3 Keys: Warriors @ Eagles Game #11


For the fourth time in as many weeks, the Warriors make another weekday trip down to the Lower Mainland to take on the Surrey Eagles tonight at the South Surrey Arena.



Warriors vs. Eagles 2016/17 Season:

Thursday, November 24th @ South Surrey Arena (6-3 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, January 13th @ Royal LePage Place (5-2 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)

Warriors vs. Eagles 2017/18 Schedule:

Tuesday, October 10th @ South Surrey Arena (7:00 PM)

Tuesday, February 6th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)



This will be one of the biggest keys for the night in Surrey and that is how the Warriors are going to handle playing on the Olympic ice surface and I think they may like it. The Warriors put up 6 goals on the Eagles in South Surrey last season and possess forwards and fleet-footed defensemen that can have some extra room to roam in the offensive end. As always, there is a flip side to that coin and that is that the Eagles forward group is a pretty deep one and they are quite skilled and play on this ice sheet and know it better than anyone else. As much as the offensive zone might light the eyes of the Warriors up, taking care of the defensive end will be a big key as well as you wouldn’t want to get in a track meet with a team like Surrey. But, in saying that, the Warriors have some great skaters and could cause a bit of a headache to some of the Eagles inside their own zone. Matt Kowalski is one name that comes to mind as a guy who could have a big night with some extra room to roam. The Vernon, BC native has been held pointless in his last four games and is due to breakout as he did in the game’s early on in the season. He’s got a quick set of feet and is one of the most talented players I’ve seen at this level in regards of how quickly and effortlessly he can make plays look. Some other Warriors who I think could be difference makers tonight is Parm Dhaliwal, playing in his hometown and he seemed to like it a year ago, putting up four points in the win. His playing making ability and vision could create some good chances for linemates Chase Dubois and Chase Stevenson, especially when thinking of the power play and how the Warriors have been rolling in the department all season long. Jake Harrison and Michael Ryan are a couple of defenseman that could benefit from a bit more open ice as both skate very well and are terrific at quickly exiting out of their own zone. Just a couple players and things to keep in the back of your mind as the game unfolds tonight (I mean one of my keys actually happened on Saturday so miracles do occur).


A future law firm name? Quite possible. But tonight it serves as the Warriors opponent and a line that does much of the heavy lifting for the Brandon West-led Eagles. Ty Westgard, John Wesley and Desi Burgart have combined to score 17 of the Eagles 27 goals this season (63% for those mathematicians out there) and 34 of the Eagles 77 total points as a team (44%), this is a line that the Warriors will have to make sure to contain. Wesley is tied for the BCHL lead with 10 goals, including a four-goal game against the Vernon Vipers two Sundays ago, while Westgard and Burgart are equally skilled forwards that can feed the shooting Wesley very well. All three are on a four-game point streak and (obvious by the numbers) play a huge factor in the Eagles success. With that being said, I watched one of the Eagles games at the BCHL Showcase and this team is certainly skilled past those three men. They doubled Salmon Arm in shots on that occasion and brought the pressure all afternoon long but just couldn’t capitalize when they had to in order to win the game. Jeffrey Stewart has gotten off to a slower start than I think a lot of BCHL pundits would have him at but the Colgate University commit will find his groove, the Warriors just wish it isn’t on Tuesday night. Stewart, along with early season acquisition Connor Sundquist, have yet to find the back of the net while Ryan Brushett, former Vernon Viper, has only one goal to his name this season. It seems as though this team is more than capable of being a team in the top 3 of the Mainland Division but have taken some time to marinade as a group but don’t let the record fool you, this is a good hockey club and will put up a good game against the Warriors tonight.


