The West Kelowna Warriors make their first trip of the season to the South Okanagan Events Centre when they take on their Highway 97 rivals in the Penticton Vees on Wednesday night.
Friday, September 30th @ Royal LePage Place (3-1 Vees) (BOXSCORE)
Saturday, October 22nd @ Royal LePage Place (6-3 Vees) (BOXSCORE)
Tuesday, November 22nd @ Royal LePage Place (4-1 Vees) (BOXSCORE)
Wednesday, January 11th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)
Saturday, January 21st @ South Okanagan Events Centre (6:00 PM)
Friday, February 17th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)
Tuesday, February 21st @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
This will be the fourth meeting of the season between the Warriors and Vees but just the first time the two have played at the SOEC. The last game between the two was a 4-1 win for the Vees, who have won all three meetings of the season series so far this season. Matthew Campese was the lone goal scorer for the Warriors in the loss while Nik Amundrud was the goaltender of record, making 32 saves on 35 shots while his counterpart, Mat Robson, was excellent in the Vees goal by stopping 36 of the 37 shots thrown his way.
The Warriors enter Wednesday night with back-to-back 4-1 victories over the Merritt Centennials under their belt from the weekend. After a win Friday night at RLP, the Warriors replicated a 4-1 score in Merritt the next night with two third period goals from Connor Sodergren and singles courtesy of Chase Stevenson and Jake Harrison. Cole Demers was outstanding in his 2nd start for the Warriors, making 34 saves on 35 shots in Merritt on Saturday for his 5th win of the season.
Coming into Wednesday night, the Warriors have gotten on a bit of a roll with wins in seven of their eight games. During the stretch, West Kelowna has outscored their opponents by a 26-14 margin and have allowed more than two goals just once over the span of eight games, which was their only loss in Trail on December 30th. The Warriors goals against for the year has been stabilized over the stretch, sitting in 6th in the BCHL with 125 goals allowed on the season.
The Warriors had a pair of players that were recognized as honorable mentions for the BCHL’s Player of the Week award over the past week as Connor Sodergren and Cole Demers were given the honours. Sodergren tallied four goals (all in the third period) and an assist for five points while Demers made his first two starts as a member of the Warriors and thrived in the crease, going 2-0 with a 1.00 GAA and a .973 SV%, making 72 saves on the 74 shots he faced over the two games against the Centennials.
The CJHL Trade Deadline passed through on Tuesday, January 10th with the Warriors making a move, adding 18-year-old goaltender Gabriel Morency from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). The 6’3”, 192 pound Quebec native played in 10 games with the Rimouski Oceanic with a 3.87 GAA and a .866 SV%. Morency was dealt to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on the 7th of January before he was released and the Warriors picked him up.
The meeting between the Warriors and Vees will be the first at the South Okanagan Events Centre since Game #5 of the Interior Division Finals that took place last March. The Warriors came away with a 2-1 victory in that game en route to their series win and will play the first of their three-game regular season series in Penticton tonight.
The Penticton Vees enter tonight’s game on a rare stretch with losses in back-to-back home games against the Trail Smoke Eaters last Wednesday night by a 3-2 score before dropping a 4-2 final on Saturday night to the Vernon Vipers. Taylor Sanheim and Jamie Armstrong both tallied their first goals as members of the Vees while Mat Robson made 22 saves on 26 shots in the losing effort, his 8th loss of the season.
The Vees stood pat at the Trade Deadline but did make a splash last week with the acquisition of Taylor Sanheim from the Portage Terriers of the SJHL. Sanheim is a veteran of 132 Western Hockey League games with the Calgary Hitmen while registering 12 goals and 51 points. The Elkhorn, Manitoba native has points in each of his first two games with the Vees so far.
Penticton remain tops in the league when it comes to goals against with just 85 goals allowed in 38 games played this season. Goaltender Mat Robson leads the BCHL with a 2.02 GAA and sits in 2nd in the league in save percentage with a .923 SV%. Captain Nicholas Jones leads the team with 26 assists and 39 points in 38 games this season while Grant Cruikshank leads the Vees in goals with 25.
The puck drops at 7:00 PM from the South Okanagan Events Centre with the game broadcast on the Warriors Internet Network and live on pay-per-view on www.hockeytv.com. The Warriors return to Royal LePage Place on Friday night when they host the Mainland Division’s Surrey Eagles.