The West Kelowna Warriors rebounded in a big way on Saturday night at Royal LePage Place, getting back into the win column with a 3-1 victory over the Merritt Centennials.
Game photo from Saturday night provided by Wayne Moore of Castanet:
1) THE GOAL
First off, I’d like to thank Matt Kowalski for making me Twitter famous for the night after sending out a tweet of his ridiculous lacrosse-style goal. In all seriousness, it’s likely the goal of the year in the BCHL this season as he tucked the puck up and over the shoulder of Vincent Duplessis in the Merritt goal and stunned the 906 fans in attendance at RLP leaving the Warriors faithful oh-ing and ah-ing for a minute and three seconds until Jared Marino added a second goal for West Kelowna and gave the fans something more to cheer about. It’s undoubtably the nicest goal I’ve seen live and having a chance to call it was something special. But instead of just typing about it, and seeing the fantastic visual evidence provided by Wayne Moore, here’s a look at what should be bound to receive some national attention this upcoming week:
2) THE BOUNCE BACK
Lost in the hoopla of Kowalski’s goal was the fact that the Warriors came to play on Saturday night and forgot all about their home opening performance disappointment one week ago. There was a bit of a sense of urgency and pep in the Warriors game on Saturday and that came to a head when Kowalski did what he did. Marino’s goal shortly after was another wave of pressure and a 2nd period goal from Chase Stevenson was all the scoring the Warriors needed. Cole Demers was outstanding in the crease, making 31 saves in his first start of the 2017/18 season and looked cool and calm with every save he made. Putting the trio of Chase Dubois, Parm Dhaliwal and Stevenson seemed to rejuvenate that line as all three looked in-sync and were tough to handle. Every line was rolling for the Warriors with each having good looks for offensive chances and one thing was noticeable from everyone in white: compete. Something that lacked in last Saturday’s game was made up for on Saturday and the Warriors outcompeted their opponent and came away with the victory.
3) MY TAKEAWAYS
My takeaways from the Warriors 3-1 victory over the Centennials on Saturday night is that there were a lot of things done right from West Kelowna who got back to a way of Warriors hockey we are accustomed to seeing. Working hard, competing on every shift and playing a speedy game that was tough for Merritt to contend with. Full credit to Cents netminder Vincent Duplessis who had himself a night. 33 saves and absolutely robbed a couple of sure goals that could’ve made the score much worse than the eventual 3-1 final. Cole Demers matched him save-for-save and bettered him with just allowing one goal, a strange bouncing puck that ruined the shutout bid for the 18-year-old crease keeper. It was an effort the Warriors needed after a long week of practice and made all the time worth while with a solid victory on home ice, their first win at RLP in the 2017/18 regular season.
The Warriors, like the other 16 teams in the BCHL, are set to head to Chilliwack for the Bauer BCHL Showcase taking place at Prospera Centre. The Tribe matchup against the Coquitlam Express Wednesday night before concluding their Showcase schedule on Thursday evening against the Cowichan Valley Capitals. Wednesday night’s contest is slated for a 7:30 PM puck drop with special guest on the broadcast Warriors chaplain Pastor Don Richmond and myself setting the table at 7:15 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com. As a note for anyone who will be watching the game on pay-per-view, the Warriors are designated as the road team on Wednesday night so click the “AWAY AUDIO” feed in the HockeyTV player to catch Don and myself with the call.