I know, I know you’re tired of hearing about special teams but they play such a massive factor in each of the games the Warriors play that I feel like it is needed once more to highlight the specialty teams department, especially on the mass of land the game is being played on tonight. The Warriors power play, after going 2/8 on Saturday against the Silverbacks, is up to 24.1% and sits 4th in the league. Surrey owns the league’s 12th best PK at 78.4% so look for that to be a possible matchup and one that could go either way with the Warriors being unaccustomed to the bigger ice and not making quick enough decisions or using to their advantage and, like last season, getting the power play on board as a weapon, as they have done so well all season. The Tribe penalty kill has been the highlight of the special teams, sitting 1st in the league at 91.1% and the only team to have a PK over 90%. I know I jinxed the streak of consecutive penalties killed last game (the streak ended at 34 after I asked Warriors head coach about it in our pre game interview) but the PK shined, going 6/7 and spurred the Warriors to their 7th win of the season. The Eagles power play has struggled this season in 15th at 13.8% on the season but with the offensive weapons the Eagles possess, I wouldn’t expect that number to stay that low. Another special teams battle that could ultimately decide the winner of this contest.

The Warriors and Eagles face-off at 7 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com with the pre-game show starting at 6:45 PM with myself. The Warriors return home to RLP on Friday night, October the 13th (ohhh, Friday the 13th) against the Wenatchee Wild for the first meeting of the season between the now Interior Division foes.


3 Thoughts: Silverbacks @ Warriors Game #10

The West Kelowna Warriors gave a solid 60 minute effort along with a 34-save performance from Nik Amundrud and a sensational special teams to pick up a 4-1 victory over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday night.






Game photos from tonight are provided by Julie Pringle with Snap Photography:



If you’re a regular here at the blog (or just happened to read my ‘3 Keys’ from this morning), you’d know that one of the keys I labelled down for Saturday night was the battle of the special teams with a strong Salmon Arm power play against a superb Warriors penalty kill. On this night, it was the Warriors PK that won the battle, going 6/7 on the night and remaining as the only team in the BCHL with a penalty kill that is over 90%. Although the Warriors streak of 34 straight penalties killed off came to an end on Saturday, West Kelowna continued to battle hard on the PK including at the end of the game with a 6-on-3 for Salmon Arm for the final minute or so of regulation time. Not to be outdone on this night was the power play, which didn’t get much of a chance to work in Coquitlam on Wednesday but made up for it on Saturday with 8 tries and succeeding twice. RJ Murphy finished off a crazy goal mouth scramble on the glove side of Bo Didur while Chase Stevenson fired a shot in low to the glove side on a 5-on-3 man advantage for the Warriors, who now own the BCHL’s 5th best power play. To recap, it made me look like a pretty smart guy featuring that key today and it was the special teams battle that the Warriors won that led to their 7th victory of the season and finishing off the first 10 games of the season on a great note at 7-3-0-0.


Nik Amundrud had another solid night for the Warriors, turning aside 34 of the 35 shots he faced in the game for his 4th victory of the season and has played some solid games over the course of the last couple of weeks. The Melfort, Saskatchewan native pushed his GAA down below three (2.87) and his SV% at over .900 (.908) after a big effort on Saturday night where he had to make a few real big stops, including a breakaway save on Rhett Kingston in the 2nd period with the Warriors ahead by a 2-0 score that really kept the Warriors ahead. The 20-year-old netminder made all the saves he needed to make and has looked more comfortable in each game as the season has gone along. I thought Jake Harrison had a heck of a night as he was all around the puck and the ice all night long. I could talk about it all night but Stephen Kleysen is like a rock on the backend for the Warriors and consistently is just so good inside of his own zone. Wyatt Head had a pretty strong night as well as Michael Ryan on the Warriors back end. The Marino-Tilsley-Norlin trio continues to be the Warriors best line, with Marino and Tilsley using their grit and Norlin with his great speed but it got a run for it’s money on Saturday. The trio of Stevenson-Dhaliwal-Dubois were zipping the puck around with some serious gusto and play with such good chemistry and showed some signs that they could breakout in a scoring frenzy in the near future. Each of the lines for the Warriors was solid and they gave a full 60 minute effort that everyone helped contribute to a good team win.


