The West Kelowna Warriors will look to drop their current five-game winless stretch and fight for a good cause in the process as they host the Penticton Vees at Royal LePage Place tonight on Breast Cancer Awareness Night.
Friday, September 30th @ Royal LePage Place (3-1 Vees [BOXSCORE])
Saturday, October 22nd @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Tuesday, November 22nd @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Wednesday, January 11th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)
Saturday, January 21st @ South Okanagan Events Centre (6:00 PM)
Friday, February 17th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)
Tuesday, February 21st @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
The Warriors come into tonight’s game with a five-game winless stretch hanging over them after a tough 3-2 loss on Wednesday night against the Coquitlam Express at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex. West Kelowna got down by a 2-0 score early in the 2nd period but then clawed their way back thanks to the first career BCHL goal from Parm Dhaliwal and the fourth goal of the season from Braiden Epp and the game was tied at two. But with just 16 seconds to go in the game, Blake Hayward scored on a partial breakaway to give the Express a 3-2 victory and a deflating loss, to say the least, for the Warriors. Xavier Burghardt made 19 saves on 22 shots in a losing cause for the Warriors.
The Warriors and Vees have met once this season, back in late September at RLP in the first meeting (of meaning) between the two teams since their hard-fought six game playoff series of a season ago. The Vees tallied two early goals by Grant Cruikshank and Nicholas Jones before the five-minute mark in the 1st period to take a 2-0 lead before Cruikshank added another early in the 2nd to take a 3-0 lead. Reed Gunville would get the Warriors on the board early in the 3rd period but it was too little, too late as the Vees skated away with a 3-1 win.
The Warriors have a tall task ahead of them tonight with the Vees in town and it gets no easier with the Warriors being 2nd from the bottom in goals for in the BCHL with 39. Only the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (31) have scored a fewer amount of goals and although the goals weren’t an issue last weekend in the losses to Salmon Arm, the Warriors could’ve used a goal or two in the loss on Wednesday night in Coquitlam. But new forward Matthew Campese made his Warrior and BCHL debut on Wednesday night and made an immediate impact with an assist and will get some more practice time this week to gel with his teammates.
The Warriors are hosting their Breast Cancer Awareness night at RLP tonight and will be wearing special commemorative pink jerseys for the occasion. The jerseys, which will be worn for just this game tonight, will be available for auction through the Warriors website with the bidding starting on Monday morning.
The Vees come into tonight after a victory against the Merritt Centennials last night at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena by a 4-2 score. Taylor Ward, Chris Klack, Ben Brar and Kenny Johnson all tallied in the victory while Nolan Hildebrand made 26 saves on 28 shots in the victory. The Vees are recently coming off of a 10-game win streak in which they lost last Saturday when being shutout by a 3-0 score on home ice.
The Vees are again atop the BCHL standings and this season has been helped in large part to their ability to keeping the puck out of the goal. The Western Canada Cup hosts lead the league in goals against with only 29 given up so far and goaltender Mathew Robson, the likely starter for tonight’s game, is having a season to remember in his first season in the Vees crease. The 20-year old is leading the BCHL in wins (9) and goals against average (1.74) while being tied for the lead in save percentage (.931).
Lineup news for both clubs looks like Warriors D-man Michael Ryan will not play as he is on the IR with an upper body injury with the starters and other scratches to be determined. For the Vees, defensemen Gabe Bast is on IR and will not play tonight while Jonny Tychonick was the lone scratch in last night’s game in Merritt and we will know closer to game time as to who their scratch will be tonight. As mentioned before, Nolan Hildebrand starting last night for Penticton as the Warriors will likely see Mat Robson in between the pipes tonight.
Puck drop is slated for 7:00 pm at Royal LePage Place but if you can’t make it down to RLP, catch all the action with free live audio on the Warriors Internet Network or pay-per-view video on hockeytv,com (links above) with pre game starting at 6:50 pm.