The West Kelowna Warriors played a much more solid team game in their 2-1 victory over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks tonight.
Here’s a few photos from last night’s game, shot by the talented Ken Reid of Greystoke Photography:
1) GOALTENDING (AGAIN)
Over the course of two pre season games, the Warriors have been terrific inside the blue paint with Shane Farkas and Gunnar Nielsen carrying the mail tonight. Farkas went 11/12 in his 30+ minutes tonight while Nielsen only faced ten shots over the course of his night but was tested early when Salmon Arm was up a man on a power play and he stood tall.
The Warriors only allowed four third period shots so the defense was spot on tonight but the ‘Backs did have their Grade “A” chances and were stonewalled by Warrior netminding. Not a bad problem to have if you are West-K (or any team for that matter) with too many good goalies at camp.
2) TRIO OF PLAYMAKERS
The Warriors “top line” tonight of newcomers Mitch Martan, Parm Dhaliwal and Chase Dubois were outstanding tonight. Post game, Rylan Ferster saying that Parm was “arguably the best player on the ice tonight”, and there was no doubting that. He centred the trio for the majority of the night and did his part, chipping in a goal and constantly getting back in his own end to defend. Dubois was also very solid, driving to the front of the goal and banging bodies, even for his smaller stature.
Mitch Martan may be a name you hear more often this season. He was dynamic and was all around the puck tonight. He made a play in particular in the 3rd that impressed me, knocking down a breakout pass and ragging the puck in the corner to kill time off the clock with the game being in it’s final minute. He’s a Boston College commit and you can certainly see how well he would look in a Warrior uniform this season.
3) THE VETS CAME TO PLAY
Albeit not very many veterans in the lineup tonight, they set the tone for the rest of the group. I thought Nick Rutigliano was outstanding tonight, a defensive stalwart on the back end when it came to having his stick in the right place at the right time (stealing a goal from Ben Evanish on a wrap around on the PP right after the Warriors switched netminders). He really displayed how well balanced his game was tonight and showed how his leadership can carry through a lineup (even though his little brother Matthew gets the bragging rights at home tonight for scoring the game winner in the 2nd).
Speaking of the game winning goal, the guy who set up was pretty good tonight too. Reed Gunville made a powerful move to the backhand on the right wing to drive to the net and flip a puck on goal to create a rebound to go off of Rutigliano and in. The Warriors net drive was fantastic tonight but something about Reed’s game really impressed me tonight. He was explosive, physical and looked like a force to be reckoned with out there tonight.
My deepest apologies go out to the fans for not having a Mixlr broadcast for tonight. I desperately tried to get things up and running for the start of the game but had no such luck. I should have everything up and running for the game on Wednesday at home against the Vees.
The Warriors will be in Salmon Arm tomorrow night to take on the Silverbacks for the final of the twin billing. The game is live on FASTHockey and can also be followed via the Warriors Twitter and Facebook accounts.