My takeaways from the Warriors 4-1 victory over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday night at RLP is that this team is really starting to click and I think can make some noise in what is going to be an insanely difficult Interior Division. Like seriously, the Warriors sit at 7-3 with 14 points, which would put them in 2nd in the Island Division (only by a point) and tied for the Mainland Division lead but sit in 3rd place in the Interior. Games against your own division will be huge to win and the Warriors did something they were not able to do in 2016/17: Beat the Silverbacks at RLP. From Amundrud’s great night to the special teams being on point and the Warriors giving a solid effort, this team really could surprise some folks coming down the stretch. Everyone is so friendly with their time and have great chemistry, at least from what I have seen and observed, and this team is one that had had a whale of a start to 2017/18. I also thought the Warriors did a great job in shutting down some of the top weapons on the Silverbacks in guys like Justin Wilson, Marcus Mitchell, Tanner Campbell, Rhett Kingston and many others. Most of those guys didn’t have much time and space to work with and that is an ode to the Warriors defense and back checking forwards and of course, their masked man in between the pipes.

The Warriors (7-3-0-0) head back on the road for another jaunt to the Lower Mainland as they take on the Surrey Eagles (3-6-1-1) at the South Surrey Arena on Tuesday night. The game will be broadcasted live on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com. West Kelowna returns home on Friday, October 13th to face-off against the Wenatchee Wild.

3 Keys: Silverbacks @ Warriors Game #10


The West Kelowna Warriors return back home with a matchup against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks for the first time this season tonight at Royal LePage Place.



Warriors vs. Silverbacks 2016/17 Season:

Friday, October 7th @ Royal LePage Place (5-3 Silverbacks) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, October 14th @ Shaw Centre (5-4 Silverbacks/OT) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, October 15th @ Royal LePage Place (6-4 Silverbacks) (BOXSCORE)

Wednesday, November 2nd @ Shaw Centre (4-2 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)

Wednesday, December 6th @ Royal LePage Place (4-3 Silverbacks) (BOXSCORE)

Wednesday, February 15th @ Shaw Centre (4-3 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, February 25th @ Shaw Centre (5-3 Silverbacks) (BOXSCORE)

Warriors vs. Silverbacks 2017/18 Schedule:

Saturday, October 7th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

Sunday, October 22nd @ Shaw Centre (3:00 PM)

Wednesday, November 8th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

Saturday, January 20th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

Friday, February 2nd @ Shaw Centre (7:00 PM)

Saturday, February 24th @ Shaw Centre (7:00 PM)



Just as it was on Wednesday, this game against the ‘Backs could end up being decided by who is the best when up or down a man. Salmon Arm owns the 5th best power play in the BCHL at 23.4% and have scored a PPG in 5 straight games, including multi-goal power plays in each of the last two games. The thing that could slow that could be the Warriors PK, which is operating at 92.1% on the season and has killed off an impressive 31 (?!) straight penalties. So the battle between a strong power play that poses some big offensive weapons in the likes of Tanner Campbell, Marcus Mitchell, Rhett Kingston and others will have to try and crack a Warriors PK led by Cavin Tilsley, Jared Marino, Stephen Kleysen and company which should make for an intriguing storyline to watch for throughout the game. Another sidebar to keep in the back of your mind would be the flip side of the special teams coin and that’s the Warriors power play against the Silverbacks penalty kill. West Kelowna, whether it was right or not, only had 19 seconds of power play time against the Express on Wednesday and officially ending their stretch of 6 straight games with a power play goal. Despite that, the Warriors power play is still one of the top 3 in the league at 23.9% and that could play a big part in this game with the Salmon Arm penalty kill being ranked 14th in the league at 76.1%. Special teams is a big factor every night but in this particular game, it could be the difference between a win and a lose.


Winning the special teams battle will be a big key for the Warriors tonight but it also comes down to the one-on-one battles in the corner and below the goal line to gain puck possession that The Tribe will need to be on the right side of in order to earn a win tonight. Salmon Arm is a team with mobile defenseman like Akito Hirose and Mitchell Stapley who move the puck up ice very well and like to jump in the play offensively. Defensively, Spencer Hora, Riley Hayles and others will be the ones grinding away in the corners and being tough to move off of pucks. The Warriors fore checkers will have to be strong down low and create as many turnovers as they can to try and regain puck possession. It doesn’t help that there has been a bit of a sickness running through the team this week and having to battle through that and dig deep to find the energy to compete hard will be an important key as well. The line that has been red hot offensively over the last pair of games, and always a pain to play against, of Jared Marino, Cavin Tilsley and Bennett Norlin will look to continue their strong play while the Warriors defense will have to be good at winning battles at their end of the ice and not allowing guys like Campbell and Mitchell to have any space in the offensive zone, like they did a night ago against Merritt when each finished with three points in the game.


