The West Kelowna Warriors were snake bitten on Saturday night, being defeated by a 3-2 score against the Vernon Vipers at Royal LePage Place.
Game photos from tonight courtesy of Warriors photographer Ken Reid of Greystoke Photography. Full gallery HERE:
1) DYNAMITE DEMERS
As much as the Warriors have had their trouble scoring, they last thing they needed was to run into a hot goaltender, which is what they got on Saturday night in the likes of 17 year-old Cole Demers. The Kelowna native made 41 saves in a 3-1 loss on September 17th in the first meeting between these two teams and again last night and made 41 saves to get the W. He was sensational in net for the Vipers, handling everything that was thrown his way outside of two Braiden Epp markers, one of those being a deflection.
Demers even handled the deflections with ease as he made pad save after pad save on tipped shots by Warriors forwards. He sees shots well through traffic and that was prevalent on Saturday as he made 3 or 4 excellent saves through traffic in the games opening period. The Warriors pumped 41 shots on goal but Demers was up for the task on almost every one of them to pick up his 2nd win of the season and gave the Vipers their 6th team win of the year.
2) STICKING WITH THE PROCESS
The Warriors have had the effort to win both games of the weekend but just couldn’t find the back of the net. They threw 43 shots on goal on Friday against Salmon Arm and another 43 last night as the pressure is there, but the finish is not. It’s something that will come as the Warriors younger players continue to gain confidence and the high amount of shots on goal will help that. The Warriors have to keep sticking with the gameplan and continue firing pucks on goal because at some point, the dam is going to burst and the Warriors goal scoring will come around.
The Warriors special teams is still a bit of a work in progress, as every teams will be all season long. The power play is clicking as of late, scoring twice in their last two games, including Braiden Epp’s 2nd goal that West-K got just seconds after a penalty to Hunter Zandee expired, so technically it was a 5-on-4. The penalty kill is a bit of a different story, having not had much success as of late, but West Kelowna only took two penalties last night and were able to stay out of the box against a highly threatening power play of the Vipers, which entered last night ranked 2nd in the BCHL.
My takeaways from last night were again, this team has played well enough to win games, they just have to finish and bury on their chances. The effort is there and Xavier Burghardt played well in goal but the Warriors fell victim to a hot goaltender and an opportunistic Vernon offence. They stayed discipline and kept the pressure on all night but just couldn’t break through for any points over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The Warriors are back in action next Friday when they head to the Shaw Centre and take on the Salmon Arm Silverbacks before they head back to RLP on Saturday to finish off the home-and-home. Puck drop is 7:00 PM with pre game at 6:50 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and FASTHockey.com.