The West Kelowna Warriors winless stretch ran to seven games on Friday night as their latest defeat came to the hands of the Nanaimo Clippers at Frank Crane Arena.
1) POWER SURGE
The Warriors power play tonight was more beneficial for the Clippers more so than West Kelowna on this night. Nanaimo had three (from my recollection) odd man rushes in just the first period alone on Friday while the Warriors were up a man. It really seemed like every time the Warriors went to a power play, the Clippers were bound for a Grade “A” chance the other way. I’ve never really seen it happen that way before but the PP will need to get something going this weekend for the Warriors to be successful. West Kelowna’s power play was officially 0/5 on the night but had some big chances when the game was 2-1 (when they gave up the shorthanded goal to Creamer) and when the game was tied at 2.
I thought the penalty kill for the Warriors was very good tonight, going 4/5 in the losing effort. The PK gave up the eventual game winner late in the third period but it was a nice shot by Ben Solin and tough to blame anything on the Warrior PK. It was a frustrating night (another one I know) and the Warriors continue to trek on and try to break their funk that has been held over them for the last seven games. The Warrior PK will be put to the test Saturday when they play Cowichan Valley and their 3rd ranked PP in the BCHL.
2) THE POSITIVES
Trevor Martin had a heck of a debut for the Warriors despite the losing result. He made 29 saves and kept the Warriors in the game, especially on the odd man rushes and Grade “A” chances that Nanaimo had in front of the Warrior goal. He was a steadying influence back there for the visitors and made tough saves look rather routine. Connor Sodergren also looked good for the Warriors tonight, protecting pucks down low and creating good scoring looks and I thought Jon Russell had his best game as a Warrior tonight, scoring a pretty nice goal in the process.
My takeaways from tonight’s game in Nanaimo is that the Warriors gave up too many chances to the Clippers before they were going to get burned. The PP needs to be more effective and cannot give up the quality looks that it did when they were up a man tonight. Playing in these tight games can be tough mentally but this young Warriors team will need to learn to be the team getting those late third period goals, not be the team being scored on in the games final minutes.
The Warriors are back at it on Saturday night from the Island Savings Centre in Duncan as they face off against the Cowichan Valley Capitals, a team that’s not overly happy after a 9-0 loss on home ice on Friday. Puck drop is 7:00 pm.