The West Kelowna Warriors didn’t spend long in PG but they made it worth their while as a 33-save shutout performance from Gabriel Morency propelled the Warriors to a 4-0 victory over the Prince George Spruce Kings at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena on Thursday night.
Game photos from Thursday night provided by Matt Jensen of Matt Jensen Photography. Find more of his work on his FACEBOOK PAGE
1) NO BUS LEGS HERE
The Warriors had a busy day on Thursday, to say the least, as the day began with a bus trip through a winter wonderland that took about 9 hours to complete and saw the Warriors get to the rink at about 6:20 PM for a 6:50 warmup and a 7:25 face-off. And the Warriors made the Spruce Kings look like the team that just came off the bus as a hot start saw former Spruce King Cavin Tilsley bury one against his former team off a nice pass from AP forward Juanre Naude just five minutes into the contest:
The Warriors peppered the Prince George goal with 17 first period shots and safe to say that bus legs were not an issue for West Kelowna. The 2nd period was played mostly shorthanded for the Warriors as they had to kill off four 2nd period, a game in which the officiating was interesting to say the least. But the Warriors got their biggest boost of the night and what may have been the potential downer for the Spruce Kings as Jon Russell converted on a turnover and went five hole for the goal:
The Warriors continued with their scoring in the 3rd period with another goal from Jon Russell as he jammed the puck in on the blocker side before another former Spruce King forward buried against his former team as Braiden Epp scored on the power play from behind the Spruce King goaltender Aris Anagnostopolous to put the game on ice and give the Warriors a 4–0 shutout victory, the 2nd shutout of the season for the Warriors as Gabriel Morency made 33 saves on Thursday night for the honour.
2) ALL AROUND GOOD PLAY
It wasn’t just one area of the Warriors game that was impressive, it was each area that they thrived in and to start, we have to look at the penalty kill. West Kelowna went 7/7 while shorthanded and also added a shorty courtesy of Jon Russell in a drastic change of events from their 2/5 PK performance on Tuesday night vs. Langley. PG looked surprised by the aggressiveness of the PK and also were able to tally on the PP as they went 1/7 on the man advantage. After playing a lot of games on the road, coming back home can be an adjustment and the Spruce Kings felt that a bit on Thursday and the Warriors did a good job of taking advantage of that. The Warriors did a great job defensively on a Prince George team that can score quite a bit and didn’t give many looks to the likes of some of the top scorers in Brett Mennear, Tanner Campbell and Ben Brar. The Warriors didn’t even give up a chance against in the opening period and were able to use the strength of solid goaltending from Morency to get the victory on a tough travel day and not much time to stretch and warm up. The Warriors secondary scoring has also taken a huge step up as the likes of Jon Russell, Jordan Todd and Cavin Tilsley have have found their offensive ways over the last few games and have taken a load off the top end of the lineup in regards of production.
My takeaways from the Warriors 4-0 shutout victory in Prince George against the Spruce Kings on Thursday is that with the travel and the length of the trip, two points is a huge accomplishment and one of the more complete victories for the Warriors so far this season. Scoring coming from all sources plus a strong goaltending performance gave the Warriors their 25th victory of the season and gives them a win through a very tough stretch of their schedule. The Warriors will head to Kal Tire Place next on Saturday night when they take on the Vernon Vipers for the final time in the regular season. Puck drop is 6:00 PM with the pre-game starting at 5:50 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and http://www.hockeytv.com.