The West Kelowna Warriors endured a rough 2nd period and three power play goals against in a 5-1 loss against the Penticton Vees in their regular season home ice finale on Tuesday night.
1) SPECIAL LETDOWN
There wasn’t much in the way of positives after the first period in Tuesday night’s loss for the Warriors on home, a bit of a disappointing one given the fact that it was the final regular season game at Royal LePage Place this year. The Warriors started the game with great jump and opened the scoring and actually led this game after 20 minutes. But after that, I’m not really sure what to say. It’s almost as though the Warriors lost complete control of the game and their old arch rival special teams came back into play and the Warriors couldn’t rebound from a four-goal second period by the Vees, one that included two power play goals and a shorty, the real back breaker in this game. After a couple of weeks of good special teams play, including a very good penalty kill, went to waste on Tuesday with the PK giving up three goals and the power play going 0/4 and giving up the SIXTH shorthanded goal to the Vees this season. Special teams has been the number one issue for the seven losses on the year to Penticton and it came to a head on Tuesday night as the Warriors couldn’t overcome a 2nd period shorthanded goal that gave the Vees their first lead of the game and they never looked back. A good effort through 20 minutes but that was about it and 20 minutes isn’t good enough to beat any teams in this league, nevermind the top team in the Interior Division.
2) ANOTHER STRONG TURNOUT
As much as the play on the ice wasn’t as the Warriors hoped, the support from the City of West Kelowna over the past two home games has been fantastic. To get 1100+ people packed into RLP on a Tuesday night was another fantastic atmosphere to be apart of, coupled with the awesome crowd that came forth on Saturday when the Warriors hosted the Grizzlies. This includes the fans that stuck around post game to catch the awards ceremony as the Warriors have seen nearly 2500 people fill the seats of Royal LePage Place in their last two home games. I personally hope that the crowds continue to be strong as the playoffs get going next week with the Warriors securing home ice advantage in the first round with games 1 and 2 taking place at RLP on Friday March 3rd and Saturday March 4th. It’s been a tremendous last two games at RLP this season and I’m hoping the support remains strong for the Warriors into what will hopefully be another long playoff run.
My takeaways from the Warriors 5-1 loss to the Vees in their final regular season home game on Tuesday night is that the Warriors started strong but failed to capitalize on the momentum and dropped their seventh game to the Vees, allowing Penticton to sweep the season series. The Warriors weren’t ready to play from period number two onward whether that was in net, in their own zone or offensively and especially when it came to the special teams play. This year it seems as though the Vees have gotten into the heads of the Warriors and once West Kelowna gets behind, they can’t find a to get back, which makes the 3rd place position in the Interior Division all the more important. I’m sure the Warriors, if they advance through round one of the playoffs, would rather see the Vernon Vipers than having to face the Vees. The Warriors finish out their regular season schedule with a pair of road games starting on Friday night against the Merritt Centennials before their final game of the regular season on Saturday against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.