The West Kelowna Warriors came from behind tonight from down 2-0 in the first period to pick up a 3-2 overtime victory over their Interior Division rivals in the Vernon Vipers.
Game photo from tonight courtesy of Wayne Moore from Castanet:
1) BATTLING FROM BEHIND
The Warriors found themselves behind after 20 minutes yet again on Friday night, but this time was different than the last two occasions. West Kelowna got a 2nd period goal from Chase Dubois and a 3rd period marker from Michael Ryan to get the game tied after 60 minutes, before Connor “Sheriff Sod” Sodergren had the puck bounce off of him and in for the overtime winner and gave the Warriors a 3-2 victory. First periods have been a bit of a struggle for this club but their resiliency to battle back and get themselves back into games has been quite noticeable. This is also a very good Vernon team they faced up against on Friday (without three of their top players mind you) but still quite the feat for the Warriors to battle from behind the way that they did.
A lot of credit has to be given to goaltender Shane Farkas, who was excellent making 31 saves on 33 shots for his 6th win of the season. There’s really no way he could have gotten to any of the two Viper makers and he was there to make every save after the 2nd Vernon tally, including a ten-bell stop on Michael Ufberg in the 3rd period to keep the game at a 2-2 tie, sprawling over with his glove to make the stop on a backdoor feed for the rookie Viper d-man. The 17-year-old looked calm and cool in the Warrior goal and was more than deserving of the W for the club tonight, pushing the Warrior record to 10-11-0-1 and an impressive 3-1 record in extra time this season.
2) THE RETURN OF RYAN
Obviously a win like the one the Warriors had on Friday takes more than one player but it was hard not to notice how seamlessly Michael Ryan fit into the Warriors equation, not missing a beat from the 13 games he was absent from before Friday night. I thought he was one of the best players on the ice for either team tonight, making many good outlet passes and of course, tying the game with his 3rd goal of the season with a wrist shot past Ty Taylor. The whole Warrior d-core looked solid tonight, with still very many offensive weapons for the Vipers active for tonight and the Warriors able to shut them down to only two goals against.
Speaking of fitting in, I thought Cavin Tilsley looked good in his Warriors debut on Friday after being traded to the club from Prince George earlier in the week. He added a tough element on the fore-check and was key on the penalty kill for West Kelowna. The line of Chase Dubois, Parm Dhaliwal and Chase Stevenson was very effective tonight with a couple of good looks plus I liked the looks of Jared Marino, with brother Kyle watching in the stands on Friday. Of course you can’t leave out Foreman, Sodergren and Campese as that line was buzzing all night long, as they usually are.
My takeaways from Friday night’s contest was that this team still needs to come out of the gate with a better start, but rallied to get themselves a big (and much needed) overtime victory. The win pushes the Warriors to 10 victories on the season and gives them 21 points on the season, good enough for 5th place in the BCHL’s tight Interior Division race and has them now four points back of 2nd place, plus they have at least one game in hand on every team in the division.
The tough games keep on coming for the Warriors as they face a tall task in the BCHL’s 2nd best team in the Wenatchee Wild on Saturday night at Royal LePage Place. Wenatchee will be looking to get back in the win column after back-to-back losses to Chilliwack and Merritt. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM with the pre-game show starting at 6:50 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and hockeytv.com.