The West Kelowna Warriors open up their post-Christmas schedule with a home-and-home series with the Trail Smoke Eaters on Thursday night at Royal LePage Place.
Friday, September 9th @ Royal LePage Place (3-1 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)
Saturday, September 10th @ Cominco Arena (8-5 Smoke Eaters) (BOXSCORE)
Saturday, November 5th @ Royal LePage Place (5-3 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)
Thursday, November 10th @ Cominco Arena (5-3 Smoke Eaters) (BOXSCORE)
Thursday, December 29th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Friday, December 30th @ Cominco Arena (7:30 PM)
The Warriors come into the tonight’s game riding a good stretch of hockey over their last four games with wins in all of those games. The most recent games came with a 6-1 win over the Powell River Kings and followed that up with a 2-1 win over the Nanaimo Clippers the next night. Parm Dhaliwal and Logan Mostat provided the goals on the night while Shane Farkas continued his hot play with 41 saves on 42 shots for his 5th straight victory and his 11th of the season.
The Warriors and Smokies have met four times this season with each of the meetings resulting in the home team winning each of the contests. The latest decision was a 5-3 win in favour of the Smoke Eaters. Chase Dubois, Jared Marino and Quin Foreman tallied for the Warriors in the defeat while Shane Farkas started the game, making 6 saves on 10 shots before being relieved after one period by AP Josh Bolding who made 20 saves on 21 shots.
The Christmas break came at the most inopportune time for the Warriors, who won four games in a row before the break with big wins over the Merritt Centennials, Kings and Clippers. West Kelowna has outscored their opponents 13-6 over that four-game span and will look to cap off what has been a very successful month of December with a record of 5-2 in the calendar year’s final month.
As the unofficial second half of the season is about to unfold, the Warriors will look to make a strong push and know a little something about late season pushes. West Kelowna owns a record of 28-12-1-3 over the past two post-Xmas schedules, which equates to a .681 points %. That percentage is ranked 2nd amongst teams in the BCHL behind the Penticton Vees (.813) and ahead of Nanaimo (.674) and Chilliwack (.653) over that time span.
The Warriors have made lots of moves over the course of this season and their latest acquisition has paid immediate dividends. Logan Mostat has fit in quite nicely with the Warriors, picking up three goals in his first five games with the club. The 19-year-old provided the game-winning goal over the Clippers in the final game before the Christmas break.
Some big news came down for the Warriors on Tuesday afternoon as forward Parm Dhaliwal was invited to Team Canada West for the annual Canadian Junior Hockey League’s (CJHL) Prospects Game held this year in Cornwall, Ontario. The game, attended by many NHL scouts with the rosters being selected with the help of the NHL Central Scouting Bureau, goes Wednesday, January 27th and will feature 40 of the top CJHL draft eligible prospects.
The Trail Smoke Eaters limped into the Christmas break with four straight losses, their latest coming on December 17th against the Vernon Vipers by a 3-2 score. Kale Howarth and Connor Brown-Maloski scored in the game for the Smokies while Zach Dyment made 23 saves on 26 shots in the losing cause, his fourth loss in a row.
After a terrific start that saw the Smokies hold onto 2nd place in the Interior Division for the longest time, Trail has had a forgetful December to date and will look to end 2016 on a high note. The Smoke Eaters have a 1-4-0-2 in December with the lone win coming against Powell River three weeks ago and have since gone winless in four straight games with two overtime losses thrown in the mix.
The Smokies will look to their veterans down the stretch to get their offense going and two players that have carried the mail so far this season has been Luke Santerno and Kale Howarth. Santerno, 20, leads the team with 23 goals and 44 points on the season in his 3rd year in the BCHL with Howarth, who also got an invite to Team Canada West at the CJHL’s Prospects Game, has 21 goals and 43 points and also owns a team leading nine power play goals.
The puck drops at 7:00 PM from Royal LePage Place with tickets available for purchase at the Warriors office or by calling Kim at (250) 769-7051. The Warriors and Smoke Eaters will wrap up 2016 play with a matchup in Trail at Cominco Arena at 7:30 PM on Friday night.