The West Kelowna Warriors begin a span of four games in five nights as they host the Penticton Vees tonight at Royal LePage Place.
Friday, September 30th @ Royal LePage Place (3-1 Vees) (BOXSCORE)
Saturday, October 22nd @ Royal LePage Place (6-3 Vees) (BOXSCORE)
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 enter Tuesday night’s action after a sweep of their two games last Friday and Saturday against the Vernon Vipers and the Wenatchee Wild. West Kelowna trailed 2-0 after the first period against Vernon on Friday before coming back and winning in overtime and trailed Wenatchee 1-0 after 20 minutes on Saturday but thanks to 3 goals in 1:58 courtesy of Quin Foreman, Blake Coffey and Chase Dubois gave the Warriors the lead before Matthew Campese scored a power play goal in the 3rd period to round out the scoring and a 4-2 win for the Warriors. West Kelowna was outshot by a staggering 47-15 margin but newcomer Nik Amundrud was outstanding, making 45 saves for his first victory as a Warrior in his debut.
The Warriors and Vees have met twice this season at Royal LePage Place with Penticton coming away as victors in both of the games. The Vees took the opener between the two clubs by a 3-1 score in late September before exactly one month ago defeating the Warriors by a 6-3 score. Penticton scored 3 goals in a 44 second span to take a 3-0 lead but the Warriors battled back with three goals of their own to get the game to 4-3 after 2 periods before the Vees tacked on two in the third to get the win. Connor Sodergren scored twice in the game while Quin Foreman added a single in the losing effort. Shane Farkas starting in between the pipes for the Warriors, turning aside 32 of 38 shots in the loss.
As much as Quin Foreman and Connor Sodergren are leading the Warriors through the season offensively, youngster Chase Dubois is starting to make a name for himself. The 18-year-old forward is having a strong start to his rookie season in the BCHL as he is tied for 2nd on the team with 9 goals and sits third on the team in points with 15. The Williams Lake, BC native scored in each of the games over the weekend against Vernon and Wenatchee and owns six goals in his last four games.
First periods of hockey games have not been a strong suite for the Warriors so far this season as they have not scored the opening goal in a game since November 5th, a 5-3 win at home against the Trail Smoke Eaters (a span of five games). West Kelowna has been outscored by a 27-15 margin in the 1st period and their 15 1st period goals are the second-fewest in the BCHL. The Warriors are a +4 goal differential in each of the other periods (2nd, 3rd and overtime) but have had issues in the opening period and don’t want to get behind against Penticton. The Vees have 28 goals for in the opening period compared to just 13 against (the lowest goals against of any team in the BCHL). The Vees also boast a 16-0-0-0 record when scoring the game’s first goal.
The Interior Division is separated by just six points going from 2nd to 6th place and the Warriors currently sit in 5th place with 23 points, three points behind the 4th place Merritt Centennials and just four points back of 2nd place which is shared by Trail and Vernon. The Warriors have also played the least amount of games (23) coming into Tuesday night than any other team in the BCHL and will begin a tough stretch of four games in five days starting tonight against Penticton before a Mainland road trip starts on Thursday playing in Surrey, Langley and Wenatchee.
It was a big weekend for the Warriors special teams as the club hadn’t had much success up or down a man but that changed over the last two games. West Kelowna scored a power play goal in each of the contests as well as a penalty kill that went 10/11, including an impressive 9/9 in Saturday night’s 4-2 win over the Wild. The penalty kill percentage also drastically changed after the victory, going from 73.5% entering the game to 75.7% after the contest.
The Penticton Vees come into Tuesday night winners of their last of their last three games with victories against the Vipers, the Coquitlam Express and the Centennials. The Vees disposed of the Express on Friday night by cruising to a 7-2 victory in Coquitlam before a 3-2 overtime win on Saturday night back at home at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The Cents opened the scoring before James Miller tied the game at one but yet again, the Cents would score to take their 2nd lead of the game and with 20 seconds left, defenseman Gabe Bast scored his first goal of the season to tie the game at 2 and send it to overtime. The goal scoring by defensemen would continue as Joe Leahy ended the game 3:07 into overtime giving the Vees the win. Mathew Robson (who assisted on the game winning goal in OT) started the game and made 19 saves on 21 shots for his league leading 16th victory.
The Vees sit atop of the BCHL standings with a 21-4-0-0 record and 42 points, three points ahead of the Chilliwack Chiefs for 1st overall. Penticton is also 1st in the league in goals against with just 53 against in 25 games and Mat Robson is a large reason why. The 20-year-old is having a standout 1st season in the BCHL with a 16-4-0 record to go along with a 1.85 GAA and a .930 SV%, which he leads in all three major goaltending categories. Penticton is led in scoring by 20-year-old captain Nicholas Jones (8-20-28) while forward Grant Cruikshank leads the team in goals with 16 and has four against the Warriors in three games this season (including pre season).
Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM at Royal LePage Place with tickets available at the Warriors office and by calling Kim at (250) 769-7051. West Kelowna begins a Mainland road trip after Tuesday with stops in Surrey, Langley and Wenatchee on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.