3 Thoughts: Warriors @ Spruce Kings Game #26

The West Kelowna Warriors bounced back, in a big way, with a 4-2 victory over the Prince George Spruce Kings on Saturday night at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.

BOXSCORE

WARRIORS WEBSITE RECAP

SHAE NAKA PRE GAME

WARRIORS ALUMNI BRAIDEN EPP

CAVIN TILSLEY

3 THOUGHTS:

1) NOW THAT’S A BOUNCE BACK

The Warriors needed to have a bounce back effort after the dubbing that was on Friday night and they got exactly that on the long trip to Prince George to take on the Spruce Kings. The Warriors beared down and got a big effort from all 20 players that hit the ice on Saturday and came out with an effort that was certainly worthy of two points and snapping a seven-game winless stretch. The first period was a bit of a saw off as both teams were in a bit of a feeling out process, which I think benefited the Warriors due to the long bus trip and travelling all day. The Warriors actually got the RMCA at 6:20 PM because of highway issues, which is why puck drop was delayed until 7:15 PM, in case anyone was curious about that start time. The Warriors didn’t let the short warm up time get to them and once the puck was dropped, it was just like any other game. But back to the first period of play, one in which I think it was PG’s best period of the game and was also Cole Demers best frame of the game, making 13 saves in the opening period of play. The 2nd period was, in a lot of ways, like the 1st period except the Warriors had better pressure for the majority of the period with Evan DeBrouwer standing tall in the Spruce Kings goal before Michael Ryan broke the goose egg before three goals in a span of 3:58 to begin the 3rd period, which blends nicely into my next key but what’s so impressive to me is the ability the Warriors had tonight to just get off the bus, change and get to playing, and didn’t look bad at all in the victory. The Warriors were able to grit one out up north and earned a big two points to close out a four-game week that saw them with points in three of those four contests.

2) QUICK STRIKE OFFENCE

So often this season, the Warriors have seemed to string goals together. It’s like when you score one, the Warriors come right back and get more quick strike offence. Tonight, was no different. There wasn’t much going on offensively in this game through 40 minutes but the 3rd period saw a five-goal explosion with three of the five being the Warriors markers. RJ Murphy kicked it off just 29 seconds into the frame on a wraparound with what I thought was a careless penalty by Liam Watson-Brawn as he speared Chase Stevenson behind the play and was assessed a double minor penalty coming moments later. Willie Reim made the Spruce Kings pay just moments later at the 1:48 mark on the man advantage to put the Warriors up 3-0 with Jared Marino scoring exactly two minutes after that on a shot from the right face-off circle and capped off a sequence of three goals in 3:29. The Warriors have been so good at carrying momentum this season and stockpiling goals when they need to and were explosive in this game in the 3rd period that helped them to the 4-2 win. With the tight defensive game that had been going on through the first 37 minutes of play, it looked like Michael Ryan’s goal in the final three minutes of the 2nd period would maybe be enough but the Warriors did a great job with their quick strike offence to give Cole Demers and the Warriors defence some breathing room and good enough for their 15th win of the season.

3) MY TAKEAWAYS

My takeaways from the Warriors 4-2 victory over the Prince George Spruce Kings from the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena on Saturday night was that the Warriors bounced back in a big way after a tough loss on Friday night at home to Penticton and in a game where they needed to pick up some points and avoid an “0-for” weekend, the Warriors did just that. I thought the Warriors were very good in their own zone, especially up against the top line of Prince George in Ethan de Jong, Ben Poisson and Ben Brar, who weren’t really factors in the game much at all over the course of this game. The Warriors were able to minimize the opportunities of that top unit when were in the offensive zone and when shots did get through, Cole Demers stood tall with 29 saves on 31 shots, including a big first period that saw him make 13 saves. Offensively, the Murphy-Reim-Mike Lombardi trio was the Warriors best for a 2nd straight night. Plenty to like on that line with all three having a nact for the back of the net while Reim and Murphy provide big bodies who are hard to take off the puck from below the goal line and the hard working, skill forward in Lombardi can find the soft spots in the defence to try and get the Warriors some goals. Cavin Tilsley, the former Spruce King, had a strong night along with linemate and captain Jared Marino. This is a strong performance in a regular standard but considering the travel the Warriors had to overcome and not getting to the rink until 6:20 PM and only having about 25 minutes to get stretched and ready for warm up, this was an extremely impressive effort from West Kelowna.

