The West Kelowna Warriors kicked off the BCHL Showcase just right on Wednesday night with a 5-2 victory over the host Chilliwack Chiefs.
Photos from Wednesday night’s game courtesy of Garrett James, one of the BCHL’s feature photographers:
1) ANOTHER FULL 60 MINUTE, TEAM EFFORT
Much like their victory on Saturday night, the Warriors had another strong team game on Wednesday. Through a scoreless first frame, the Warriors controlled the majority of the play, outshooting Chilliwack by a 15-7 margin after 20 minutes. The Warriors start was full of energy and seemed to stun the Chiefs a bit, especially when Reed Gunville rang the crossbar about halfway through the frame. The energy translated into the 2nd period with an early goal courtesy of Quin Foreman followed by two more for three total in the middle stanza.
The Warriors PK was again solid, going 4/4 on the night while the power play broke through for a goal and went 1/3 with Foreman’s wicked wrister providing the lone PP marker of the game for either side. West Kelowna played a much more disciplined game than what we saw on Saturday, which factored into a large part of their success tonight.
2) CLAMPING DOWN
The Warriors did an excellent job at clamping down defensively and having that “bend, but not break” mentality, especially with a one-goal lead in the majority of the 3rd period. I know they both scored, but on a night when you can hold potent offensive talent like Jordan Kawaguchi and Kale Kane to a goal each, I’d consider that a pretty good night. Kawaguchi was explosive but not like what he usually is and you have to credit the Warriors defense and goaltender Xavier Burghardt for that, who was outstanding for the 2nd straight game with 31 saves on 33 shots tonight.
This is a team that is very well capable of putting up an ugly blemish on the scoreboard but the Warriors kept all the traffic to the outside and anything that got inside was handled by Burghardt. I also thought newcomer Blake Coffey had a strong BCHL debut tonight in the action he saw with, in my opinion, Stephen Kleysen being the best all around defender from tonight, chipping in with an assist and playing a strong defensive game.
3) SLEEPOVER AT PROSPERA?
No, the Warriors are staying in a hotel but it wouldn’t be a bad idea, considering that West Kelowna has just 15 hours between games with the Warriors wrapping up their Showcase schedule tomorrow at 1:00 PM on Thursday afternoon. This is easily the craziest schedule I’ve ever seen, nevertheless to a team that won the entire league last season. But the Warriors will have to find a way to power through some tiredness and soreness in order to make the Showcase a complete success and go 2-0.
As mentioned, it’s a quick turnaround for the Warriors who will take on the Express at 1:00 PM Thursday afternoon. Pre game starts at 12:50 PM on FASTHockey pay-per-view and free audio on mixlr.com/bchlwarriors.