The West Kelowna Warriors fell by a 4-2 score on Saturday night to the Penticton Vees at the South Okanagan Events Centre that turned sideways late in the game.
Game photos tonight provided by Cherie Morgan of Cherie Morgan Photography. A big thank you to her for sending these along and you can find more photos from her HERE:
1) THE FIRST 50 MINUTES
This game was a tight-checking, very methodically played between two rivals that know each other all too well. The first period especially saw no open ice with very limited scoring chances with the shots on goal displaying that as well with the Vees leading in that category by a 9-7 count. One event to happen in the opening period was the loss of Warriors D-man Jake Harrison as in a scrum on the penalty kill was clipped with an inadvertent high-stick and caught him in the face. Harrison did not return and was rushed to the Warrior dressing room with athletic therapist Mike Bois holding a towel to his face. After that, the Warriors were down to five defensemen for the remainder of the game but did get the scoring going in period number two courtesy of Connor Sodergren’s rebound goal off the left pad of Mat Robson. Nic Jones, who’s had plenty of success against the Warriors this season, tied the game on a perfect shot over the glove side of Gabriel Morency before Owen Sillinger gave the Vees their first lead of the game just as a power play was expiring. The game was 2-1 after 40 minutes, much like the Warriors defeat to the Vernon Vipers on Friday night as those two teams were locked in at the same score line after 40 minutes. The beginning of the 3rd period started very well for the Warriors as they tied the game just 1:12 into the final frame as Chase Stevenson scored his 5th goal in 7 games off a Quin Foreman feed to tie the game. That tie did not last long as the Vees scored two goals in a span of 1:34 as Grant Cruikshank and Chris Klack tallied in short succession to give Penticton a two-goal lead for the first time on the night before the game took a drastic turn.
2) THE FINAL 10 MINUTES
Up to the 10:24 mark of the 3rd period, there wasn’t much in the way of bad blood, just some pushing and shoving after the whistles, which you’d expect between the two, but certainly nothing like what happened in the last part of the game. Ryley Risling got the tempers flaring with a high hit on Peter Tomaras, leaving the Warriors forward with stitches on his left eyebrow and a healthy bruise (and somehow earned Risling with the distinction of the Fortis Energy Player of the Game as well as earning the Robert Morris commit a four-game suspension starting Sunday in Salmon Arm). Nick Rutigliano came to the aid of his teammate and gave Risling a shove before the Vees forward shedded his gloves and landed a few punches on the Warriors captain before hauling him down to the ice. During the same stoppage, Scott Allan and Kenny Johnson dropped the gloves in a heated fight between two big customers with Johnson getting the better of Allan and earning the takedown. The Warriors were down to three defensemen with both Allan (game misconduct) and Rutigliano (10 minute misconduct) out of the game. At the 18:38 mark, things got heated again stemming from a slash from the Vees captain Nic Jones on the back of the leg on Sodergren, who hauled Jones to the ice after the slash and started a skirmish inside the Warriors end. Braiden Epp ended up on top of Jones and fired his helmet toward the Vees captain as the two were separated. More misconducts were given out as Sodergren and Epp were shown the gate for the Warriors while Jones and Vees forward Taylor Sanheim were booted from the game for the Vees.
The final sequence of these events came as the buzzer sounded as Warriors forward Chase Stevenson checked Vees D-man Jonny Tychonick from behind and instantly drew blood to the Vees defensemen. It certainly was not a good hit by Stevenson, surprising from a kid who does not play that style in any way, and will likely be up for supplemental discipline from the BCHL. As Tychonick skated to the bench on his way to the dressing room with a trail of blood behind him, the Vees coaching staff seemed to have motioned to the 17-year-old to stay on the ice and seek attention from Vees trainer Dan McDowell. The feud came to a momentary end with Vees head coach Fred Harbinson standing on the ice in front of the Vees bench exchanging words with Warriors assistant coach Cory Cross at the Warriors bench with linesmen getting between the two.
My takeaways from the Warriors 4-2 loss to the Penticton Vees at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Saturday night was that the Warriors special teams continues to be an issue, going 0/4 on the power play and 2/4 on the penalty kill but a good game that was marred by an ugly 3rd period. The Warriors struggles continue against the Vees now dropping to 0-5 against the Interior Division leaders this season. The Warriors may also be without Stevenson for their upcoming Island road trip which starts on Friday night in Victoria against the Grizzlies at the Q Centre, the first of two regular season meetings between the two clubs. The puck drops at 7:00 PM and all the action can be heard for free on the Warriors Internet Network and live on pay-per-view at hockeytv.com with the pre-game show starting at 6:50 PM. It’s a tough trip for the Warriors that sees stops in Powell River against the Kings on Saturday and a visit to Prospera Centre on Sunday to take on the Chilliwack Chiefs after their first visit to Victoria on Friday.