Warriors Wrap Up Regular Season Home Schedule vs. Vees

penticton-vees vs. west-kelowna-shield-logo

The West Kelowna Warriors play their final regular season game on home ice as they take on their Interior Division rivals in the Penticton Vees at Royal LePage Place on Tuesday night.

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Season Series:

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 (5-0 Vees) (BOXSCORE)

Tuesday, February 21st @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

The Warriors have yet to be able to crack the Vees so far this season as the record stands at 0-6 in the season series for West Kelowna against Penticton. The last game the two teams played came last Friday with the Vees shutting out the Warriors by a 5-0 score at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Cole Demers made the start for the Warriors, allowing three goals on five shots and picking up the loss before being relieved in net by Gabriel Morency who made 14 saves on 16 shots in his appearance.

The Warriors come into Tuesday night’s game after one of their biggest victories of the season, a 3-2 overtime win over the Island Division pennant winners in the Victoria Grizzlies. Chase Stevenson and Jon Russell got the scoring going with the Warriors in front of a crowd of 1,325 at Royal LePage Place. The Grizzlies came back with two first period goals to tie the game at 2-2 where it would remain for the duration of the game. The Warriors earned a power play late in the first overtime period and Stevenson scored his 2nd goal of the game to earn the Warriors 27th victory of the season. Gabriel Morency made 40 saves on 42 shots for his 5th victory of the season.

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Tuesday night marks a milestone occasion for one Warrior forward as Cavin Tilsley with hit the century mark with his 100th career regular season game coming tonight against the Vees. The Delta, BC native has 15 goals and 39 points in his 99 career games so far in his career while in split time between the Warriors and Prince George Spruce Kings this season, Tilsley has complied 5 goals and 18 points in 43 games played.

Gabriel Morency will be making his second consecutive start on Tuesday night after coming off of a 40-save performance on Saturday night against the Grizzlies. The Quebec, Quebec native has won his last four starts and holds a 2.84 GAA and a .922 SV% in his 10 appearances with the Warriors this season. Over his last four victories, Morency owns a 1.72 GAA with a sparkling .950 SV% including a shutout in Prince George against the Spruce Kings on February 9th.

The final regular season home game goes tonight with the Warriors owning a very good record of 17-11-0-0 at Royal LePage Place so far this season. Fans are encouraged to stick around after the game as the Warriors will hand out their team awards for the 2016/17 season. The ceremony will take place at centre ice right after the final buzzer sounds on Tuesday night.

The Penticton Vees enter play on Tuesday night with a 39-13-1-2 record having clinched 1st place in the Interior Division and are coming off of a three-game weekend on home ice which saw two wins. The first coming on Friday night against the Warriors before dropping a 5-1 decision to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday while finishing the weekend with a 2-1 overtime win over the Victoria Grizzlies on Sunday. Grant Cruikshank scored in regulation while James Miller collected the overtime winner with Mat Robson making 27 saves on 28 shots in the victory.

The Vees sit 9th in the BCHL in scoring with 178 goals for this season in 55 games played with captain Nicholas Jones leading the team in scoring with 22 goals and 58 points in his 55 games played this year. Rookie forward Grant Cruikshank leads the Vees in goals with 30 on the season while Jones paces the club in assists (36) and points (58). Mat Robson has been outstanding all season long for the Vees holding a 33-12-1 record along with a 2.01 GAA and a .927 SV% with his goals against and save percentage both ranking 2nd in the BCHL.

The biggest pest for the Warriors to play against this season has been forward Nic Jones as the Vees captain has torched West Kelowna all season long. Jones has nine goals in six games against the Warriors this season (including scoring in each of the six games) and has a total of 13 points to go along with his nine goals. Robson has played the Warriors well in the crease as well this season, boasting a 6-0 record combined with a 1.80 GAA and a dazzling .945 SV%.

The Warriors and Vees drop the puck at 7:00 PM with tickets available at the Warriors office or by calling Kim at (250) 769-7051. If you can’t make it to the rink, the pre-game show starts at 6:50 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and www.hockeytv.com. The Warriors wrap up their regular season schedule with a pair of road games in Merritt on Friday night and then in Salmon Arm on Saturday.

3 Thoughts: Grizzlies @ Warriors Game #55

The West Kelowna Warriors thrilled a packed house at Royal LePage Place with a huge 3-2 overtime victory against the Victoria Grizzlies on Saturday night!

