The West Kelowna Warriors look to split their Thanksgiving weekend when they host the Vernon Vipers tonight at Royal LePage Place.
Friday, September 17th @ Royal LePage Place (3-1 Warriors)
Saturday, October 8th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Friday, November 18th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Friday, December 2nd @ Kal Tire Place (7:00 PM)
Friday, January 20th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Wednesday, February 1st @ Kal Tire Place (7:00 PM)
Saturday, February 11th @ Kal Tire Place (6:00 PM)
The Warriors come into tonight after a tough 5-3 loss last night against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. West Kelowna allowed three goals in the first period but outshot the ‘Backs by a 30-16 margin but couldn’t quite make it all the way back for the complete comeback as they fell two goals short. Reed Gunville, Chase Dubois and Connor Sodergren scored in the losing but valiant effort for the Warriors.
There were lots of positives to carry over from last night and the offence looks like it could be heading in the right direction with three goals scored last night, tripling their goal output over the three games prior to last night. The Warriors finish their five-game homestand tonight with Vernon in town and although they will finish it below .500 no matter what, getting a win tonight would surely make things better as they currently sit at 1-3 during the last four games.
These two teams have played once before as the Warriors were victors on September 17th in a 3-1 win over the Vipers at RLP, a season series in which the first three games are played in West-K before the scene shifts to Kal Tire Place in Vernon. Nick Rutigliano, Quin Foreman and Mitch Barker all tallied for the Warriors while the goaltending was terrific on both sides as Xavier Burghardt made 30 saves on 31 shots for his first win as a Warrior while Cole Demers was the hard luck loser, stopping 39 of the 42 shots thrown his way.
The Vipers enter tonight with a 3-5-0-2 record and have lost three of their last four games. Last weekend Vernon was on the Island last weekend where they lost two and won one, losing 5-3 on Friday in Powell River against the Kings before a double OT setback against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs by a 3-2 score before salvaging the trip with a 5-3 win in Nanaimo against the Clippers.
Jump to last night where the Vipers put 42 shots on goal in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Surrey Eagles. Hunter Zandee and Mitch Oliver provided the goals for Vernon but they ran into a hot goaltender in the likes of Michael Botiz and came up on the wrong side of a Darius Davidson overtime winner. So both teams will be hungry for wins after strong games last night but being unable to come up with a W.
The Vipers have second year forwards Steven Jandric (5-5-10) and Jimmy Lambert (2-8-10) pacing them in scoring while rookie defensemen Carter Stephenson (3-6-9) is having a great start to his young season with nine points in nine games.The Vipers have scored the most goals in the Interior Division with 37 goals for and sit 4th in the BCHL in that ranking.
The Warriors will again be without the services of Michael Ryan, who will sidelined for a few games with an upper body injury, a tough break for a guy that started the year very well. One other scratch will be made but that will be known closer to game time. The starting goaltender is on the same basis as it’s a coin flip for who is in goal tonight.
The Vipers will scratch Ryan Brushett and Nic Rasovic as the pair are out with injuries for tonight’s game plus a game time decision. Cole Demers (5 GP 1-3 2.71 GAA .926 SV%) gets the start in goal for Vernon tonight.
Puck drop is at 7:00 pm with pre game at 6:50 pm on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com.