The West Kelowna Warriors aim for a season sweep as they host the Surrey Eagles for the only time in the regular season on Friday night at Royal LePage Place.
Thursday, November 24th @ South Surrey Arena (6-3 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)
Friday, January 13th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
The Warriors and Eagles have played once this season before completing their season series on Friday night at RLP. The Warriors came away with a 6-3 victory in Surrey in late November as both Parm Dhaliwal, in his return to his hometown, and Matthew Campese had four point nights. Cavin Tilsley scored his first goal as a Warrior while Nick Rutigliano and Stephen Kleysen added singles to tie the most goals the Warriors have scored in a game. Nik Amundrud made 33 saves on 36 shots for the victory in the Warriors crease.
The Warriors enter Friday night coming off of a 4-2 loss in Penticton against the Vees on Wednesday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre. West Kelowna trailed in the game by a 3-0 score but third period goals from Chase Stevenson and Connor Sodergren inched the Warriors closer at 3-2 but they could never find the equalizer as three shorthanded goals did the Warriors in. Cole Demers made his 3rd straight start with the Warriors and was handed his 9th loss of the season, making 37 saves on 40 shots.
Though it has gotten bitterly cold outside, a trio of Warriors are keeping red hot as 2017 has rolled along. Connor Sodergren has five goals in his last three games, all of his five goals during that stretch have come in the 3rd period. Chase Stevenson took 19 BCHL games to find the back of the net for the first time but has done so for three straight games now, bringing his total to three goals and eight points in 18 games this season. Jake Harrison is starting to find his offensive stride after battling some early season injuries as the 17-year-old defenseman has points in four of his last five games, tallying two goals and 6 points during that four-game span.
Warrior fans should get their first look at the team’s newest member in goaltender Gabriel Morency. The 18-year-old netminder dressed as a backup for the Warriors on Wednesday night in Penticton after arrived just after 4:00 PM on Tuesday in West Kelowna. The Quebec, Quebec native played in 10 games with the Rimouski Oceanic this season, posting a 3.87 GAA and a .866 SV% in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season.
One of the biggest downfalls in Wednesday night’s loss for the Warriors was their power play, which has struggled this season and currently sits 16th in the league. West Kelowna’s power play went 0/7 in the game against the Vees while allowing a record three shorthanded goals against. The 13.8% man advantage has gone 1 for it’s last 26 attempts and has not scored at all in it’s last 20 tries.
In addition to their 8-3 record over the past 11 games has been the Warriors current dominance on home ice and no better time to hit a three-game home stand than now. The Warriors have won their last five games at Royal LePage Place, improving their home ice record to 13-9-0-0 on the season after flirting with the .500 mark most of the year at home. In that five game span, the Warriors have outscored their visitors by a 18-7 margin on home ice and haven’t allowed more than two goals against in that time.
The Surrey Eagles enter Friday night’s affair with a 14-24-0-3 record and are coming into an important weekend on their schedule that started Thursday night at home with a 4-3 overtime loss against the Coquitlam Express. Surrey got up by a 2-0 score with goals from Ty Westgard and Darius Davidson but surrendered their lead before getting it back in the 3rd period thanks to Jeffrey Stewart before the Express tied it and eventually won the game 35 seconds into the first overtime period. Affiliate goaltender Lukas Shaw, from the Greater Vancouver Canadians of the BC Major Midget League, got his first BCHL start in the game and made 29 saves on 33 shots in the losing cause.
The Eagles are looking to get back into the win column as they have lost their last four games with two of those losses coming at the hands of the Express while the others came against the Wenatchee Wild and the Victoria Grizzlies. The schedule does not get easy for the Eagles as they head to RLP tonight before heading to Cominco Arena on Saturday night for their one and only visit in the regular season against the Trail Smoke Eaters.
Surrey sits tied for 7th in the BCHL in scoring (tied with the Smokies for that spot) and are led in scoring by 20-year-old forward Darius Davidson with 23 goals and team-tying 21 assists for 44 points in 41 games this season. Desi Burgart, a former Penticton Vee, sits second on the team in scoring with 12 goals and 33 points followed by second-year 18-year-old Jeffrey Stewart with 12 goals and 31 points on the year.
The arrival of the Eagles marks the return of recently trading goaltender Keelan Williams back to Royal LePage Place. The Calgary, AB native played a key role in the Warriors playoff run when starter Matthew Greenfield went down due to an injury. Williams has not played since January 5th versus Wenatchee and has missed the last four games and is unknown for his status heading into tonight.
The Warriors and Eagles drop the puck at 7:00 PM tonight with tickets available at the Warriors Office or by calling Kim at (250) 769-7051. If you can’t make it to the rink, catch all the action for free by listening in on the Warriors Internet Network or by watching live on pay-per-view at www.hockeytv.com. The Warriors close out the weekend with a matinee on Sunday at 2:30 PM against the Island Division’s Cowichan Valley Capitals.