The West Kelowna Warriors came all the way back from down 2-0 in the opening two minutes of the game to storm back with an impressive 3-2 victory in overtime on Friday night at Royal LePage Place.
Game photos provided tonight from Wayne Moore with Castanet:
1) THE COMEBACK (WITH A BETTER ENDING)
The Warriors made another comeback effort on Friday night when they got behind by a 2-0 score to the Merritt Centennials on home ice, just as they did on Tuesday night against Salmon Arm when they trailed 4-1. The difference with Friday’s comeback bid is that the Warriors completed it, winning 3-2 in overtime on the strength of a Braiden Epp goal, his 9th of the season and has now tallied in 3 straight games. Quin Foreman, after a four game hiatus off not scoring, found the back of the net in an impressive fashion with a snipe glove side on Cents goaltender Colten Lancaster. Despite giving up two goals in the games opening moments, I thought the first period was a good one for the Warriors, rebounding well after a rocky start and Farkas, after relieving Nik Amundrud, played very well. The Warrior PK killed off 2 penalties in the opening period against the league’s top power play unit. The 2nd period was the Warriors best of the game as they controlled most of the play, in my opinion, and generated two goals because of it. First it was Logan Mostat with his first as a Warrior, banghing in a rebound followed up by a Quin Foreman laser to tie the game. It was survival mode for the Warriors in the 3rd period, with Merritt outshooting them by a 12-8 margin but again, Farkas played hero with some big stops. And then came overtime, a bit of a strange one. After the Cents had a chance in the Warrior end, and somehow Farkas sliding across to keep the puck out on the glove side (which he doesn’t even remember how he kept it out) and after the play, Merritt forward Cade Gleekel was given a 10 minute misconduct and kicked out of the game. On the very next sequence, this happened:
2) HUGE RELIEF APPEARANCE
Seeing the first two shots of the game go past Nik Amundrud wasn’t a sight anyone in the building (except the Cents and a couple of their fans that made the trip down the snowy Coquihalla) wanted to see. But head coach Rylan Ferster pulled the trigger after two goals and in came Shane Farkas, and what a resounding response he had. The 17-year-old netminder made 35 saves on 35 shots in relief of Amundrud and picked up his 8th win of the season. With the goaltending situation a bit foggy all season long, 17 games played for a kid like Farkas can be a lot to handle in regards to the workload but man oh man, each of the times he has come in a relief appearance, he’s been outstanding. The Penticton native has come in relief in four games this season and has stopped 83 of 90 shots faced over a span of 134 minutes played. That’s good enough for (if my math is correct which it most likely isn’t) a 3.14 GAA and a .922 SV% in relief appearances so far this season. An impressive feat for a kid, especially tonight where he had to play 61 minutes of hockey with the overtime frame. But a solid performance for Farkas and maybe a question mark as to who will tend the net Saturday night in Merritt.
My takeaways from Friday night’s 3-2 overtime win over a team like the Cents who the Warriors have struggled mightily against in the past is that this team never ever quits. We’ve seen it many times before this season that down two or three goals, this team rallies and never gives up. Sure, some nights the comeback might not be completed, losing by a goal (like on Tuesday night) but this club never throws in the towel, they fight til the final buzzer. And that was a prime example Friday night. I’ve seen plenty of teams crumble after that kind of a rough start but the Warriors finished out the first period strong and despite not scoring, they came out hard in the 2nd period and eventually tied the game. Their hard work and persistence paid off in the form of an overtime victory and even though they have given plenty of people’s hearts a bit of a race this season, they make for exciting games.
I’d like to take a moment to thank Warriors chaplain Pastor Don Richmond for having a very successful night at the 6th annual Christmas Hamper Drive. Don is possibly (and when I say possibly, that means really) the nicest person I have ever met. He really will do anything for anyone and tonight was a great example of that and how he loves to give back to the community. I’m not sure of the dollar amount that was raised for the hampers but I know Don put on a terrific display and was a fantastic man to spearhead the operation.
The Warriors are back at it Saturday night when they head up the Coquihalla for the first time this season when they go to the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena to face-off against the Merritt Centennials for the 3rd time this season and the first in Merritt to cap off the back half of the home-and-home set. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with the pre-game show going at 6:50 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and hockeytv,com with myself providing the play-by-play feed.