Since these ‘3 Keys’ have apparently taken on a theme of battles, why not make the last key one that will have a huge impact on the night: goaltending. Nik Amundrud was again very solid in the Warriors overtime win on Wednesday night in Coquitlam and if the Warriors get a similar performance tonight, they will be in a good position to win the hockey game. In a battle of the 20-year-old netminders, Bo Didur will oppose Amundrud and he was excellent in the pre-season game that the ‘Backs played in West Kelowna. So far through 6 games this season, Didur has been inconsistent with a .853 SV%. There are some nights, like on September 3rd in West Kelowna during exhibition, where the West Vancouver native is dialed in and unstoppable and then there are nights where it seems like it’s not meant to be for him. Didur went 18/22 last night against Merritt and although his team scored 7 goals and picked up the win, I’m sure he will be looking for a bounce back performance at RLP tonight and make for what should be a great battle of 20-year-old goaltenders.

The Warriors and Silverbacks drop the puck tonight at 7:00 PM with the pre-game show coming at you live at 6:45 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com if you can’t make it down to Royal LePage Place tonight.

3 Thoughts: Warriors @ Express Game #9

The West Kelowna Warriors, although not pretty at the end, were able to pull out a 5-4 overtime victory against the Coquitlam Express on Wednesday night at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex.






Game photos tonight provided by Damon James of the BCHL:



Battling a bit of sickness and a long bus ride to Coquitlam, the Warriors picked up a big overtime victory against the Express with Bennett Norlin capping things off with his first BCHL goal. It wasn’t pretty at the end of the game with the Warriors getting a goal from Jared Marino with 1:14 remaining to play that looked like it would be an insurance marker with the game at a 4-2 Warriors lead. But give plenty of credit to the Express, who scored twice in 27 seconds to get the game tied and guarantee themselves a point in a game that looked all but over with a minute to go. I think the Warriors let their guard down a little bit, just wanting to ride out the final minute or so and head home with a victory. In the end, it’s all but a talking point after the Warriors sealed up the win in overtime, controlling much of the puck in the extra frame before Norlin’s tally with 45 seconds to go in the 1st OT finished the night on a high note. Nik Amundrud had a solid night for the Warriors in goal, making a pair of big stops early on in the game and then much of the rest of the evening as he turned aside 31 of the 35 he faced for his 3rd win. Although the end result of that stat doesn’t sound the greatest, Amundrud held his team in the game with some nice stops and allowed the Warriors offense to get their job done as well. And no matter how the final part of the 3rd period ended, they never ask how, they just ask how many when it comes to wins:


The Warriors penalty kill, and I may be jinxing it at this point, has been absolutely outstanding over the course of the season. Since allowing three goals in the first two games while shorthanded, the Warriors have killed off an impressive 31 straight penalties, including going 7/7 (despite what the boxscore says) last night. That’s a perfect PK in 7 straight games and now sees the Warriors sitting at 92.3% on the penalty kill, which ranks as top spot in the BCHL. The Warriors power play has also been red hot, only getting 19 seconds of work on Wednesday night, but the special teams has certainly taken a huge upswing from where it was a year ago and the PK saved the Warriors on Wednesday. With taking three penalties in the opening period, the Warriors PK shut down what was the 5th ranked PP in the BCHL, and a PP unit that can move the puck around with plenty of zip. I wouldn’t look at the 7 penalties as a cause for concern either as, in my mind, the Warriors were on the receiving end of some pretty grievous penalty calls but nonetheless, they stuck with the gameplan and come out of Coquitlam with a win and a scorching hot PK that shows no signs of cooling off.


