The West Kelowna Warriors exploded for a an offensive “furry” with six goals on Teddy Bear Toss Night at RLP, defeating the Powell River Kings by a 6-1 score on Friday night.
Game photos from tonight are courtesy of Ken Reid of Greystoke Photography:
1) HELLO OLD FRIEND
Our good friend Mr. Offense hasn’t made many appearances for the Warriors so far this season but Friday night he decided to join us at Royal LePage Place and gifted the Warriors six goals for the holiday season. While this is not me beginning a short story on a long lost friend, the Warriors were fantastic Friday night, playing what might have been their best game of the season. Not a whole lot of mistakes and a four-goal first period that impressed even the biggest of Christmas grinches. It seemed it was an early penalty kill that got the Warriors going that led to the four goal outburst they received in the game’s opening period. Braiden Epp was the guilty party that sent the fur flying on a gorgeous drive to the net and his fifth goal in as many games (and the 2nd Teddy Bear Toss goal of his career, as displayed below):
The Warriors got offense from all sources with a strong showing from the depth line (I believe that is what they want to be called but asked Peter Tomaras, the orchestrator of his lines names) as Tomaras, Jon Russell and Jordan Todd formed a formidable trio as their line combined for two goals and four points on the night where offense was a plenty for the Warriors. They had a great game Saturday night in Merritt and carried it over very nicely into this battle against the Kings. 6 different goal scorers including all goals being scored at even strength? An impressive night indeed for the Warriors, who have won three straight games for the first time since the first two weeks of the BCHL season and are now over .500 on home ice with a 10-9-0-0 record at RLP this year. West Kelowna has also been stingy against foes from the Island Division as their win against Powell River improves their record to 4-1-0-0 against the division with their only loss coming to the Nanaimo Clippers, Saturday night’s opponent.
2) CHRISTMAS MAGIC
It seems as over the past few seasons, the Warriors have been late bloomers in the sense of picking up steam around Christmas time and roll on through the final two months of the season as one of the BCHL’s hottest teams. Well, if early implications mean anything, the Warriors may be on that same plan to success this year with wins in three straight games and never giving the Kings a sniff at a lead tonight as three goals in a 3:54 span put the home side up by a field goal and they never looked back. Lost in this performance was the solid goaltending, again, of goaltender Shane Farkas, who made 35 saves, again, for his 10th win of the season and now owns a .972 save percentage over the Warriors three wins in a row (that’s an absurd 106 saves on 109 shots between the games last week vs. Merritt and Friday night vs. PR). That’s insane. Depending on what he does for an encore on Saturday night, it could be back-to-back Player of the Week nominations for the 17-year-old. He looks calm and composed in the Warrior crease right now is playing with a lot of confidence and just needs one more good performance before an extended break with family and friends (a break in which the Warriors will be off for a total of 10 days before coming back to West-K for practice). Friday night was a lot of fun and the hope is that Saturday will be the same (with an even uglier sweater dawned by myself).
My takeaways from Friday night’s 6-1 win over Powell River are that the Warriors haven’t “checked out” for Christmas break quite yet and gave an energy-filled performance that was fun to be a part of on Friday. This is a hard-working bunch (displayed by the late game shot block by Braiden Epp when up by five goals with under 10 minutes to play and the huge 5-on-3 PK for 1:11 and going 5/5 when down a man). This team looks like maybe they have found their stride, at least for now and will try and handle the daunting task of going over .500, something they have not been able to do despite many attempts. The Warriors have a tough foe in the Clippers coming to town on Saturday night. Puck drop is 7:00 PM with pre-game starting at 6:50 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and hockeytv.com. It’s Ugly Sweater Night at RLP so make sure to dawn the ugliest sweater you can if you’re coming down for the game to win some great prizes!