The West Kelowna Warriors look to rebound after a tough week when they wrap up a four-game road trip as they visit Kal Tire Place for the first time this season to face the Vernon Vipers.
Friday, September 17th @ Royal LePage Place (3-1 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)
Saturday, October 8th @ Royal LePage Place (3-2 Vipers) (BOXSCORE)
Friday, November 18th @ Royal LePage Place (3-2 (OT) Warriors) (BOXSCORE)
Friday, December 2nd @ Kal Tire Place (7:00 PM)
Friday, January 20th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Wednesday, February 1st @ Kal Tire Place (7:00 PM)
Saturday, February 11th @ Kal Tire Place (6:00 PM)
The Warriors come into Friday night after what was possibly their worst loss in a longtime after finishing a 4 game in 5-day stretch with an 11-2 defeat down south of the border against the Wenatchee Wild. Connor Sodergren and Matthew Campese scored the two Warrior goals while Nik Amundrud started the game, making 35 saves on 43 shots before Shane Farkas finished the remainder of the third period with 12 saves on 15 shots.
The Warriors and Vipers shift the scene to Kal Tire Place for their fourth of seven meetings this season with three of the last four taking place in Vernon. The Warriors are 2-1-0-0 against the Vipers this year with the last game being an overtime victory. Vernon took a 2-0 after 20 minutes before goals from Chase Dubois in the 2nd and Michael Ryan in the 3rd to tie the game and just 29 seconds into overtime, Connor Sodergren ended the festivities with his first OT winner of the year.
The Warriors have struggled in starting games this season and need to find a way to get on the right side of the game early on. West Kelowna is tied for 16th in the BCHL with 19 goals for in the 1st period of games this season, only the Coquitlam Express have less with 12 goals in the games opening period, compared to the 39 goals against the Warriors have allowed to open the game. The Warriors have also yielded the games first goal to their opponents in eight straight games, playing from behind in each of those games.
The Warriors were dealt another blow for this tough season of players going in and out as forward Matthew Campese has returned to the Western Hockey League as he was picked up by the Red Deer Rebels. Campese was enjoying a nice start to his Junior ‘A’ career with six goals and 17 points in his 16 games with the club so far this season.
With the month of November completed, the Warriors finished the month with a 5-5-0-0 record and currently sit in 5th place in a tight Interior Division. It seems as though this is the usual talking point before games but it needs to be stated of how big this game is for the Warriors as they sit six points behind the Vipers in the standings, making this game very meaningful.
The Vernon Vipers enter the game coming off of a similar three-game road trip as they spent Friday night in Wenatchee before heading back across the border to battle the Coquitlam Express and the Langley Rivermen. The Vipers dropped a 4-1 score on Friday in Wenatchee before bouncing back, in a big way, with a 6-0 win in Coquitlam and a 4-1 victory in Langley on Grey Cup Sunday.
This Vipers team looks a bit different than the one the Warriors saw a couple of weeks ago at RLP as forward Keith Anderson, defensemen Carter Stephenson and goaltender Cole Demers are all out. Add in forward Luke Gingras from the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL, defensemen Cameron Trott (acquired from Salmon Arm for Stephenson) and goaltender Darion Hanson from the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL. Gingras had two goals and two assists over his first three games with the team while Trott scored his first goal as a Viper on Sunday and Hanson stood tall in his opening weekend in the BCHL, stopping 64 of his first 65 shots against and owns two wins.
Vernon finished the month of November at a 5-5-0-1 record and sit along in 2nd place in the BCHL’s Interior Division with a 14-12-0-3 record. Steven Jandric leads the team in scoring with 15 goals and 23 points with their power play ranked 7th in the league at 23.9% while the penalty kill is ranked at 80.3%, good enough for 5th in the BCHL.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM with the pre-game starting at 6:50 PM on the Vipers Teddy Bear Toss night. The game can be heard for free on the Warriors Internet Network or the action can be seen live on pay-per-view on hockeytv.com. West Kelowna returns to Royal LePage Place on Saturday night when the Warriors host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.