The Warriors will return to action on Friday night when they host the Merritt Centennials for the 2nd time this season at RLP and the 3rd time in the season series as it kicks off the Warriors Parent’s Weekend. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with tickets available at the Warriors office, by calling (250) 769-7051 or at the door ahead of puck drop.

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3 Keys: Warriors @ Spruce Kings Game #26

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The West Kelowna Warriors quickly turnaround and make the trek up north as they take on the Prince George Spruce Kings on Saturday night at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.

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Warriors vs. Spruce Kings 2017/18 Schedule:

Sunday, November 12th @ Royal LePage Place (4-3 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, November 18th @ Rolling Mix Concrete Arena (7:00 PM)

3 KEYS:

1) QUICK TURNAROUND

It might be one of the quickest turnarounds I have ever seen for a schedule in my time in the BC Hockey League. The Warriors played on Friday night at home and are now on the bus ahead of tonight’s matchup up north against the Spruce Kings. Most of the Warriors players had departed RLP around 10 PM last night and have been on the bus since 8:30 this morning when the Warriors left West Kelowna en route to the Great White North. The Warriors will have to dig deep and find some energy in them to try and take down what has been a very good Spruce Kings team this season, especially in the comfy confines of the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena. The Warriors will also be looking to rebound after surrendering 11 goals against on Friday night in an 11-3 loss to the Penticton Vees. The last time the Warriors gave up a season high amount of goals against in a game? They bounced back with a 4-3 victory over the Spruce Kings, so we’ll see if that was just a mere coincidence or if it has some merit to it. The Warriors will certainly need a better effort in the blue paint as The Tribe look to Cole Demers to give them a spark of energy from the goalmouth out in this game tonight. I talked about it on the blog last night that the Warriors effort in that game wasn’t resemblant of an 11-3 final score and I think if the Warriors can bring that same energy and work ethic, tonight could be a different story. But the boys are certainly bound to be a bit tired from how quickly you have to get on the bus and drive through the day to PG. Bus legs will be a big factor early on as well to see if the Warriors are moving their feet and making plays after a long 8+ hour long bus ride to Prince George. And I haven’t even taken into effect what that kind of a turnaround does on a broadcaster!

2) KEEPING IT SIMPLE

I liked the Warriors game plan from a night ago of trying to get as much traffic as you can to the front of the net and fire away from almost anywhere just to try and get it on goal and see what happens. I think that could be a plan that would work on this night as the RMCA  can be a bit of a strange place to play with all the bounces and hidden hops that an old rink always possess. This will be Cole Demers first start in the RMCA and I think those bounces mean so much more to a goalie than anyone else as if they are trying to play the puck or a puck careens off the end boards back in front, it’s always important to know your surroundings and figure out what to and not to do. I think that can apply to the Warriors offence too is to see what kind of bounces you get early on off of end boars and partitions and go on from there. You’ve also got someone to lean on for experience in Cavin Tilsley, who spent a year and bit in Prince George before being dealt to West Kelowna. Keeping the game as simple as can be will be a big key, for me anyway, as in these old buildings like in Prince George or a Merritt or Trail, there’s no sense of overcomplicating things. Get pucks in deep, traffic to the front of the goal and shot a lot. Make sure to have good communication so everyone knows where everyone is on the ice and that will help the Warriors try and buck this seven-game losing stretch away from Royal LePage Place. No need to be fancy in this building, one thaT the Spruce Kings play very, very well in.

