The West Kelowna Warriors had a rough 2nd period that did them in as they dropped a 7-2 score to the Victoria Grizzlies on Friday night at The Q Centre.
1) A SHAKY SECOND
A five goal second period from the Grizzlies did an undermanned Warriors team in on Friday night as West Kelowna dropped their third straight game. The first period was pretty evenly played with the Grizzlies only recording one scoring chance and that happened to be on their goal. That tune changed in the 2nd period when the Warriors allowed 10 scoring chances against and gave up a big five spot to the Island Division’s top team in the standings. A couple of the goals you may want back (like the 3rd goal that got Cole Demers pulled after a seeing-eye wrister from Carter Berger) but it was costly mistakes that did the Warriors in. West Kelowna only had about 4 shots on goal up until the final five minutes of play in the period when the game was out of reach and they started to get a bit more rubber in the direction of Grizzlies goaltender Matthew Galajda, who was very sharp on the night. It’s tough for any team to lose five regulars, never mind arguably the best two defensemen in Rutigliano and Harrison that are on the team so it was an adjustment for guys to step up and play bigger minutes and sometimes adjustments take longer than a game. But the third period showed signs of growth as everyone seemed to gel and work together to finish the game out but certainly not the start the Warriors wanted have on the road trip and will look to shore up some defensive woes before taking on a very good Powell River team on their home turf on Saturday.
2) SOME POSITIVE PLAY
There was some positive play, especially by some youngsters, in the game with a chance to showcase their play with an undermanned group. Wyatt Head of the Okanagan Rockets of the BC Major Midget League was very good on the night, I thought he fit right in and played a strong game, certainly not afraid to get involved in the play and jump up on offense when necessary. He created a couple of chance from the blue line that almost resulted in West Kelowna goals. Tyler Jutting was another guy that stepped into the spotlight and had himself a solid night on the backend. Chase Dubois and Parm Dhaliwal were solid as well, each playing a strong 200-foot game while creating a bit of offence with Dubois getting his 12th goal of the season and Dhaliwal earning his 19th assist on the marker. Quin Foreman and Connor Sodergren were their usual selves as they both lead the charge up front for the Warriors on a night that didn’t look the best on paper but did have some bright spots through play that won’t always be recorded on the score sheet.
My takeaways from the Warriors 7-2 loss at The Q Centre to the Victoria Grizzlies on Friday night was that this may be a long weekend with the Warriors down so many bodies and it’s tough to fault them as many teams would be in the same boat if you took away five players of the same meaning. West Kelowna battled hard in the first, scoring the opening goal before the 2nd period derailed them en route to the defeat. It’s a tough pill to swallow for the Warriors but the good thing is that the next game is just around the corner with West-K getting up at 8 AM to catch the ferry across to Powell River to face the Kings. Puck drop is slated for 7:15 PM with the pre-game show getting underway at 7:05 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and www.hockeytv.com. Tomorrow will be a big broadcast as I’ll chat with Warriors owner Mark Cheyne in the 2nd intermission to chat about a busy time for the Warriors over the last two weeks.