The West Kelowna Warriors complete a four-game stretch away from Royal LePage Place as they make their final visit of the regular season to the South Okanagan Events Centre to take on the Penticton Vees on Friday night.
Friday, September 30th @ Royal LePage Place (3-1 Vees) (BOXSCORE)
Saturday, October 22nd @ Royal LePage Place (6-3 Vees) (BOXSCORE)
Tuesday, November 22nd @ Royal LePage Place (4-1 Vees) (BOXSCORE)
Wednesday, January 11th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (4-2 Vees) (BOXSCORE)
Saturday, January 21st @ South Okanagan Events Centre (4-2 Vees) (BOXSCORE)
Friday, February 17th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)
Tuesday, February 21st @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
The Warriors have not had much success against the Vees this season as Penticton has won each of the five games in the season series this year. The latest game between the two sides took place in late January with the Vees coming away with a 4-2 victory. Connor Sodergren opened the scoring in the 2nd period while Chase Stevenson tied the game in the 3rd period before two Vees goals in 1:37 that gave Penticton the victory. Gabriel Morency got the start in goal for the Warriors and stopped 30 of 34 shots in the losing cause.
The Warriors come into Friday night’s action after a 4-3 victory on Wednesday night against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks at the Shaw Centre. West Kelowna’s power play struck for two goals in the early going as Logan Mostat and Quin Foreman tallied to give the Warriors a 2-0 advantage. Salmon Arm came back with two goals of their own to tie the game before Chase Stevenson scored twice, once in the second period and once in the third period on an empty net, before a late Silverback goal made the final 4-3 in favour of the visiting Warriors.
West Kelowna’s power play was off to a good start on Wednesday night against the Silverbacks as it struck on it’s first two attempts and has now tallied in three straight games but still sits in 16th in the BCHL at 13.7%. The Warriors penalty kill has jumped up to 77.0% and has killed off 16 of their last 17 penalties as the special teams has come around for the Warriors over the past three games.
Warriors forward Braiden Epp has seen a recent spurt in offence as the Prince George native has points in six of his last seven games. Epp has scored three goals and added eight assists for 11 points over those seven games and is having his second-best season offensively in his BCHL career with 16 goals and 33 points so far in 47 games played split between the Warriors and Prince George Spruce Kings.
As the season starts to wind down, the Warriors road to health is starting to clear up as another forward is set to return to the lineup on Friday night. With Nicholas Rutigliano and Peter Tomaras returning after nine-game absences, Jared Marino is set to get back into the lineup tonight after missing seven games with an upper body injury, last playing on January 29th against the Chilliwack Chiefs.
The Penticton Vees come into Friday night’s affair owners of a 37-12-1-2 record and sit 1st in the Interior Division and having not played since last Saturday but earning a big 2-0 shutout victory over the BCHL’s top team in the Wenatchee Wild in front of a crowd of 4142 at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Duncan Campbell and Nicholas Jones scored in the victory while Mathew Robson earned the 33-save shutout, his league leading 4th shutout of the season and his 31st win of the year.
The Vees sit 9th in the BCHL in regards to goals for with 170 so far in 52 games played this season. Captain Nic Jones leads the team in assists (35) and points (56) while rookie forward Grant Cruikshank leads the team in goals with 28 and also pacing the Vees with 11 power play goals, eight ahead of the next best player. Speaking of Jones, the Edmonton, Alberta native has had huge success against the Warriors so far this season as he has scored in each of the five games against West Kelowna this season with an impressive eight goals and 11 points in those five contests.
For what the Vees may lack in scoring being middle of the pack when it comes to goals for, the make up for in defense and goaltending as Mathew Robson has been outstanding in between the pipes for Penticton. He’s carried the mail for the Vees in the blue paint with 44 games played this season, a BCHL high, and also sits 2nd in goalie statistics for wins (31), goals against average (2.08) and save percentage (.925). The Warriors will face two of the top three goaltenders in the BCHL over their next three games as they face-off with the Vees twice and the Victoria Grizzlies once, that coming on Saturday at RLP.
The Warriors and Vees will drop the puck at 7:00 PM from the SOEC with the pre-game show starting at 6:50 PM with free audio on the Warriors Internet Network and live pay-per-view video at www.hockeytv.com. The Warriors return home on Saturday night as it is the 8th annual Faith Night hosted by Warriors chaplain Pastor Don Richmond as West Kelowna takes on the Victoria Grizzlies. For tickets, head to the Warriors office or call Kim at (250) 769-7051.