3) THE OPPOSITION

Can I copy and paste what I said about the Spruce Kings one week ago? I feel like things haven’t changed much as these two familiar faces will just be having a change of scenery with this game up in PG from their previous meeting that took place in West Kelowna. Ethan de Jong had a pair of assists and was a 2nd star in the game against the Warriors six days ago and is the Spruce Kings most dangerous offensive weapon up front. Ben Brar (riding a five-game point streak) and Ben Poisson (points in 6 of his last 7 games) have been good for the Spruce Kings this season as well. This a is a very good Spruce Kings group that if they had one weakness would have to be on the back end. Only Liam Watson-Brawn returned from one season ago and a relatively young Spruce KIngs squad has needed the veteran presence of a guy like Chays Ruddy to help out and eat up some pretty big minutes. In goal, the Spruce Kings used Evan DeBrouwer last night against the Nanaimo Clippers and I’m uncertain whether it will be DeBrouwer or rookie Bradley Cooper to go against the Warriors once more. Cooper made 28 saves on 34 shots in the losing effort on Sunday so it may very well be DeBrouwer who sees the Warriors for the 2nd and final time in this season series, barring any playoff matchups. Prince George will also have to be watched for while on the power play as they have goals on the man advantage in each of their last three games. This PG team is build to go a long way and will be a tough, very tough team to contend with on Saturday night.

The Warriors and Spruce Kings drop the puck from Rolling Mix Concrete Arena at 7:00 PM with the pre-game show up at 6:45 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com. The Warriors return back home to kick off Parents Weekend with a matchup against the Merritt Centennials for a 7:00 PM puck drop.

3 Thoughts: Vees @ Warriors Game #25

The West Kelowna Warriors didn’t have much go in their favour in an 11-3 loss to the Penticton Vees on Friday night at Royal LePage Place.

BOXSCORE

WARRIORS WEBSITE RECAP

RYLAN FERSTER PRE GAME

FRED HARBINSON PRE GAME

SPENCER HORA

Game photos from tonight are provided by Lisa Mazurek of Lisa Mazurek Photography:

3 THOUGHTS:

1) DON’T LET THE SCORE FOOL YOU

Yes, 11-3, you read that correctly. But you know, I actually didn’t think the Warriors were as bad as that 11-3 score would indicate. In fact, the Warriors might have had a better performance tonight than they did on Wednesday night when they got a point in Vernon in a 3-2 double overtime loss to the Vipers. Unfortunately, everyone is going to look at the scoreboard and think this way a complete domination by the Vees from the opening puck drop onward but the Warriors actually outplayed the Vees through the first 20 minutes of play on Friday. The difference in the game? The Vees finished and buried on their chances and the Warriors did not get a great showing in between the pipes. The first period of this game saw a slow start, for both sides I thought, before the Vees cracked the scoring open on a nice backdoor pass from Massimo Rizzo to Dakota Boutin. The Warriors had a strong response (and by a line that I really liked tonight) as Willie Reim banged in a loose puck after Jake Harrison’s point shot deflected off of RJ Murphy’s stick in front of the goal on a redirect and came to Reim on the rebound and he made no mistake. After that goal, the Warriors came on with some good energy and looked like they had taken a lead in the 1st period as a Chase Stevenson shot was stopped by Adam Scheel and the puck was clearly visible underneath the pad of the goaltender where Stevenson banged in the loose biscuit but was blown dead by the official too early as the Vees caught a big break. I don’t think this was the turning point in which the game tilted on the scoreboard but it would have been interesting to see how the game would’ve played out if that had been correctly called. Two goals at the end of the 1st period were the back breakers in the game, specifically the 3rd goal with under a minute to go in the period that gave the Vees a two-goal advantage to the dressing room and was a tough hole for the Warriors to try to climb out of after that. The Vees came out and scored 8 more times after that opening period and buried on their opportunities, something the Warriors were not able to do and cost them in a big way.

2) IN THE CREASE

This certainly was not the best performance from Cody Porter on this night, allowing 7 goals on 28 shots and a few of those markers he would like to have back. Tough to blame Cole Demers for his efforts in this game, relieving Porter after two periods and inherited a 7-1 deficit but to be plain and simple, Porter needed to be better tonight for the Warriors to have a chance in this game. As I mentioned before, I thought the Warriors effort in this game was pretty darn good and had numerous chances to score but the puck bounced the other way on them while for the Vees, it did the complete opposite. Penticton, with stats concocted by the Warriors coaching staff, scored 11 goals on 15 scoring chances. Talk about taking advantage of your opportunities. The Warriors needed a better effort in the crease tonight, especially for the two goals at the end of the 1st period that put them down by two goals heading into the intermission, goals that I’m sure the 20-year-old Porter would like to have back. Porter was so good on Wednesday night in Vernon where he made 43 saves on 46 shots and tonight was a bit of a different story. Definitely not the way that things were expected to go tonight, with these two teams so close in their seasonal series and the stats for both side so similar but these nights do happen on occasion and it could be a good thing that the Warriors will get right back at it on get on the bus bright and early on Saturday morning to head to Prince George to face-off against the Spruce Kings.

