The West Kelowna Warriors look to turn around a three-game losing stretch when they host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in the final meeting of the regular season between the two teams at Royal LePage Place on Saturday night.
Sunday, October 30th @ Weyerhaeuser Arena (2-1 (OT) Warriors) (BOXSCORE)
Saturday, December 3rd @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
The Warriors come into Saturday night’s contest after a 6-1 defeat to the Vernon Vipers on Friday night at Kal Tire Place in Vernon. It was the Warriors first trip to Vernon all season and didn’t go exactly as planned. Darion Hanson made 30 saves on 31 shots for the Vipers while Michael Ryan’s 4th goal of the season on the power play provided the Warriors with their lone offense on the night in the loss. Nik Amundrud started the game in between the pipes for the Warriors and made 36 saves on 42 shots in the losing cause.
The Warriors and Bulldogs have met once this season, coming the day before Halloween on October 30th at the end of a three-day Island road trip for the Warriors in Port Alberni. The Bulldogs got a goal in the first period from Jake Witkowski but former Warrior Reed Gunville tied the score on a communication error behind the Alberni goal before Matthew Campese’s first goal as a Warrior was scored in a 4-on-3 power play in overtime to give West Kelowna four of a possible six points on the Island swing and extended a tough Alberni Valley losing streak to 10 games at the time.
West Kelowna did something Friday night they hadn’t been able to do for much of the month of November and that is score the game’s opening goal. Michael Ryan’s 4th goal of the season at the 4:22 mark of the 1st period the first time the Warriors had scored first since Chase Dubois did it back on November 5th at RLP against the Trail Smoke Eaters, just shy 3 days to a month of time between opening the scoring in games for the Warriors.
The Warriors enter Saturday night’s tilt having lost three games in a row and four of their last five contests. In that span, the Warriors have been outscored by a 28-12 margin in those five games and have allowed 13 third period goals in that time as well. The last time the Warriors have allowed less than two goals in a third period was November 19th at home against Wenatchee, a span of five games.
The Alberni Valley Bulldogs come into Saturday’s matchup playing better hockey as of late, winners of two games in a row with a 2-1 overtime victory in Nanaimo against the Clippers on Wednesday night then headed to Cominco Arena on Friday and defeated the Trail Smoke Eaters by a 4-1 score. Kyle Kaufmann, Cayden Kraus, Keith Anderson and captain Jordan Sandhu provided the offense for the Bulldogs while Brody Claeys made 33 saves on 34 shots for his 5th win of the season thus far.
The ‘Dogs are led in scoring by returning forward Tristan Bukovec, whose 23 points is tops on the Bulldogs list while Jake Witkowski leads the club in goals with 11 and defensemen Trevor Cosgrove paces the team in assists with 18 on the season. The Bulldogs, much like the Warriors, have gone extensive personnel changes over the course of the season but as mentioned, have been playing much better over their recent stretch of games, playing to the tune of a 3-1-1-0 record over their last five games.
Alberni Valley has liked matching up against Interior Division teams so far this season as the team is 5-0-0-1 against their foes from the Interior this season. Their only blemish came against the Warriors at the end of October. But between the two teams, over the last 5 seasons, the Bulldogs have gotten the best of the Warriors with a 5-2-0-1 record in those games, including a sweep of the eventual RBC Cup National Champions from a season ago.
Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with tickets available for purchase at the Warriors office or by calling Kim at (250) 769-7051. The Warriors open up their three-game home stand with the Bulldogs Saturday before hosting the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Tuesday night for a cheap $5 ticket night.