BOXSCORE

WARRIORS WEBSITE RECAP

RYLAN FERSTER PRE GAME

BCHL THIS WEEK SHOW SEGMENT

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Game photos provided by the always excellent Ken Reid of Greystoke Photography. He captured some great shots from last night, including the Stevenson winner in overtime. Check out more of his work with his FACEBOOK PAGE and his WEBSITE

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3 THOUGHTS:

1) GAME. OF. THE. YEAR

I don’t think it’s even a question that Saturday night’s game against the Grizzlies, even if the Warriors had lost, would be crowned the game of the year. It was fantastic. Between the play on the ice, the atmosphere provided by the packed house at RLP and a game that went 64 minutes, it was an unforgettable night to be apart of. The Warriors got the crowd on it’s feet early thanks to a gorgeous tic-tac-toe passing play started by Quin Foreman, handing off to Connor Sodergren and finished by Chase Stevenson to bring the 1,325 fans in RLP to their feet and applaud a highlight reel goal. The Warriors continued their strong jump to the game, a great response after a tough game in Penticton on Friday, as Jon Russell doubled the score banging in a loose puck from the top of the crease through the legs of Tony Rehm to double the Warriors lead. Gabriel Morency was outstanding in the game on his first period save might be considered the save of the year as he robbed Nathan Looysen in front of the goal with a gigantic left pad stop. Something you have to see to believe:

The Grizzlies came back to tie the game with two 1st period goals from Cole Pickup and Lucas Clark that made the game 2-2 and the score would remain that way through period number two and three as Victoria especially pressed with 15 third period shots but Morency was the difference as he stood tall after allowing a goal he would like back on the Clark marker back in the 1st period. The Grizzlies got a bit undisciplined as the game came down to it’s final moments with a penalty with 1:33 to go in regulation but the Warriors were unable to capitalize as the game slid into overtime, and a treat for fans that this excellent game went past the 60 minute regulation time. Grizzlies captain Cody Van Lierop was called for goaltender interference as he tried to drive the goal on a break and knocked into Morency to give the Warriors another power play and this one they converted on with a big scramble in front of Rehm and the West-K kid Stevenson was the hero:

2) 4 REGULAR D = NO PROBLEM

The Warriors were without two of their top defensemen in the likes of Scott Allan and captain Nicholas Rutigliano on Saturday night while also missing the likes of Tyler Jutting but that seemed to be no issue as the Warriors backend gutted out a big effort as everyone played a big part in the victory on the defensive side of the puck. The forwards of the Warriors did an excellent job of backchecking and making sure they were responsible in their own zone while the likes of a Stephen Kleysen, who was understandably exhausted after the game, was an absolute horse on the blue line for West Kelowna in the game. Every defensemen did an great job of holding a team that scores a lot of goals and can outskate anyone in the league to just two goals in this game, where credit also have to be given to the man in the blue paint. The way Gabriel Morency rebounded from a rough 2nd goal against was outstanding as he kept the game tied and every save from then on out as he stopped 40 shots for his 5th win of the season. In my eyes, he made at least four, if not more, big stops en route to his first star performance and the Warriors 27th win of the season and especially after how the game on Friday was for the Warriors, it was excellent to see the effort from Morency and everyone in a Warrior jersey on Saturday night to finish the week of three games with two wins.

3) TAKEAWAYS

My takeaways from the Warriors 3-2 overtime victory against the Victoria Grizzlies on Saturday night is that everyone dug deep and gave every bit of energy they had to come together for a solid team victory in one of the best, and most entertaining, game of the season. With the point in the overtime loss, the Grizzlies clinched the Island Division pennant for the third time in five seasons and I’d like to congratulate head coach Craig Didmon and his staff, players, and everyone within the Grizzlies organization on the achievement, a deserving one for a team that has played some excellent hockey over the course of the season and will now carry home ice through the first two rounds of the BCHL playoffs.

I want to send out one more shoutout and this goes to the 1,325 fans that came out last night to watch the Warriors and Grizzlies play that left no one going home unhappy. The atmosphere was fantastic and was like the Warriors were back in the league finals and playoffs again. It’s those kinds of atmospheres that make those games fun for everyone involved and I hope it’s just the tip of the iceberg for crowds down the stretch for the Warriors heading into the playoffs. The boys thrive off of the energy in the building and last night was special with everyone coming out and supporting the 8th annual Warriors Faith Night that made Warriors chaplain Pastor Don Richmond proud. West Kelowna completes their regular season home schedule with a game against the Penticton Vees on Tuesday night at RLP. Cheap tickets, cheap beer, and it’s a rivalry night. No reason not to head down to RLP and catch the Warriors one last time before the playoffs. After all, we saw what an amazing crowd does and the evidence is from Saturday night.

