hopes of getting a victory to close out the weekend.

3) WARRIORS @ CHIEFS (SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11TH) (7-4 L)

BOXSCORE

WARRIORS WEBSITE RECAP

RYLAN FERSTER PRE GAME

BRIAN PASSMORE PRE GAME

MICHAEL LOMBARDI

Game photos: Darren Francis/Fotoshotz

The final game of the weekend saw a very long travel day for the Warriors, beginning at 6 AM having to leave Powell River to catch a pair of ferries to get back to the Mainland ahead of their matchup against the Chiefs. For a third straight game, the Warriors came out strong and got the game’s opening goal off the stick of Jared Marino as the captain hit 20 goals on the season via a power play marker. The Chiefs answered to tie the game before Willie Reim tipped in his second goal of the weekend to give the Warriors their lead back out of the 1st period. But for the second straight game, the Warriors surrendered three goals in the 2nd period with a nice deflection from Corey Andonovski tying the game, Will Calverley scoring the first of his three goals on a puck Nik Amundrud thought he had covered before a backdoor tap in from Ryan Bowen put the Chiefs up two. The third goal for me was a big backbreaker for the Warriors as Amundrud had the puck under his blocker and just needed to hang on to it but was unable to hold it’s grasp and allow the Chiefs to get their first lead of the game. Again, the resilient Warriors battled back as Chase Dubois scored just 23 seconds after the Bowen marker to get the game within one and Matt Kowalski found the back of the net for the second time in three games to tie the game just under five minutes into the 3rd period. A struggling Warriors penalty kill was not able to hold the Chiefs as Will Calverley scored twice in a row for a hat trick and Anthony Vincent added an empty netter to secure the Chiefs win. A tough weekend and a really tough travel day on Sunday made for a team that I thought showed some signs of tiredness throughout the evening and unfortunately weren’t able to find a way to get past the Chiefs, who got terrific efforts from Caverley, Bowen, PJ Marrocco and others to help them to a big win and a weekend the Warriors were only able to earn two of a possible six points out of.

West Kelowna is back on home ice on Saturday, February 17th when the Warriors host the Victoria Grizzlies on Pastor Don Richmond’s 9th annual Faith Night. With plenty of local churches filling the seats and great raffle prizes to be won, it’s one of the most exciting nights of the season. The Warriors will also be hosting their annual team awards immediately after the final buzzer. Tickets are available online at wkw.goticketpro.com, at the Warriors office, by calling (250) 769-7051 or at the box office one hour prior to the opening face-off.

 

 

3 Keys: Warriors @ Kings Game #53

The West Kelowna Warriors head to Powell River in search of three straight victories as finish out their season series against the Kings on Saturday night at Hap Parker Arena.

WATCH

LISTEN

Warriors vs. Kings 2017/18 schedule:

Sunday, December 17th @ Royal LePage Place (6-6 Tie) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, February 10th @ Hap Parker Arena (7:15 PM)

1) KEEPING THE MOMENTUM GOING

It took until the final minute of play on Friday night but Ryan Steele found the back of the net with 54 seconds remaining in regulation to push the Warriors to a 3-1 victory over the Cowichan Valley Capitals at the Island Savings Centre. As you may have seen, this trip for the Warriors is a tough one travel wise and there’s not enough hours in the day to try and get blogs done so I will be doing a “3 Thoughts” blog on each of the game’s at the end of the trip on Monday and will try and get one out tomorrow before the game in Chilliwack (I can’t imagine how the players feel if I’m this tired already) but the Warriors started the game on Friday strong and were rewarded on a goal just a minute and a half into the contest with Matt Kowalski scoring for the first time in 12 games, dating back to his time before missing 37 games because of an injury. Kowalski batted home a rebound off of a Jared Marino shot to get the Warriors the lead and a bit of a back and forth first period between the two teams with Nik Amundrud having a strong start to the game with 12 saves. The 2nd period saw some good pressure by the Capitals but Amundrud was there to meet that and keep the game tied after Cowichan had tied the game just under 5 minutes into the period. The 3rd period was the best one for the Warriors as they did an excellent job at shutting down the Cowichan attack, allowing just 3 shots on goal in the frame and if not for Michael Corson, this game could have been a different one as the Capitals netminder was outstanding. Ryan Steele cracked through with his late goal while Cavin Tilsley added an empty net goal to give the Warriors back-to-back wins for the first time since early January and will look for three wins in a row with a trip to Powell River tonight.

