The West Kelowna Warriors begin a three-game in three-night Mainland road swing that starts on Thursday night when the club travels to South Surrey to take on the Surrey Eagles.
Thursday, November 24th @ South Surrey Arena (6:30 PM)
Friday, January 13th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
The Warriors enter Thursday night’s action winners of two of their last three games but fell by a 4-1 score on Tuesday night at Royal LePage Place to the Penticton Vees. The Warriors got behind early in the 2nd period but got a goal courtesy of Matthew Campese and his 3rd of the season pushed the game to a 1-1 tie before the Vees scored three third period goals to come away with the road victory. Nik Amundrud made his 2nd straight start for the Warriors and looked good for the second consecutive game, making 28 saves on 31 shots in the losing cause.
The Warriors were victorious in both of their meetings against the Eagles last season, scoring a total of 13 goals between the pair of games for the four points. West Kelowna picked up a 6-4 win in late November against the Eagles in Surrey before West-K controlled a 7-2 score line back in RLP in January for the season series sweep of the Eagles.
Speaking of season series’ between the two clubs, the Warriors are 6-3-0-0 in their last nine games against the Eagles, including a 3-1-0-0 record in the span at the “Eagles Nest” in South Surrey. West Kelowna has won the last three meetings between the two teams with the Eagles last victory over the Tribe coming on January 25th, a 5-4 in South Surrey.
West Kelowna’s newest addition has fit right in over the course of two games as goaltender Nik Amundrud has dazzled in his first two starts with the club. He has allowed five goals against in his first two games and has stopped an impressive 73 shots on 78 attempts toward goal, good for a .936 SV% in his early BCHL career.
The Warriors have been playing some of their best hockey of the season over the last nine games, having won 6 out of the 9 most recent games they have played. Going out on the road seems to help this team as well, as the last time they played three-plus games on the road was back at the end of October when the Warriors were on the Island and won two out of those three games.
The Surrey Eagles enter Thursday night after a 4-3 win on Wednesday against the Coquitlam Express, the Eagles 11th win on the season and already gives them more wins than the last two full seasons they have played. Jackson Ross, Cole Williams, Darius Davidson and Mike Sauer (the eventual game winner) all scored for the Eagles in the victory. Michael Botiz allowed 3 goals on 12 shots and lasted two periods before Daniel Davidson stopped all 9 shots he faced in the 3rd period for the victory, his 4th of the season.
The reason for the Eagles high scorers could stem from their power play, as they have the league’s best run unit at 30.4%, so staying discipline will be a big factor for the Warriors. Surrey have thrived on the power play overall but at home it is even better, operating at a 37.5% rate at the South Surrey Arena. Not a team to get into penalty trouble with and a big key for Thursday night’s game.
The Eagles score a lot of goals and are led in scoring by 4th year forward Darius Davidson, whose 15 goals, 17 assists and 32 points all lead the team. Warrior fans may be familiar with the name Desi Burgart, the former Penticton Vee is flourishing after being dealt to Surrey with 11 goals and 28 points this season.
While the Eagles score a lot (109 goals on the season), they also give up a lot (108 goals against on the year) but nonetheless, these aren’t the Eagles that some have remembered from year’s past, these guys are good. A 7-2-0-1 home record has established South Surrey Arena as one of the toughest buildings in the BCHL and head coach Blaine Neufeld has the most wins he has ever gotten in a season as head coach with the Eagles, and only 27 games into the year.
Note the start time for all fans planning on watching or listening live tonight, a 6:30 PM puck drop means for a 6:20 PM pre-game show on the Warriors Internet Network and hockeytv.com. The Warriors continue their Mainland swing Friday night with a matchup against the Langley Rivermen.