Warriors, Grizzlies Close Season Series In West-K

victoria-grizzlies vs. west-kelowna-shield-logo

The West Kelowna Warriors look to get back in the win column when they return home after a four-game stretch away from Royal LePage Place as they host the Victoria Grizzlies on Saturday night.

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Season Series:

Friday, January 27th @ The Q Centre (7-2 Grizzlies) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, February 18th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

The Warriors enter Saturday night coming off of being shutout for the second time this season, dropping a 5-0 decision to the Penticton Vees on Friday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Despite hitting three posts in the game, the Warriors were held off the scoresheet while Cole Demers starting in goal, making two saves on five shots and picking up his 16th loss of the season before being relieved by Gabriel Morency who made 14 saves on 16 shots.

The Warriors and Grizzlies have played once this season with Victoria ending a four-game losing streak against West Kelowna with a 7-2 win at The Q Centre in late January. Braiden Epp and Chase Dubois each scored in the defeat that saw the Grizzlies score five 2nd period goals. Cole Demers started the game before being pulled for Gabriel Morency and after allowing three goals on eleven shots, Demers was brought back in. Cole made 29 saves on 33 shots total on the night while picking up the loss.

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The shutout on Friday night was just the second for the Warriors on the season with their only other goose egg coming in Trail against the Smoke Eaters on December 30th, their first road game back after the Christmas break. The Warriors did follow up that performance with back-to-back 4-1 victories over the Merritt Centennials so they own a 1-0 record after being shutout this season.

Penalty killing has been on the rise for the Warriors over the past two weeks and was one of, if not the only, positive to come out of Friday night as the Warriors PK was a perfect 7/7 and has moved to 77.5% on the season. West Kelowna has killed off 20 of their last 21 penalties and has become more of the teams from the past in Warrior history when in regards to the penalty kill.

It’s one of the biggest nights of the season as the Warriors host their 8th annual Faith Night at Royal LePage Place on Saturday. The event is hosted by Warriors chaplain Pastor Don Richmond, who bought 150 tickets for just his own church for the evening as it is sure to be a fantastic night in support of all the churches in the West Kelowna and Kelowna communities.

The Victoria Grizzlies enter play on Saturday night with a 36-11-4-3 record and sit in first place in the Island Division standings with 79 points, six points ahead of the Powell River Kings for top spot. The Grizzlies are coming into West Kelowna off of a 4-2 victory over the Vernon Vipers on Friday night to begin their Interior swing, the third victory in a row for the “Grizz”. Timothy Friedmann, Cody Van Lierop, Keyvan Mokhtari and Nathan Looysen all tallied in the win while Matthew Galajda earned his 24th win of the season with 35 saves on 37 shots.

The Grizzlies sit 5th in the BCHL rankings in regards to goals for with 211 goals scored in 54 games played this season and are led in scoring by fourth-year forward Cole Pickup. The University of Nebraska-Omaha commit leads the club with 25 goals and 62 points so far this season in 49 games played. Defenseman Jake Stevens leads the team in assists with 42, helped by 11 power play assists and 8 coming while shorthanded.

The offence has been good for the Grizzlies this season but it has also been the play of their goaltenders as both Matthew Galajda and Tony Rehm are having great seasons between the pipes. Galajda sits 4th in the BCHL amongst fellow netminders in wins (24), goals against average (2.36) and he is 3rd in regards of save percentage with a .924. Backup goaltender Tony Rehm has been stellar as well, posting a 10-4-0 record in 15 games played to go along with a 2.16 GAA and a sparkling .933 SV%.

Victoria has been very good when it comes to playing on home ice this season but have had an equal amount of success when playing on the road as well. The “Grizz” are 20-6-1-1 when playing at The Q Centre in Victoria but are a very respectable 16-5-3-2 when playing on the road, picking up points in 21 of 26 road games this season. Scoring first has also been a big part of Victoria’s success this season as they boast a 27-4-3-2 record when scoring the game’s first goal.

The Warriors and Grizzlies drop the puck at 7:00 PM with tickets available for purchase at the Warriors office or by calling Kim at (250) 769-7051. The Warriors conclude their regular season home schedule on Tuesday night as they host their Interior Division rivals in the Penticton Vees at 7:00 PM.