2) UNIQUE SURROUNDINGS

The Hap Parker Arena can be a bit of an odd one to play in with some crazy bounces with the puck going in all sorts of directions and can be a bit like playing in a building like the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. Warriors forward Matt Kowalski, who has the most experience playing in Powell River of any of the Warriors, told me today that the bounces and craziness can be even more than that in Merritt. Ryan Steele also has plenty of experience in Powell River with his time in Port Alberni and has been red hot as of late with points in each of his last 7 games as he looks to continue that success in a familiar place. I think one of the game plans for West Kelowna would have to be, as it really is every game, playing simple and trying to limit mistakes. The Warriors had a few uncharacteristic turnovers in Cowichan on Friday and will look to try and shore that up in a tough environment to play in and against a Kings team that is in the heat of the battle for the Island Division title. This game on Saturday should be an excellent one with two teams that match up well as both are very skilled up front and can roll four lines at any time but I wouldn’t be surprised if the building played a factor on the outcome in any way.

3) THE OPPOSITION

The Powell River Kings sit 2nd in the BCHL’s Island Division and are another Island team to make a coaching change late in the season as just a few weeks ago, Kent Lewis was relieved of his duties as head coach with Brock Sawyer now taking the reigns behind the bench. The Kings have scored 188 goals this season, which ranks 4th in the league and have plenty of talent up front led by the likes of forward Ben Berard, who sits with 60 points this season in 51 games played and is tied for 4th in the league in points. Carter Turnbull, who did not play in the teams last matchup, has been a solid point producer and represented Canada at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge the last three years. Jonny Evans is another forward for the Kings to watch out for, amongst the many, as well as Kevin Obbsuth. Defensively, the Kings have Carmine Buono as well as longtime BCHLer Andy Stevens are rock solid on the back end and will provide a tough matchup for the Warriors with their offensive and defensive presence. Mitch Adamyk and Matteo Paler-Chow had been a formidable tandem for Powell River in the crease but the Kings have been dealing with a mountain of injuries including to both of their netminders as they have been rolling with a pair of AP goaltenders which seems to rotate every night so as for a starter tonight, well I’ll be finding out around 5 PM when the Warriors get to the rink.

The Warriors and Kings drop the puck at 7:15 PM with the pre-game show coming at 6:45 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com with the Voice of the Warriors, Trevor Miller.

3 Keys: Warriors @ Capitals Game #52

 vs. 

The West Kelowna Warriors open up a three-game Island road trip with a visit to the “Big Stick” in Duncan for a matchup against the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday night at the Island Savings Centre.

WATCH

LISTEN

Warriors vs. Capitals 2017/18 Schedule:

Thursday, September 21st @ Prospera Centre (2-1 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, October 21st @ Royal LePage Place (3-2 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, February 9th @ Island Savings Centre (7:00 PM)

3 KEYS:

1) STARTING OFF ON THE RIGHT NOTE

The Warriors open up a big three game weekend that begins in Duncan on Friday night against the Cowichan Valley Capitals at the Island Savings Centre. It’s one of the toughest trips, if not the toughest, travel-wise for the Warriors with the game Friday being followed by a trip to Powell River on Saturday and the long haul back to the Lower Mainland for a Sunday evening game in Chilliwack and every point on the road trip is a valuable, especially with only 7 games remaining in the regular season. The Warriors are coming into the weekend off of their highest goal total of the season in an 8-2 victory over the Surrey Eagles on Tuesday night at Royal LePage Place and were terrific off the opening face-off and will need to bring that same mentality to every game of the weekend. The Warriors have had lots of success against the Capitals in the recent past as they have won 5 straight games against Cowichan Valley, spanning back to 2014 and are 9-1-1-0 in their last 11 meetings against the Capitals so some good signs for West Kelowna heading into the matchup. The wins and losses column has not been kind to the Capitals this season with only 9 victories in 50 games this season but have played the Warriors close in their two games against one another so West Kelowna cannot take the Caps lightly. Getting off to a strong start on Friday could give the Warriors lots of momentum heading into a pair of difficult games to close out the road trip but it all starts with the effort in tonight’s contest and another 60 minute performance, like the Warriors got on Tuesday against Surrey, could go a long way towards a winning weekend for West Kelowna.