My takeaways from the Warriors 5-4 overtime victory against the Coquitlam Express is that the Warriors battled their final minute gaf and came away with a big road win that improved them to 6-3-0-0. Looking at the game as a whole, I don’t think you’d classify this one in the ranks of excitement that we saw on Saturday night at RLP against Chilliwack but the Warriors defended well and their goaltender was solid. They got offense from three of their four lines and I thought the Marino-Tilsley-Norlin line was again one of the Warriors best. A line that scored once and played pretty well as well would have to be the trio of Willie Reim, RJ Murphy and Matt Kowalski. Those three competed hard and although it didn’t show up on the scoresheet, they’re work certainly did not go unnoticed. Another standout for me last night was on defense and Jake Harrison had himself a strong game, keeping the Express to the outside with not a whole lot of chances available in the middle of the ice. Overall, a good game from the Warriors that got away from them a bit at the end but rebounding in overtime to pick up the win and get back to a divisional opponent on Saturday night at RLP.

Yes, the Warriors are back at home after their one-game trip to the Mainland where they will face-off against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks for the first time this season. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM with the pre-game show (in case you can’t make it down to RLP) will be at 6:45 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com.

3 Keys: Warriors @ Express Game #9

The West Kelowna Warriors head for the Lower Mainland for the third straight week as they take on the Coquitlam Express for the second time this season on Wednesday night at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre.



Warriors vs. Express Schedule:

Wednesday, September 20th @ Prospera Centre (7-2 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)

Wednesday, October 4th @ Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre (7:00 PM)

Tuesday, January 23rd @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

Warriors Leading Scorers:
Matt Kowalski (5-3-8)

Michael Ryan (1-6-7)

Chase Dubois (2-4-6)

Stephen Kleysen (2-3-5)

Parm Dhaliwal (2-3-5)

Express Leading Scorers:

Christian Sanda (3-4-7)

Alex Ambrosio (2-5-7)

Sam Kozlowski (3-2-5)

Mitch Newsome (1-4-5)

Jordan Schulting (1-4-5)



This is a key often used in January or February when playing a team on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture but I feel it can be used in this situation with the Warriors taking on a team that has struggled to start the season. The Express rank 15th with 35 goals against this season and sit tied for last place with 21 goals scored this season while the Warriors sit with 25 goals for but a substantially lower goals against at just 18 this season in 8 games. On paper, this seems like a bit of a mismatch but that’s why you play the game and never overlook an opponent or play down to the competition. Records don’t mean much when it comes to Junior hockey as any team is capable of a victory on any given night and the Express did just that to the Warriors one year ago in Coquitlam when the teams met in the middle of October with the Express scoring with just 16 seconds remaining in the game to pull out the win. The Warriors will have to be on top of their game and make sure they are crisp and clean in their game to ensure that they will have success, just like the game they played on Saturday night, which was their most complete from scoring to defensive play to goaltending. The Warriors only gave up 22 shots and will look to do more of the same when they face a team that two weeks ago were able to score their season high 7 goals on and fired over 50 shots at the Coquitlam goal. But again, one of the biggest keys to this hockey game, don’t take this team for granted. The Warriors will have to outwork the Express and play a solid road game for a win in Coquitlam on Wednesday.


I don’t know if I’ve really given the Warriors special teams the attention it deserves but it is about as hot as can be heading into Wednesday night’s tilt with the Express. The Warriors have scored a PPG in all but one of their games so far this season and have multi-goal power plays in three of those games. Add in the fact that the man advantage has tallied in six straight games and you’ve got one explosive power play. West Kelowna is operating at a 26.2% clip, 3rd in the BCHL behind Vernon and Wenatchee. Coquitlam has had a solid power play this season as well, sitting 5th at 23.5% and will provide a stiff test for what has been a very formidable Warriors penalty kill. Speaking of the PK, The Tribe sit just .2% behind Wenatchee for top spot in the league with a 90.3% PK that has not allowed a goal in six straight games. It’s not only the six straight power play goals-less games that are impressive but the fact that the Warriors have killed off 24 straight penalties and will face a stiff test in a Coquitlam power play that has plenty of success this season. This game could come down to special teams and it could be the Warriors power play versus the Express penalty kill with Coquitlam sitting at 72.2% and 15th in the BCHL. A red hot Warriors power play could make the difference for an over four hour trip to Coquitlam in which the Warriors will have to stretch out the road legs early on.