3 Thoughts: Warriors @ Vees Game #54

The West Kelowna Warriors offence couldn’t muster much as they were shutout for the second time this season and dropped a 5-0 score on Friday night to the Penticton Vees at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

BOXSCORE

WARRIORS WEBSITE RECAP

RYLAN FERSTER PRE GAME

FRED HARBINSON PRE GAME

3 THOUGHTS:

1) PLAYING CATCH UP

There’s going to have to be a point this season that the Warriors are going to have to not play catch up against a highly talented and very good defensive team in the Vees. The Warriors got behind the eight ball early tonight with two goals in the game’s first 5:11 and for a team that doesn’t score much against the best defensive team in the BCHL, that spells trouble. It seems in each of the games West Kelowna has played the Vees this year, Penticton has gotten ahead at some point and not surrendered the lead which has given the Warriors now six straight losses against the Vees this season. After a 1st period that the Vees didn’t get much toward net (only four shots on goal in the period but lead 2-0 after 20 minutes), the killer in this game was the third goal the Warriors allowed, while shorthanded, and gave the Vees a field goal of an advantage. The Warriors failed to get the puck into the Vees zone on the power play where Nic Jones spotted Duncan Campbell down the left wing and he walked in a shot the puck past Cole Demers blocker shoulder, ending the 17-year-old’s night. It’s a goal that I’m sure Demers would like to have back as it was a saveable puck that the Warriors really could’ve used to not go in and give themselves a chance but after that marker, it seemed as though the Warriors were a bit deflated as the Vees struck for two more markers in the third period to ice the game away. Mind you, the Warriors did hit a post in the 1st period on a backhand spin around attempt toward goal from Stephen Kleysen in the slot before a pair of 2nd period posts starting with a Tyler Jutting shot from the right point that beat Robson on the glove side but not the post and the second one of the frame that hit the post on the blocker side of Robson by Logan Mostat on the power play. If those had gone in, who knows what could’ve been for the Warriors tonight.

2) A SPIRITED RIVALRY

It’s quite apparent that the Warriors and Vees have a strong dislike for each other as that came to a head yet again on Friday night with the teams combining for a total of 160 penalty minutes and 9 misconducts on the night between the two sides in a spirited affair. The last game the Warriors and Vees played saw five misconducts and resulted in five players being injured for the Warriors and unable to play for an extended period of time. So yes, safe to say these two really get under one another’s skin. The sequence that really saw the blood push past the boiling point was at the 9:33 mark of period number three as things struck a boiling that began with Cavin Tilsley and Mat Robson getting involved. The puck was sent toward goal from the point that deflected off of a stick and popped up into the corner. Braiden Epp was digging for the puck in Robson’s pad as he lost sight of where it was before getting filled in from behind by Jared Nash. Tilsley and Robson got into each other’s face after Tilsley was in the crease of the Vees netminder and giving him a shove in the shoulder. Robson took a blocker arm swing at Tilsley who then grabbed Robson as the two locked horns behind the Vees net, seeing everyone on the ice grab a partner and tangle up. The scene made for a nightmare for a boxscore keeper.

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3) TAKEAWAYS

My takeaways from Friday night’s 5-0 shutout loss for the Warriors to the Penticton Vees at the South Okanagan Events Centre are that the Warriors need to find a way to get ahead and stay ahead against a very good defensive team in the Vees. The Warriors offence couldn’t muster anything together in a game that didn’t see many quality scoring chances but the Warriors also need one of their goaltenders to step up and take the reigns. The Warriors have been flip flopping over the past month of who will play goal and neither one of the Warriors goaltenders has taken the opportunity. Of course it is a team game and the goaltenders aren’t all to blame but confidence is a key part to the team having trust in the goaltender to make a save and right now, the Warriors haven’t been able to find that. West-K is back in action on Saturday when they return home to face-off against the Victoria Grizzlies on the 8th annual Faith Night at RLP.

Warriors, Vees Renew Hostilities in Penticton

west-kelowna-shield-logo vs.  penticton-vees

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.

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Season Series:

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.

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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.

3 Thoughts: Warriors @ Silverbacks Game #53

The West Kelowna Warriors picked up a big road victory on Wednesday night as they gutted out a 4-3 win against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks at the Shaw Centre.

