The West Kelowna Warriors couldn’t muster much past the goaltending of Colten Lancaster and Daniel Paul as they dropped a 5-2 decision on home ice Friday night against the Merritt Centennials.
A photo from tonight’s game from Castanet’s Wayne Moore, more to come including more pictures:
1) SPECIAL TEAMS
Special teams will always play a factor in a hockey game, no matter what. Tonight was no different for the Warriors, who went 0/7 on the power play, including a lengthy 5-on-3 in the 3rd period when the game was still 3-2. Give credit to the Centennials PK as their effort, along with their goaltending, was fantastic tonight, but the Warriors finish wasn’t quite where it would be if this was a game in January. A comeback effort that fell just short tonight for West Kelowna, and a power play goal would’ve been just what the doctor ordered for the night.
One thing that could not be questioned tonight was the intensity put forth by both the Warriors and Cents. The game started a bit dull, as you would expect with the Cents scoring just 55 seconds into the game. But oh boy, something clicked between these teams late in the 1st period and for the rest of the game because there was no love lost for two teams that will see each other six times this season.
Connor Sodergren got the feistiness started with his 2nd period fight with Nick Fidanza after a big hit by Nick Rutigliano in the Cents zone, sending Brett Jewell down to the ice. Jewell then tried to retaliate by sticking his knee out to try and hit Daly Hamilton coming out of his own zone before three Warriors surrounded him and Sodergren and Fidanza came out of the pile with their gloves off. The 2nd fight of the night featured Jake Harrison, in my opinion the best West Kelowna defender of the night. Harrison had his stick slashed out of his hand along with the stick being flicked away upon retrieval by Marshall Skapski, which started the malay and then the gloves flew off and both men assessed fighting majors.
3) SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, EVERYBODY
The Warriors threw everything at the Merritt goal tonight but could not get much past the Cents goalie tandem of Colten Lancaster and Daniel Paul. Lancaster, in particular, was very strong, going 21/21 in his 30+ minutes of action tonight. Paul was also good, making 20 saves on 22 shots and keeping the Cents ahead on the power play chances that the Warriors had to try and tie the game up. Makes Cents head coach Joe Martin’s decision hard as to who to play in net for tomorrow night’s game in Merritt, especially with Jacob Berger, a recruited goalie, not being in the lineup tonight.
Speaking of tomorrow, the pre season finally comes to a close with the game going at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena in Merritt for a 7:00 PM face-off. I’ll have the call with free audio on the Warriors Internet Network at 6:55 PM with a brief pre game show. The game is not scheduled to be on FASTHockey. The Warriors are back at RLP for their home opener on Friday, September 9th against the Trail Smoke Eaters in what should be a very memorable night for everyone in attendance with four banners being raised and much more in store.