It’s a long trip to Coquitlam from West Kelowna and shaking off the bus legs can be a challenge that can be tough to overcome. The Warriors did a good job of shaking off those bus legs last week in Langley despite the losing cause. They came out and played a strong first period, drawing three penalties and certainly did not lose that game because of a poor road effort. The same will be needed again tonight and trying not to fall behind in the first period as they did a couple of weeks ago against the Express at the Showcase. Getting the feet moving and playing a Warriors style of hockey gives this team the best chance to beating the bus legs early on and picking up a win in Coquitlam on Wednesday night.

The Warriors and Express drop the puck tonight at 7:00 PM from the “Palace on Poirier” with the pre-game show getting underway on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com at 6:45 PM.

3 Thoughts: Chiefs @ Warriors Game #8

The West Kelowna Warriors got the offense they had been searching for in a solid 6-0 shutout victory over the 2018 RBC Cup host Chilliwack Chiefs on Saturday night at Royal LePage Place.







Game photo courtesy of Wayne Moore from Castanet:


1) A SOLID 60

This was, in my estimation, the most complete game the Warriors have played so far this season (and I know we are only 8 games into the year but still a solid outing) as they got plenty of goal scoring, good defensive play and solid goaltending to will them to a victory. Depth scoring was key on the night as the line of Jared Marino, Cavin Tilsley and Bennett Norlin was the Warriors best with Tilsley leading the charge offensively with a a pair of goals and an assist for three points. Jake Harrison (1 G, 1A), Michael Ryan (1 G, 1A) & Tyler Jutting (2 assists) all had multi-point games with plenty of offense coming from the depth lines and the back end for West Kelowna in this game. Also have to give props to netminder Cole Demers who picked up his first career BCHL shutout with a 22 save performance on the night. For a kid that was 1:28 away from that feat in his last start at RLP against Merritt, it’s great to see him come back and get something I know he’s been working towards for a while. He’s had a fantastic season up to this point as well, leading the BCHL in GAA (0.67) and save percentage (.980) and has made it a tough decision night in and night out for who will start in between the pipes. To get back to this game, Demers and the Warriors brought their ‘A’ game and took care of what is a very good hockey team on Saturday night. Don’t let the record fool you, that Chilliwack team will figure things out and make the adjustments necessary to rise up in the standings but on Saturday, the Warriors outplayed them heavily and picked up a much needed win to finish their week off on a high note.


What a difference a year makes when it comes to the special teams department for the Warriors as they have surged up to 3rd in the BCHL at 26.2%, just .1% behind the Vernon Vipers, entering play on Sunday. Another two power play goals on Saturday put the Warriors at 5 PPG’s for the week in three games and 11 total on the season and have been dominant when up a man so far this season. The puck movement and execution of their man advantage has been superb and has uplifted them where at times last year it was more of a killer than anything else. And it’s not just the power play that’s rolling. The Warriors penalty kill has been among the league’s best at 90.3%, .2% behind the Wenatchee Wild for 1st overall in the league. Guys like Tilsley, Marino, Jordan Todd amongst others on defence have done such a good job at not allowing teams to set up and if they do, the Warriors get in the shooting lanes and not many shots have a chance to get through traffic to their goaltender. The PK went a perfect 5/5 on Saturday and has not allowed a goal against on the PK in six straight games. The last time they did so was their home opener almost a full month ago.


My takeaways from the Warriors 6-0 shutout victory over the Chilliwack Chiefs was that West Kelowna brought it on Saturday and the Chiefs just could not keep up with the Warriors game, who dominated from really the puck drop onward in the game. It was great to see a guy like Cavin Tilsley have so much success offensively, someone who does so much that doesn’t get much recognition on the scoresheet. Plenty of good things and positive outlooks from the game on Saturday and gives the Warriors some momentum rolling forward into Coquitlam on Wednesday night.

A quick note, I’d like to wish a speedy recovery to Chiefs netminder Daniel Chenard, who was knocked out of the game after Jake Harrison made a big hit on Jared Turcotte just outside of the crease with Turcotte falling back into his goaltender and Chenard looking like he made have hit his head on the post or something in the goal. Hopefully it isn’t as serious of an injury as it looked. Never does anyone want to see that in a game, no matter what team you root or work for.