BOXSCORE

WARRIORS WEBSITE RECAP

RYLAN FERSTER PRE GAME

MISKO ANTISIN PRE GAME

JARED MARINO

AUDIO HIGHLIGHTS

Game photos from tonight’s game come courtesy of Chris Fowler of Pure Life Photography with a full photo gallery of tonight’s game HERE and his other work can be found HERE

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3 THOUGHTS:
1) A SPECIAL PERFORMANCE

The Warriors special teams has taken a complete 180 from eight days ago against the Langley Rivermen on home ice as the Warriors have scored a power play goal in each of the last three games as well as killing off 16 of the last 17 penalties against. The Warriors added two power play goals in this game as Logan Mostat and Quin Foreman buried when up a man to give the Warriors a red-hot start when on the man advantage as they converted on their first two tries. The remainder of the game saw the Warriors PP go 0/4 but they did win the special teams battle as their PK held up strong on the night. After receiving the first five PP opportunities of the game, you figured that the tide would turn and it did in a big way as the Silverbacks picked up a pair of abbreviated 5-on-3 power plays, converting on the final one of those on an Elijiah Barriga shot from the top of the left face-off circle to knot the game at two. But the Warriors PK held up well for the remainder of the game as they killed off a big 3rd period penalty en route to their 26th victory of the season, also fueled by a Jonas Gordon third period fight as he dropped the mitts with Salmon Arm forward Ryan Hogg for a good scrap in the game’s final 10 minutes to provide an added spark to what was already a feisty affair against these two Interior Division rivals. The other part of the special performance tonight for the Warriors was the strong play of netminder Gabriel Morency who made 41 saves on 44 shots for his 4th victory as a member of the Warriors and now has won his last two starts. Morency made one save in particular, robbing Barriga on a breakaway with him speeding through the neutral zone and trying to beat Morency to the five hole but shutting him down with a great stop.

2) A PLAYOFF LIKE FEEL (AND POTENTIAL MATCHUP)

The standings in the BCHL’s Interior Division move up and down more than an elevator but as it sits right now, the Warriors and ‘Backs would play each other in the opening round of the BCHL playoffs and man, for a second year in a row, it would be one feisty affair between the two rivals separated by just about an hour and 45 minutes. This game had all the makings of a playoff-like contest with both teams looking for valuable February points while Salmon Arm still has yet to officially clinch a playoff spot with Surrey still in the mix and hanging around with a brief chance of seeing postseason hockey. Any matchup the Warriors get in the opening round of the playoffs will be tough but the ‘Backs have proven tough for the Warriors this season with four victories against WK this season. I’m sure when these two teams met in a week and a bit that the feeling will be very much the same as tonight with a tight affair and a decision between these two clubs not being decided by more than two goals this season as each team knows how one another plays and that results in very good games with the Warriors being the better team on this night and coming away with the deserving victory.

3) TAKEAWAYS

My takeaways from the Warriors 4-3 victory over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Wednesday night at the Shaw Centre are that the Warriors won the special teams battle again, for the third straight game, and picked up a large two points to boost them up to 3rd in the Interior Division standings. Despite points in this game that were a bit sloppy, from both sides it seemed, I thought the Warriors came away with a strong effort and beat a team that has had their number over the course of the season. Plus the return of both Nicholas Rutigliano and Peter Tomaras helped play a big part into the victory, especially from “Tigs” as his presence on the backend was welcomed as he ate up minutes on the Warrior blue line all night long and helped along fellow 20-year-old defensemen in Jonas Gordon for a solid game. Overall, a solid road game executed from the Warriors and a deserving victory to put them in 3rd place heading into the weekend and a big two games against two division leaders starts on Friday night with the team’s final regular season visit to the South Okanagan Events Centre to take on the Penticton Vees for the 6th time this season before facing off against the Victoria Grizzlies on Saturday night at RLP. Puck drop for Friday is slated at 7 PM with pre-game show getting underway at 6:50 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and www.hockeytv.com.

Warriors, ‘Backs Face-Off For First Time In 70 Days

west-kelowna-shield-logo vs. salmon-arm-silverbacks

The West Kelowna Warriors enter the final two weeks of the BCHL regular season as they take on the Salmon Arm Silverbacks for the sixth time this season at the Shaw Centre on Wednesday night.