3) MY TAKEAWAYS

My takeaways from the Warriors 11-3 loss to the Penticton Vees on Friday night at Royal LePage Place is that despite the heavily lopsided score, I thought the Warriors didn’t play too bad of a game. They competed hard, worked for their chances and just weren’t able to bury in the same way the Vees were. There were plenty of chances for the Warriors to score on this night as I didn’t think Adam Scheel looked as comfortable as I have seen him before but the lack of finish hurt the Warriors in this one. And they needed their goaltender to make a save on Cody Porter didn’t help them out in that department, one of the rare times we can say that the Warriors goaltending wasn’t enough. I liked the “Stars and Stripes” line of Mike Lombardi-RJ Murphy-Willie Reim, especially with Murphy and Reim having particularly strong games. I will say that this game was one of the strangest ones I’ve had to call before because it wasn’t for a lack of effort and the Warriors were not outplayed to the extent of an 11-3 score. As Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster said to the media after the game, “It’s not often you lose 11-3 but like your team’s effort.” Tonight was an odd one and the Warriors will have to put it in the back of their mind and bring the same kind of effort for Saturday night in Prince George and hope to get a couple more saves than they did on this occasion.

The Warriors will board the bus bright and early on Saturday morning (actually in about 7 hours) as they head up north to take on the Prince George Spruce Kings for the second time in a week. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM from the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena with the pre-game show starting at 6:45 PM with myself on the call on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com.

3 Keys: Vees @ Warriors Game #25

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The West Kelowna Warriors look to extend their home winning streak to seven games as they host their Highway 97 rival in the Penticton Vees on Friday night from Royal LePage Place.

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LISTEN

Warriors vs. Vees 2017/18 Schedule:

Friday, September 29th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (2-1 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, November 3rd @ Royal LePage Place (4-3 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, November 17th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

Wednesday, November 29th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)

Friday, December 8th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)

Friday, December 15th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

3 KEYS:

1) LIMITING MISTAKES

As is always the case when playing the Vees, or really any team in this league for that matter, you have to limit your mistakes. Obviously mistakes are going to happen but minimizing those mistakes will be crucial in this game tonight against a team that is so good at putting those mistakes into the back of the net. I thought the Warriors played a very good game against the Vees a couple of weeks ago in a 4-3 win at Royal LePage Place and didn’t really make too many mistakes and were able to come away with the win. The Warriors effort in that game was terrific and will need to be replicated for tonight in order to have a chance to pick up a W. The Warriors will have to clean up some of their defensive zone play from Wednesday night in a 3-2 double overtime loss in Vernon against the Vipers. West Kelowna struggled at times to cleanly come out of their own zone, especially when on the penalty kill early in the game, and will look to clean that up ahead of tonight’s matchup with the Vees. The Warriors defence will have to be on their toes with their zone exits as the Vees are very good at turning loose pucks in the neutral zone back into offensive chances while the Vees defence are extremely mobile and proficient at getting the puck cleanly out of their own zone as the Warriors fore check will look to disrupt that. Statistically, these two teams match up very well against one another as they both defend well and are on the lower end of scoring compared to other teams in the league and should make for another good matchup between two teams who have been about as evenly matched through two regular season games as could be. Both the Warriors and Vees have 5 goals in this season series and special teams being about the same (the Warriors have one PPG in the series to the Vees none) and I can imagine a tight third game of the season set will be on deck again tonight.