3 Thoughts: Warriors @ Vees Game #7

The West Kelowna Warriors fought hard but couldn’t get enough offense in a 2-1 loss to the Penticton Vees on Friday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.






Game photos from Friday night provided by Cherie Morgan with Cherie Morgan Photography:\



I don’t know if it was because it was the Vees and Warriors but man oh man did this game have plenty of feel to it and felt like a game in late February and not September. The Vees came out and did what they do best, control the puck and play effectively in the offensive zone and created 13 shots in the first period to the Warriors 3. Nik Amundrud, a name that will be coming up regularly in this blog post, was outstanding for West Kelowna in the early going and throughout the duration of the sixty minutes in Friday’s game. The Vees did a great job of keeping the Warriors to the outside and not allowing them to set up shop in the offensive zone and create any cycle plays or gain any momentum. On the flip side of that, of the 13 shots the Vees had in the 1st period, I thought maybe 4 or 5 of them were really threatening. Amundrud made an unbelievable save on Owen Sillinger with his right pad after the Vees forward got a pass from behind the goal from Jackson Keane. The 20-year-old netminder was at it again, this time with the blocker as he punched out a Ben Allen tip from the slot for a gorgeous stop. The Warriors netminder was terrific at tracking the puck through mazes of bodies in front and was maybe the only reason why the score was so tight until the bitter end. What I liked about tonight’s game was that there was no cheap stuff after whistles or dirty hits, just good hockey. Warriors defenseman Jake Harrison was given a 2 minute check from behind penalty and a game misconduct for a hit he had on Keane in the 1st, putting the Warriors out of one of their top defenseman for the majority of the game. Should the hit have been penalized? Yes but when Keane comes out a shift after the penalty, a game misconduct was a bit too much in my opinion. The energy from the Vees home opener seemed to be contagious and made for a rather entertaining Friday night affair between two close rivals.


I thought the Warriors did a great job of bending but not breaking in the game’s opening period when you would expect the Vees to be coming out flying trying to set the tone in the game. The Warriors were able to fend off the first bit of pressure and stay in the game with some good defensive play and keeping the Vees forwards to the perimeter, which seemed from my view anyway that that took place a lot on the night. It’s not an easy task to hang around with a team like the Vees who can skate and are so good at getting the puck out from their own end but I thought the Warriors did a good job at hanging around and keeping things close and making things a little nerve wracking in the 3rd period for those at the SOEC. Chase Dubois’ late goal with 1:14 left sure made the crowd stick around a wee bit longer to find out if the Warriors would be able to knot things up but could not find an equalizer they were searching for. It also has amazed me that somehow it seems the puck just doesn’t want to bounce the Warriors way whenever they play the team to the South of them. A couple of times where the puck looked like it could be caught up to in the offensive zone just rolled away from an on skating Warrior forward and never seemed to materialize the same way that the play does for the Vees. Nonetheless, I thought the Warriors stuck around all night long and although things might not have been pretty in regards of offensive zone time and controlling the puck, they still were just a shot away from tying the game in the dying moments and their goaltender came to play on this night.


My takeaways from the Warriors 2-1 defeat against the Penticton Vees on Friday night is that the Warriors hung around and made life difficult for their opponents and had their goaltender make every save he needed to to keep his team in the game. Somehow, however, that 31 save performance was not good enough for a star on the night, which I know isn’t really a big deal in the grand scheme of things but like really, come on. You’ve got a goalie who had a great night and gets no recognition for it whatsoever? Bit of a head scratcher on that one and a bit out to lunch on the organizer of those 3 Stars, if you ask me. But in the end of it all, the Warriors needed to find a way to get to the front of the net and create more offense and could not do so, with Scheel making a couple of big stops along the way to help the Vees to a win. A scene setter for what I hope is a good season series between these two teams. Another chance to rebound comes on Saturday night when the Warriors return home and will look to have these efforts pay off in a victory that would certainly go a long way in making the week a bit of a better one.

The Warriors do battle against the 2018 RBC Cup host Chilliwack Chiefs on Saturday night at RLP, the first time West Kelowna will be back home since the middle of the month. Puck drop goes at 7:00 PM with the pre-game show starting at 6:45 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com if you can’t make it to the rink.