The West Kelowna Warriors simply just ran out of gas after a tough weekend of play and picked up a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Chilliwack Chiefs on Sunday night at Prospera Centre.
Game photos from tonight’s action provided by Darren Francis of Fotoshotz. Darren does some terrific work with the Chiefs and every project he gets around too. Check out more of his work on his website HERE
1) EMPTYING THE TANK
There’s a point in which your car reads ‘E’ for empty and you never want to see the needle go below that ‘E’. On Sunday, that needle was below ‘E’ for the Warriors as they gave it everything they had after a tough weekend and come away with a point in a tough environment to play in, one the Chiefs have not lost in since December 6th. A team that is currently decimated by injuries and had a wake-up call of 5:30 AM this morning to catch a pair of ferries to get back over to the Mainland in time to get to the rink at 3 PM for the five o’clock start time. It was a gutty effort from a battered and bruised group of players but they got out to a lead and had their goaltender make a few key saves in the 2nd period to get to the third period with the lead. The shots of 19-5 in the 3rd period were rather indicative of the play as the Chiefs brought their all in the final period of regulation and capitalized with two goals after Chase Dubois put the Warriors up by a pair of goals. Tough to defend a team with that much fire power offensively and to hold them scoreless for nearly 55 minutes of the game was impressive enough from a fresh team, never mind the state the Warriors were in heading into Sunday. This game was the example of a battle and the Warriors just fell short to a very skilled and fresh Chiefs team, but an impressive and deserving of at least a point kind of effort from the Warriors tonight.
2) 2ND PERIOD CONQUERED
It was no secret that the Warriors needed a good 2nd period tonight in order to come away with any points out of this game and they got that in the middle stanza. The scene was set with a late first period goal from Connor Sodergren in the final minute of play of the 1st period and I think that may have deflated the Chiefs a little bit as both teams could not find the back of the net in the 2nd frame. Give credit to Warriors netminder Gabriel Morency as he shut the door and made it awfully hard to get anything by him. He’s also coming off of 31 saves on 34 shots the night before in Powell River and didn’t miss a beat with 42 saves on 45 shots in this game against the 2nd place team in the Mainland Division. Credit also has to go out to each one of the guys on this night but in particular the backend as Stephen Kleysen, Michael Ryan, Scott Allan and Tyler Jutting all deserve some much needed rest as they were saddled with big minutes on the weekend and especially on Sunday with the game being as tight as it was. As much as Morency was a key for making all the stops, the Warriors structure was again done well and certainly should’ve landed in more points being banked on the weekend, if the Warriors were healthy.
My takeaways from the Warriors 3-2 overtime setback against the Chilliwack Chiefs on Sunday night at Prospera Centre are that the Warriors gave it their all in a gutty effort at the end of the road trip and as hard as this is to swallow with surrendering a two-goal lead in the 3rd period, the Warriors have a lot to be proud of on this night. They battled through some tough elements to pick up a valuable point that moved them into fourth in the Interior Division standings as they have tied Merritt in points but lead season series by a 4-1 margin. The Warriors don’t get a whole rest before they head to Vernon on Wednesday night to take on the Vipers, a team that is very good at home and has beaten the Warriors three times this season. West Kelowna may get a few of their players back for that game but it is unknown at this point of how many that will be returning to the lineup. Puck drop from Vernon goes at 7:00 PM with the pre-game show at 6:50 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and hockeytv.com.