2) STAYING DISCIPLINE

The Warriors will have to stray away from the sin bin in this game as it will be another battle against a sharp special teams team. The Vees are ranked 6th in the BCHL in power play percentage but have scored 7 PPG’s in their last 4 games, which is pretty darn good. West Kelowna will have to be weary of that power play that has gotten hot (despite the absence of three of their bigger weapons on the man advantage, which I’ll touch on it the next key) and will look to rebound after a bit of an undisciplined night on Wednesday with 7 penalty kills and the Vipers took advantage with 2 power play goals in the game. Against the Vees this season, the Warriors have done a good job at staying discipline as they’ve gone to the penalty kill just 7 times in the season series and have killed off all of those penalties and will have to adapt that same kind of discipline for tonight, especially against a team that is as hot on the power play as the Vees are. In fact, there has only been one power play goal in this season series so far with Chase Dubois getting the marker in the Warriors 2-1 loss to the Vees back in late September so it’s been a very clean season set so far that has featured some really good hockey. On the flip side of the special teams battle, after scoring 5 power play goals in 3 games, the Warriors went 0-for-4 on Wednesday night and will have a tough task tonight contending with the BCHL’s top penalty killing unit in the Vees, who have killed off 12 of their last 13 infractions. Special teams hasn’t had much of a factor in the bout between the Warriors and Vees through two games of this season series but that could change tonight.

3) THE OPPOSITION

Though you’re not going to find any Vees in the top 20 in the BCHL in scoring, this team does have some scoring capability that came to fruition on Wednesday in a 7-1 victory over the Surrey Eagles at the SOEC. Grant Cruikshank had a pair of goals and an assist (all in the first period of that game) before receiving the 2nd goaltender interference penalty of the game for the Vees which resulted in an automatic game misconduct and a one-game suspension and will be a big loss for the Vees up front in tonight’s game. Adding to the players out of the lineup will be forward Chris Klack, who returned to the Vees after a six-game absence in their last meeting against the Warriors before playing only two games and got hurt in practice and is now on the injured reserve. Another forward, who scored in that 4-3 Warriors win over the Vees on November 3rd, Jackson Keane will miss this matchup against the Warriors and a total of 14 goals and 30 points out of the lineup for Penticton tonight. Even with those three forwards out, this Vees team is still a very good hockey club possessing the likes of captain Owen Sillinger, who leads the team with 19 points, Dakota Boutin, Cassidy Bowes and Taylor Ward up front with Ward coming in off of back-to-back multi-point games. The defense and goaltending is the Vees biggest weapons with Jonny Tychonick being ranked as one of the highest skaters amongst the NHL’s Central Scouting as the Warriors will be seeing a lot of #20 tonight. NHL draft picks Nicky Leivermann (Colorado Avalanche) and Ryan O’Connell (Toronto Maple Leafs) are always a steady pairing and Joe Leahy adds a veteran 20-year-old presence on the back end. University of North Dakota commit Adam Scheel has been solid in the Vees crease this season, owning a 2.13 GAA (2nd best in the BCHL) and a .928 SV% (also 2nd best in the league). The Vees are a tough team to score against and the Warriors are going to have to bring their “A” game to take down their rival from the South Okanagan.

The Warriors and Vees drop the puck at 7:00 PM tonight with tickets available at the Warriors office, by calling (250) 769-7051 or at the door ahead of puck drop. If you can’t make it down to RLP tonight, I’ll have the call on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com beginning at 6:45 PM with the pre-game show.

3 Keys: Warriors @ Vipers Game #24

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The West Kelowna Warriors search for their first victory on the road in five games as they head to Kal Tire Place to take on the Vernon Vipers on Wednesday night.

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LISTEN

Warriors vs. Vipers 2017/18 Schedule:

Saturday, October 28th @ Kal Tire Place (5-2 Vipers) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, November 4th @ Kal Tire Place (5-3 Vipers) (BOXSCORE)

Wednesday, November 15th @ Kal Tire Place (7:00 PM)

Saturday, November 25th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Tuesday, January 16th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

