The West Kelowna Warriors picked up their fifth straight win in impressive fashion on Thursday night at RLP with a 3-2 double overtime victory over the Trail Smoke Eaters to begin a season series-ending home-and-home set.
Game photos tonight provided by the always terrific Ken Reid of Greystoke Photography:
1) NO RUST
Typically in these games past the Xmas break, there can be a bit of sloppiness displayed but the Warriors and Smokies showed no signs of that on Friday night as both teams came out with terrific energy. The Warriors fired 28 shots on goal through the first two periods of play and looked like they were picking up where they left off when the team headed out for Christmas 12 days ago. Give credit to the Smoke Eaters as well, who answered with some fantastic hockey and the two played a highly entertaining game in the first one back from an extended break. The two are very well matched (as the standings and the scoreboard showed on Friday) and took until late into the second overtime before Connor Sodergren played hero for the 2nd time this season and ended the game in 3-on-3 play:
A well played game between two Interior Division teams battling for a playoff spot is exactly the perfect way to start the post Christmas schedule and both the Warriors and Smoke Eaters deserve credit on this night with the Warriors coming away with the win and created plenty of chances offensively with many of the Warriors having great nights. The Smokies battled from behind twice to tie the game but couldn’t find the go-ahead marker. Zach Dyment and Shane Farkas played very well in the crease to keep the game tight and just a well-played matchup that will certainly make for an exciting rematch with these two as the scene shifts to Trail in under 24 hours.
2) SHINE THE SPOTLIGHT
Plenty of players had really good nights on both sides of the puck so let me serenate my thoughts on some of the players who I thought made a big difference tonight, starting with the defense. Shutting down the likes of Josh Laframboise, Kale Howarth and Luke Santerno is no easy feat, but the Warriors did an excellent job at limiting their scoring chances on Friday and Scott Allan and Jake Harrison led that charge. Tyler Jutting had himself a very nice night and made the life of assistant coach Shae Naka a little easier as he had six reliable defensemen to roll for the whole night.
Forward wise, “The Kid Line” of Chase Dubois, Parm Dhaliwal and Chase Stevenson was the Warriors best tonight with Dubois ending an 11 game goalless drought with a first period deflection while Parm Dhaliwal played an excellent two way game and despite being unable to pot his first BCHL goal, Chase Stevenson will eventually find the back of the net as he was all over the ice on this night. Connor Sodergren played the hero and was excellent in the face-off circle and the likes of Jared Marino, Cavin Tilsley and Braiden Epp showed up quite nicely with all three contributing with solid nights at even strength and down a man, where the Warriors went 5-for-5 in that regard on the night.
My takeaways from the Warriors 3-2 double overtime win against the Smoke Eaters was that there are a great amount of positives to take away from this game for both teams with the Warriors coming away with a big win and set up a even bigger game Friday night in Trail. Scoring came in the most opportune times and even though the Smokies tied the game twice, the Warriors did an excellent job at holding off their momentum and eventually held on enough to get a great chance in overtime and won the game. An impressive five game win streak for the Warriors will be put to the test in under 24 hours with a game in a place they have yet to win in this season.
The Warriors and Smoke Eaters do it all again for one final time in the regular season with the scene shifting to Trail for a 7:30 PM face-off. Catch the game with myself on the Warriors Internet Network or hockeytv.com. I mean, why not really, this team is catching fire and I promise I will make it worth your time to tune in.