2) KEEPING THE OFFENSE ROLLING

The Warriors are 2nd in the BCHL in goals since the calendar flipped to the year 2018 and have been lighting up the scoresheet over the last month and a half. In fact, since the rampant scoring pace has picked up, the Warriors are just four goals shy of their total from last season with seven games remaining in the 2017/18 regular season. A consistent provider of points in the new year has been Trade Deadline acquisition Ryan Steele, who has collected 15 points in his 11 games in a Warriors sweater and has registered points in six straight games. The Stratford, PEI native has been everything the Warriors had been asking for (and then some) when they picked him up from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs and is back on Vancouver Island and going up against a familiar opponent in the Capitals tonight. Steele has had some success offensively against the Caps in his career with 3 goals and 15 points in 13 career games against Cowichan Valley and now sits 3rd overall on the team in scoring. Chase Dubos has also had plenty of offense lately with points in each of his last four games, three of those being multi-point affairs. The Williams Lake, BC native now sits just two points behind Warriors captain Jared Marino for the team lead in points with Dubois’ 48. Parm Dhaliwal has continued his hot stretch of play after a long stint away due to an injury. The Surrey, BC native is riding a five-game point streak and has 7 goals in his last 9 games, now sitting at 13 on the season while eclipses his total of 6 from one season ago with 17 less games. There’s no question the Warriors have one of the hottest offenses in the league right now, and going up against a team that has surrendered the most goals against in the BCHL this season, it could mean great things for West Kelowna.

3) THE OPPOSITION

It’s been a trying first season in the BC Hockey League for rookie head coach Brian Passmore as his Capitals look to get back on track and try to make a push for the playoffs with February winding down. The Caps have dropped their last 6 games but there’s certainly no reason to take this team lightly as they have a few weapons in their offense and a goaltender who has played extremely well since his arrival in Duncan. Let’s start with the offense and it rolls through captain Troy MacTavish, who leads the team with 36 points this season. The former Nanaimo Clipper is riding a four-game point streak and has been a steady presence up front for the Capitals all season long. Ty Pochipinski leads the team with 18 goals and his good play on the season recently saw him gather a commitment to Colorado College, the same school as Warriors alum Kristian Blumenschein. A good Trade Deadline add for the Caps was in the likes of forward Tate Coughlin, who has been one of the Capitals leading scorers since coming into Cowichan. The former Kelowna Rocket has collected 29 points in 25 games with the Capitals and recently had a two-goal, five-point night against Alberni Valley and can find the back of the net as good as anyone else on the Caps roster. Defensively, there has been plenty of change and lots of new faces on the backend for the Caps with Andrew McCann, who was in his first game when these two teams saw each other last, leads the Capitals back end with 28 points in 42 games played. Marshall Skapski is a veteran d-man that has over 100 games of experience under his belt and another player to watch for on the blue line. In goal, I’d take a guess the Warriors will see Michael Corson in net, who has been very good since being acquired by Cowichan from the Blind River Beavers of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL). Corson left the NOJHL with a .949 SV% and has translated that success out west with a .919 SV% in 11 games with the Capitals to go along with a 3.33 GAA and a 3-4 record. JJ Pichette is the other netminder in the tandem for Cowichan as both of these goalies are new faces to the Warriors, who have not seen either.

The Warriors and Capitals drop the puck at 7:00 PM from the Island Savings Centre in Duncan with the pre-game getting underway at 6:45 PM as I’ll have the call for you on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com.