Friday, January 26th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

3 KEYS:

1) FIXING THE ROAD WOES

Maybe wearing home jerseys underneath of the Warriors road sweaters could be the key for them to finally get a road win. The Warriors will need to find something that works as they’ve dropped their last five contests in opponents rinks and will need to power through that pain and memory and get a much needed road win. I don’t know if I’ve seen a team has such a disparity when playing on the road and when playing at home, especially right now with the way the wins are piling up at home and the losses are piling up on the road. Certainly the defensive zone will have to be a major priority for the Warriors tonight, having surrendered five or more goals in each of their last four road games, not to mention the nine West Kelowna gave up in Wenatchee last Friday night and being outscored by a 27-9 margin in those five consecutive losses on the road. But I really liked the way the Warriors bounced back from that effort on Friday and came out with a burr under their saddle on Sunday in their win over Prince George. Now it comes for another trip up the highway to see the Vernon Vipers and another extremely tough building to play in. Vernon is 7-2-2-0 in 11 games so far this season at home and are coming off of their 2nd loss on home ice that was handed to them by the Penticton Vees on Saturday night in a 4-1 loss. This is a Vernon team that will be looking to make amends for a rough weekend series against the Vees that saw them pick up just one of a possible four points after a stretch that saw them pick up at least a point in eight straight games. The games that these two teams have played this season have been beyond entertaining, with their last matchup on November 4th being a nail biter that went down to the final moments of the 3rd period. To wrap up this key, the Warriors will need to give it their all and protect their goal well against a very strong offensive team and will be tough to shut the Vipers down but will need a strong performance from their goaltending outward, whoever sees the crease on Wednesday.

2) AN EXTRA MAN CAN GO A LONG WAY

Although I usually reserve the “special teams” talk for when a team has a top ranked power play or penalty kill (which the Warriors do) but these two teams have had plenty of back and forth in the special teams department this season and I think tonight might have the same flavour. Both the Warriors and the Vipers have three power play goals in their season series with each team scoring twice on the power play in the first game and once in the second game, plus a shorthanded marker for Parm Dhaliwal and the Warriors. Discipline will be a big key for both sides and maybe more so for the visitors as the Warriors will have to work hard to keep the Vernon power play off the ice as they have yielded 12 power plays to the Vipers over their first two games. It’s a case of two power plays that are trending in seperate directions as the Warriors have scored 5 power play goals in their last 3 games and are getting back on track on the man advantage after a period of time where things just weren’t clicking for goals, which is kind of where the Vipers man advantage is at right now. Vernon is 0 for their last 16 while on the power play with their last PPG coming against the Warriors four games ago. This is why, to me anyway, this will be such a key in this game. The Warriors have had some success against the Vernon penalty kill this season, as have the Vipers against the Warriors PK, and have had their power play see a recent spurt in production. 5-on-5 play will, obviously, always be a key no matter what game you’re playing but the special teams battle in this game could potentially determine who comes away with a big two points and might remedy some of the Warriors issues in winning away from home.

3) THE OPPOSITION

The Vipers have plenty of offensive talent in their forward core and possess many weapons to be weary of. Stapley and Jimmy Lambert are the two biggest threats for Vernon, although Lambert did not play on Saturday night after taking a hit in the game on Friday against the Vees. Captain Jagger Williamson and Jordan Sandhu are skilled and hard working forwards that can be elusive when trying to check them with the same being said for speedster Keyvan Mokhtari. Josh Prokop had a hat trick the last time these two teams and has points in three of his last four games. On the back end, Michael Ufberg leads the way with 5 goals and 25 points this season and is a quarterback on the power play as he leads the Vipers with 8 assists on the man advantage. Shane Kelly is a hard-nosed defenseman that is tough to get by and get to the net and Chris Jandric has improved from last season, returning as one of the top four d-men for the Vipers. Vernon also has two strong goaltenders in the likes of Ty Taylor and Anthony Yamnitsky, who are in the top 10 in the BCHL in both goals against average and save percentage. Yamnitsky got the start on Saturday night against the Vees and the Vipers have started both netminders against the Warriors this season against West Kelowna this season so it’s a toss up as to who might go in goal for the Vipers tonight. The Warriors will be in tough tonight but have shown that they can play in that building and compete with the Vipers but have fallen just short in their last two meetings. Tonight will be a good test for West Kelowna against a team they haven’t beaten this season and I’m sure are happy to wrap up their regular season schedule in Kal Tire Place by November 15th.

The Warriors and Vipers drop the puck at 7:00 PM tonight from Kal Tire Place with the pre-game show going at 6:45 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com as I’ll have the call from Vernon. The Warriors are back at home on Friday night when they host the Penticton Vees at Royal LePage Place.

 

3 Thoughts: Spruce Kings @ Warriors Game #24

The West Kelowna Warriors picked up their 6th straight victory on home ice with a 4-3 victory over the Prince George Spruce Kings on Sunday afternoon at Royal LePage Place.

