The West Kelowna Warriors got the most offence they have had in two weeks but fell short by a 5-3 score against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in what was a tremendous comeback effort.
Photos from tonight courtesy of Ken Reid of Greystoke Photography:
1) THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
This game feels like one that the Warriors should’ve gotten a better fate than what they did. West Kelowna came out of the gate hard, getting the games opening goal off the stick of Reed Gunville but the Silverbacks would answer with three goals of their own before the period was out. The Warriors were the better team through the next 40 minutes, outshooting Salmon Arm 30-16 over the 2nd and 3rd period but couldn’t beat Silverback netminder Brandon Kegler. It was a valiant comeback effort that fell just short and one that the Warriors have a lot of positives to take with them from that one.
Salmon Arm played the part of a good road team, capitalizing on all their opportunities, including going 3/9 on the power play. The ‘Backs got timely goaltending from Kegler and rode that to a big road victory, their 2nd of the season. But what West Kelowna did in this game was push the pace and give it all they had in the offensive zone, and were rewarded with three goals on a night that they should’ve had more. Hopefully this kind of performance can spur the Warrior offence into a good groove with a solid three goals put up and getting a youngster like Chase Dubois some confidence with his 3rd period goal, his first with the Warriors.
2) TIMELY SAVES
The Warriors got the timely saves they needed on Tuesday night against Chilliwack while tonight, on the other hand, was a different story. They needed Shane Farkas to make a save on what looked like a stoppable puck on Marcus Mitchell’s opening goal for Salmon Arm and then again on a puck between his legs on a PP marker from Haydn Hopkins. I don’t want to criticize the goaltending too much but tonight was a night where the Warriors needed a couple of stops in big parts of the game and didn’t get them. Two of the biggest blows were in the third period on shots from the point by Jake Heerspink (with the eventual game winning goal) and Spencer Hora (with what was the dagger and sent the fans to the exits). A rough night in goal for the Warriors makes for what will hopefully be a bounce back in the crease tomorrow night.
Obviously it wasn’t just the goaltending but Salmon Arm got some big stops by Kegler, despite how I feel, just my opinion personally, he wasn’t overly comfortable in the crease tonight, looking like he had to battle to make a lot of saves and pushed rebounds out that the Warriors just couldn’t get a handle on. West Kelowna came in waves throughout the 2nd and 3rd periods but just couldn’t beat Kegler, for whatever reason that may have been. It just didn’t seem like the Warriors night tonight.
My takeaways from tonight are that this was a good enough 40 minute effort for two points, but the Warriors could’ve used another 20 minutes. The first period wasn’t all bad really, with a melee at the end of the frame after Haydn Hopkins fired a puck toward Farkas well after the whistle. Hopkins was wrestled to the ice by Nick Rutigliano and everyone on the ice grabbed a dance partner with Scott Allan and Ryley Booth dropping the mitts for a quick but spirited scrap. The Warriors also laid the body tonight, with a couple of hits that knocked two ‘Backs out of the game in Carson Bolduc and Julian Timba (both were clean plays but the Warriors did receive penalties for tripping and interference on the sequences).
This was a highly entertaining game between two division rivals, who see each other twice next weekend and I’m sure that the games will be as full of energy as tonight was. The Warriors played with a ton of zip to their game and again, should’ve been rewarded with more than a loss, in my opinion. They will be taking on a hungry Vernon Vipers team Saturday night, who are coming off of a 3-2 loss in overtime to the Surrey Eagles on Friday at home, Should be an good one between two teams that don’t like each other a whole lot. Puck drops at 7 PM with pre game at 6:50 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and FASTHockey.com.