The West Kelowna Warriors will hope for some Island air to change how things have been going recently as they try to buck a six-game winless stretch tonight at Frank Crane Arena against the Nanaimo Clippers.
Friday, October 28th @ Frank Crane Arena (7:00 PM)
Saturday, December 17th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
The Warriors come into this weekend’s stretch of hockey on a six game winless skid. The latest coming to the Penticton Vees last Saturday night at RLP by a 6-3 score after the Warriors battled back from 3-0 and 4-1 deficits to get the game within one before the Vees tallied twice in the 3rd period to pick up the victory. Connor Sodergren scored twice along with Quin Foreman while Shane Farkas made 32 saves on 38 shots in the losing effort.
This is the first meeting between the two sides since last year’s BCHL round robin in which Nanaimo and West Kelowna played twice. It took until overtime but the Warriors bested the Clippers and moved on to the BCHL Finals after the win. In the regular season, the Warriors were victorious in both of the meetings, winning by identical 7-4 scores at both Frank Crane Arena and Royal LePage Place.
The Warriors will have a new netminder grace the blue paint tonight as Trevor Martin will start in the West Kelowna goal. The 20-year old came over to the Warriors after being released from the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL where he had very good numbers for the Memorial Cup hosts from a season ago. In 38 games played last season, Martin amassed a 2.63 GAA and a .911 SV% with Red Deer along with 9 playoff games and a 3.05 GAA and a .905 SV%. This is a big move for the Warriors and I’m sure fans are hoping this turns out like the last 20-year old goaltender to come to the Warriors in the middle of a season.
West Kelowna will look for the success that they had last season on Island road trips to translate into this year. The Warriors finished 5-1 in their six games on each of their Island trips while compiling a 7-3 record against the Island Division as a whole last season. This game marks the first matchup that the Warriors have against the Island Division this season with a 3-1-0 record coming outside of their own division.
The veterans are coming up large in helping the cause for the Warriors offence over the last few games and that charge has been spearheaded by two returnees in Quin Foreman and Connor Sodergren. Foreman has points in three of his last four games with 2 goals and 8 points in those three games while his Massachusetts counterpart in Sodergren is riding a three-game point streak with 3 goals and 4 points over the stretch.
The Clippers enter play tonight riding a hot stretch as of late with a 5-1-0-1 record in their last 7 games, vaulting their record to a 9-6-0-2 mark. Nanaimo is coming off of a big 2-1 road victory in Duncan against the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Tuesday. Matt Creamer and newcomer Tate Coughlin scored in the victory while Evan DeBrouwer made 28 saves on 29 shots for his fourth win in his last five games.
Nanaimo has only seven returnees from last season’s Island Division with captain Spencer Hewson, Taylor Karel, Matt Kowalski, Sean Buchanan, Matt Creamer, Adam Pilotte and Lucas Finner (who will be out for the foreseeable future with an injury). The Clippers are led in scoring by 18 year-old forward Tristan Crozier, added from the AJHL’s Grand Prairie Storm, who has 7 goals and 12 points in 17 games played. Nanaimo did get a big boost offensively, adding ex-WHLer and Kelowna Rocket Tate Coughlin to their roster last week and made an immediate impact with his game-winner on Tuesday in Duncan.
Puck drop is set for 7:00 pm tonight with the pre-game show airing at 6:50 pm from Frank Crane Arena on the Warriors Internet Network and hockeytv.com. The Warriors continue their Island trip in Duncan tomorrow against the Cowichan Valley Capitals.