BOXSCORE

WARRIORS WEBSITE RECAP

RYLAN FERSTER PRE GAME

ADAM MAGLIO PRE GAME

HIGHLIGHTS

3 THOUGHTS:

1) GOOD ALL AROUND WIN

The Warriors played a pretty solid game in a 4-3 victory over the Prince George Spruce Kings on Sunday afternoon at Royal LePage Place. The Warriors came out with good energy to start the game, wanting to avenge a tough loss on Friday night to the Wenatchee Wild down south. West Kelowna started the game off well and got rewarded with the game’s opening goal courtesy of a gorgeous 2-on-1 play between Jared Marino and Lucas Cullen, who has three goals in his first three games as a Warrior. Chase Stevenson pushed the Warriors advantage to two goals off a nice passing play between himself, Parm Dhaliwal and Chase Dubois, a trio of players that have been starting to catch a bit of fire as of late. The three got put together on a line once again after a few games of being split up and made a big difference in the game tonight. Kyle Johnson got the Spruce Kings on the board with a shorthanded goal before the Warriors got ahead by a pair of goals once more as Mike Lombardi continued his strong play as of the last few weeks as he buried his 6th goal of the season to give the Warriors their two-goal advantage back. Lombardi has been a good offensive add for the Warriors, scoring four goals and eight points in nine games since being acquired from the Chilliwack Chiefs. PG, again, cut the deficit in half as Dustin Manz fired in a shot to drop the Warriors lead to 3-2. Jared Mainro ended an eight-game goalless drought with a goal from the top of the crease to give the Warriors a 4-2 lead before Ben Brar got the Spruce Kings to within a goal but the Warriors would hang on for their 6th straight victory on home ice.

2) THAT HOME SWEET HOME FEELING

Home ice has been a huge key for the Warriors this season as they picked up their 6th straight win on home ice and improved their record at RLP to 10-2-0-0 on the season. I don’t really know what it has been about playing in front of the crowd at RLP but it has been an energizing spark for West Kelowna. The Warriors might have to start wearing their home jerseys under their road sweaters to try and mimic some of that success that they have had on home ice this season. The Warriors have played with that extra little bit of energy at home this season and despite three goals against, I thought the Warriors looked pretty good inside their defensive zone tonight, limiting the Spruce Kings chances and not getting many quality looks at Cody Porter in the Warriors crease. West Kelowna did an excellent job of getting into shooting lines and not giving the Spruce Kings many quality looks at the net. Give credit to Prince George though, this was a team playing their 3rd game in 2 and a half games and didn’t really show any signs of fatigue. That’s a good team that will put up a very tough fit when the Warriors visit the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena on Saturday night. The Warriors gave an honest effort today and came away with a big two points to, somewhat, ease the pain of Friday night’s defeat and give them a victory heading into a very tough week of action.

3) MY TAKEAWAYS

My takeaways from the Warriors 4-3 victory over the Prince George Spruce Kings on Sunday afternoon at Royal LePage Place is that this was the bounceback the Warriors needed after Friday night and came out with a strong effort on home ice. The forward lines were going all night long and the new look Stars and Stripes line (a Don Richmond-generated name) played a strong afternoon with RJ Murphy and Willie Reim being forces down low and tough to take off the puck while Lombardi adds some nice scoring ability to that line. The Warriors will have  a few days off in preparation for a big matchup against the Vernon Vipers on Wednesday night at Kal Tire Place. West Kelowna wraps up their regular season schedule at KTP with the game on Wednesday against a Vernon team that has been playing some pretty good hockey over the last little while. We’ll have the call on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com beginning at 6:45 PM with the pre-game show and puck drop slated for 7:00 PM.

3 Keys: Spruce Kings @ Warriors Game #23

 vs,. 

The West Kelowna Warriors look to extend their home-winning streak to 6 games as the Prince George Spruce Kings make their lone visit to Royal LePage Place for a Sunday matinee.

