The West Kelowna Warriors hung tight for two periods on Friday night at Kal Tire Place but couldn’t sustain that pressure as they allowed four 3rd period goals en route to a 6-1 loss at the hands of the Vernon Vipers on Friday night.
1) 3RD PERIODS
The last two 3rd periods have seen the Warriors allow 9 goals to scoring none in the time span, a tough stat to see, especially when the Warriors were within striking distance of the Vipers after 40 minutes. The Warriors were a disallowed goal (which is a bit hard to fathom on the call but we will get to that later) away from tying the game in the 2nd period to a complete breakdown in a penalty-filled third period that saw the home side Vipers strike four times. Hard to look at the goaltender on this night as Nik Amundrud was very good and held the Warriors in the game, especially in the early going when West Kelowna was outshot by a 15-7 margin. For the players that we’re out there, it’s been one tough season already with the amount of roster fluctuation that has taken place, it can be hard to get any chemistry going. There were glimpses of the possibility of this team coming back and tying the game but Darion Hanson was very good on Friday night and the Warriors just couldn’t crack him more than once and fell in the 3rd period. When you lose one of your top scorers back to the WHL, it’s tough to find that offense and for the Warriors, a team that already struggles in the goal scoring category plus facing a good goaltender, it was a tough night to say the least. But I thought this team played well enough to at least be tied going into the final frame, which could’ve changed things but the hockey gods were not much with the Warriors tonight as they dropped their third game in a row.
2) THE DISALLOWED GOAL
I’m not going to harp on this too much but it is a talking point, especially at the time that it came (midway through the 2nd period) and the effect it would have had throughout the remainder of the game. Connor Sodergren was trying to centre a pass from just below the goal line on the power play and looked like he had scored as it hit something in front and went past the goaltender Hanson. The referee behind the goal waved emphatically that it was a clean goal and that the puck had been cross checked into the goal by forward Braiden Epp. As the Warriors did their “fly by” the bench as the goal was celebrated, the referees deliberated on whether or not the play would stand and the goal was then retracted as it was ruled the puck had been “thrown” into the goal. My issue here is how does the referee from behind the net (who would have the best view out of any other official on the ice) get overruled by three of his fellow striped men who didn’t have nearly a good enough view to see the puck. From our broadcast spot, we couldn’t quite tell and from the bench, you can’t see much but on video after the game, you can watch the puck go in without even making contact with Epp. A very tough disallowed goal that unfortunately haunts over this game but is most definitely not the sole reason the Warriors dropped this game but most certainly is a talking point heading out of the game.
My takeaways from tonight were that the Warriors played a good 40 minutes, but 40 minutes isn’t going to quite cut it to get a win. Obviously Friday night was a tall task, heading into a building with a good crowd and a very good home record and with the teddy bear toss on, who knew what to expect in lieu of a delay, which was received after Karamanis’ goal in the first period. The short-manned Warriors (essentially the way it has been all season) hung tight with the Vipers through 40 minutes but couldn’t reel themselves in after an early Vernon goal in the third period before the next about 10 minutes were played at either 4-on-4 or with a man in the penalty box for both sides. An entertaining game through those 40 minutes nonetheless and a tough one for this team to take.
I’d like to thank Director of Business Operations Alex Draper for riding shotgun tonight and providing the colour commentary. Always a lot of fun to have Alex around and banter about whatever comes to mind but also a great opportunity to chat about the upcoming events for the Warriors which include the Teddy Bear Toss Night on Saturday, December 17th against the Nanaimo Clippers. Looking forward to the next time Alex decides the strap the headset on for another broadcast!
The Warriors return to action Saturday night when they host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs to round out the season series and the first time the Warriors are back at RLP in four games. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with the pre-game getting underway at 6:50 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and hockeytv.com.