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WATCH

Season Series:

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

Friday, October 14th @ Shaw Centre (5-4 OT/Silverbacks) (BOXSCORE)
Saturday, October 15th @ Royal LePage Place (6-4 Silverbacks) (BOXSCORE)

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

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

Wednesday, February 15th @ Shaw Centre (7:00 PM)

Saturday, February 25th @ Shaw Centre (7:00 PM)

The Warriors enter Wednesday night’s affair after a loss on Tuesday night against the Langley Rivermen, a victory on Thursday night against the Prince George Spruce Kings and their most recent game, a 3-1 loss to the Vernon Vipers at Kal Tire Place on Saturday night in Vernon. Chase Dubois scored the lone goal for the Warriors in the loss, his 17th of the season and it came courtesy of a power play. Cole Demers got the start in goal and lost his 15th game of the season while making 33 saves on 36 shots against his former club.

The Warriors and Silverbacks haven’t matched up against each other since December 6th, a span of 70 days, with Salmon Arm winning their last meeting by a 4-3 score. Stephen Kleysen opened the scoring before the Warriors surrendered four unanswered goals to the ‘Backs to put them down by a 4-1 score. Braiden Epp and Michael Ryan closed the gap with third period goals but couldn’t get the Warriors back to even. Nik Amundrud made 33 saves on 37 shots in goal on the night for the Warriors.

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The specialty teams for the Warriors over the past pair of games has done the team well, especially in regards of the penalty kill. After going 2/5 on the PK on Tuesday night against Langley, the Warriors have killed off their last 13 penalties and have also scored a shorthanded goal in that time. The power play has seen a bit of success as well with goals in back-to-back games when on the man advantage.

West Kelowna has had their troubles with Salmon Arm over the course of the season posting just one win in five games against their rivals from the Shuswap. The Warriors have scored 17 goals in the five games against the ‘Backs while they have given up 24 goals against with each game being decided by either one or two goals. It could be a potential first round matchup (for a 2nd straight season) as the Warriors sit in 4th place in the Interior Division with 52 points, just two behind the Trail Smoke Eaters with 54 for 3rd place in the division while Salmon Arm holds 6th place with 44 points.

The Warriors have played undermanned for a while, dressing just 17 players on Saturday night (including two goaltenders), but look like a pair of players will make their return to the lineup tonight in Salmon Arm. Captain & defenseman Nicholas Rutigliano as well as forward Peter Tomaras are set to return to the lineup after each player missed nine games with upper-body injuries. Defenseman Scott Allan and forward Jared Marino will continue to be sidelined for the Warriors as well as forward Jon Russell who will not suit up tonight. Affiliate players and forwards Jon Van Der Molan and Tyler Chavez-Leech will draw into the lineup tonight from the Revelstoke Grizzlies of the KIJHL.

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks enter play on Wednesday night with a 19-27-3-3 record and sit in 6th place in the Interior Division with a win and a loss behind them on a past weekend on Vancouver Island. The win came on Saturday night against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs by a 3-0 score before dropping a 5-3 score to the Victoria Grizzlies on Sunday afternoon. Captain Carson Bolduc scored a pair of goals while Jared Turcotte added a single in the losing effort while Nic Tallarico got the start in goal for the ‘Backs as he made 34 saves on 39 shots in his 7th loss of the season.

The Silverbacks were the busiest team during the January 10th trade deadline and saw four players traded from the club including former captain Mitch Skapski and Haydn Hopkins to the Cowichan Valley Capitals, forward Josh Blanchard to the Nanaimo Clippers and defenseman Carter Cochrane to the Trail Smoke Eaters. The ‘Backs got two players in return from the deals they made, both coming over from the Caps in the likes of forwards Ryan Hogg and Trevor Ayre. A total of nine players between the Warriors and Silverbacks are either no longer with the teams or were not present the last time these two teams met up 70 days ago.

The Silverbacks sit 13th in the BCHL with 160 goals for on the season and are led in assists (36) and points (54) by captain and 2nd-year forward Carson Bolduc. The ‘Backs are led in goals by another second year forward in Elijiah Barriga who has 24 in 52 games played this season. Goaltender Nic Tallarico has been a welcomed addition for the Silverbacks as he boasts a .915 SV% in his 19 games played with the club. Tallarico has guarded the blue paint in the majority of the games that he has been with the team for and has played in six straight games to date.

The Warriors and Silverbacks are slated to drop the puck at 7:00 PM tonight with the pre-game show getting underway at 6:50 PM with the voice of the Warriors Trevor Miller with free audio on the Warriors Internet Network or watch live at www.hockeytv.com. The Warriors conclude their four-game stretch away from Royal LePage Place when they head to the South Okanagan Events Centre on Friday night for the final time in the regular season to face-off against the Penticton Vees.