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Warriors vs.  Spruce Kings 2017/18 Schedule:

Sunday, November 12th @ Royal LePage Place (2:30 PM)

Saturday, November 18th @ Rolling Mix Concrete Arena (7:00 PM)

3 KEYS:

1) NEEDING A BOUNCE BACK

The Warriors need a bounce back, in the worst kind of way, after their drubbing of a loss on Friday night in Wenatchee. I think this team will be fired up and ready to go to play in front of their home crowd and trying to get back to their winning ways, especially on home ice. The Warriors will look to forget about Friday and will need a good performance on Sunday afternoon against a Prince George team that will be playing their 3rd game in 2 and a half days. So a big key: energy. The Warriors will need to bring it. West Kelowna had been playing some pretty good hockey before Friday’s oddity and the Warriors hope that Friday was just an oddity. And Prince George’s three games in those two and a half days are, well, I feel like a grind is an understatement. The Spruce Kings were able to score three goals in the 3rd period to pick up a big win on Friday night in Trail against the Smoke Eaters before heading to Wenatchee and dropping a tight 3-2 score. Now are in West Kelowna for a Sunday afternoon tilt. That’s a lot of mileage on the ol’ iron lung and the Warriors will have to jump on what could be a tired Spruce Kings lineup as early and as often as they can. With the result on Friday night still fresh in their minds and a day off on Saturday to stew over that with the day off and no game, I can imagine this team will be geared up and ready to go come puck drop at 2:30 PM.

2) BETWEEN THE PIPES

For the first time since March 11th, 2014, Cody Porter will start in the Warriors goal. The 20-year-old goaltender was added to the Warriors roster on Thursday ahead of the trip to Wenatchee, a game in which Porter got into, allowing 6 goals on 27 shots in his first appearance in net since a few weeks ago with the St. John’s Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. Porter spent three seasons in the Western Hockey League with the Vancouver Giants and Calgary Hitmen, posting a career record of 52-42-5-4 with a 3.30 GAA and a .887 SV% to go along with 5 shutouts. Now there may be some confusion as to the Warriors signing of Porter and I will try, as best as I can, to clear some of that fogginess up. The Warriors certainly felt confident in the ability of Cole Demers to start games, as he did last season, but with Nik Amundrud out for what may have been longer than what was originally expected, the opportunity to bring in an experienced goaltender to help win some games was a relative no-brainer, especially with the week the Warriors have coming up. West Kelowna plays games on Sunday (hey, that’s today), Wednesday in Vernon, back at home on Friday against Penticton and then up to PG for a date with the Spruce Kings. That’s a heavy workload to ask of any goaltender. So Porter will get his first start for the Warriors back at RLP in nearly three seasons and will look to add a jolt of energy to what should already be a very motivated team heading into Sunday afternoon.

3) THE OPPOSITION

The Spruce Kings are having a strong start to the 2017/18 season and boy, can they score. They’ve got lots of talent up front and it starts with the 18-year-old forward Ethan de Jong, who recently will join the Warriors Mike Lombardi at Quinnipiac University. de Jong leads the Spruce Kings and sits 10th in the BCHL with 27 points and is currently riding a five-game point streak that sees him with two goals and six points over that span. The returning players are the straw that stirs the Spruce Kings drink, so to speak, as the top four in scoring are made up of the returning core of this team including Ben Brar, Ben Poisson and captain Kyle Johnson. The inexperience on this team comes on the back end as only Liam Watson-Brawn returned on the blue line and only one 20-year-old in Chays Ruddy playing in their defence. But the Spruce Kings have added strong pair of goaltenders, trading for Evan DeBrouwer from the Nanaimo Clippers and getting Bradley Cooper, who will likely start on Sunday, from the Burnaby Winter Club. Cooper made 33 saves on 35 shots last season as an AP for the Langley Rivermen against the Warriors for his first career BCHL win so the Warriors will be looking to break through Cooper and get back in the win column. Overall, I like the makeup of this PG team and they will be a difficult team to contend with as the year rolls along and should make for an entertaining Sunday afternoon affair from RLP.

The Warriors and Spruce Kings drop the puck at 2:30 PM on Sunday from RLP with a Skate with the Warriors taking place immediately after the game. Tickets are available at the Warriors office, by calling (250) 769-7051 or at the door ahead of puck drop. If you can’t make it to the game, I’ll have the call starting at 2:15 PM with the pre-game show on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com.