Saturday, 28 February 2015

Playoff Scenarios & Game Preview - Feb 28 vs Surrey

57 games and it all comes down to this final one for the West Kelowna Warriors as they will take on the Surrey Eagles tonight at Royal Lepage Place.

The playoff picture is as clear as it can be around the league with the exception of the last spot in the BCHL Interior, which will be decided tonight when the outcome of the Salmon Arm/Penticton and West Kelowna/Surrey games are known.

In last night's action, the Merritt Centennials exploded for 4 goals in the 2nd period en route to a big 5-1 win over the Silverbacks, thus clinching the 3rd spot and a date with Vernon in the 1st round. Salmon Arm gets another opportunity to "win and get in" tonight vs. Penticton.

Here are the scenarios as they set up from a West Kelowna perspective:

  • A Warriors win combined with Salmon Arm Loss, Overtime Loss, or Tie --> Warriors clinch 4th
  • A Warriors win combined with Salmon Arm Win --> Salmon Arm takes 4th
  • A Warriors overtime loss or tie combined with a Salmon Arm regulation time loss --> Warriors are in.
Ultimately those are the basic scenarios for tonight. Salmon Arm gets into the playoffs with a win regardless of when it happens. They need two points as they have the head to head tie-breakers should both teams have the same number of wins. I know the head-to-head tiebreakers are confusing, but here is how they work.
  • 1st tiebreaker is Wins, each team would have the same number if they both do the same thing tonight
  • 2nd tiebreaker is points accumulated in games between tied teams. This means that although West Kelowna beat Salmon Arm 4 times, and lost 3, that because 2 of the Warriors wins against the Silverbacks were in OT, both teams accumulated 8 points in those games.
  • 3rd tiebreaker is goal differential in games between tied teams, and Salmon Arm has that edged out by 3 goals.
The Silverbacks take on the Vees starting at 6 pm in Penticton tonight, so heading to the 3rd period of our game, we should know what has happened at the SOEC, and what needs to happen in the 3rd. For the Warriors, its all about winning tonight and not worrying about what is happening down the road. The media will be looking at it, the fans will be looking at it, but the players and coaching staff need to focus on the 2 points and go from there.

The one interesting note, and its a long shot but something that has crossed my mind is that if Salmon Arm loses in OT or ties, and the Warriors head to OT, something crazy could happen. If both teams earn only a single point then they'd go to those 2nd and 3rd tiebreakers mentioned above, so the Warriors would have to win it outright even if it is in OT. This means that just like some minor hockey tournaments that feature tiebreakers for playoff spots, the Warriors may need to pull their goalie in overtime to give them the best chance of getting the win they need. Fun times ahead.

Anyways that was long-winded but basically what it comes down to tonight.

Here are the stats:

Surrey Eagles - 9-44-1-3

5th in Mainland Division (21 Pts)

HOME - 8-19-1-1
AWAY - 1-25-0-2

Top Scorer
Darius Davidson  (96)  F
(25 G, 26 A)

GF - 139
GA - 279

PP - 16th - 14.9% (34 for 228)
PK - 14th - 74.6% (185 for 248)

West Kelowna – 28-21-0-8

T-4th in Interior Division (64 Pts)

HOME – 17-9-0-2
ROAD – 11-12-0-6

Top Scorer
Liam Blackburn (96) F
(22 G, 51 A)

GF – 199
GA – 208

PP – 9th - 22.2% (59 for 266)
PK – 3rd - 82.3% (191 for 232)

Head-to-Head Lifetime – West Kelowna is 10-5-1-0 All-time vs Surrey
2013/2014 Head to Head – West Kelowna went 1-2 vs. Surrey
2014/2015 Head to Head - West Kelowna is 0-1 vs. Surrey this season

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Game Preview - Feb 24 vs Trail

The Warriors come home after a big win in Trail on Saturday night and will take on the Smoke Eaters again for the 8th time this season. The season series has been an interesting back and forth between these two hockey clubs, with the Warriors holding a 4-2-0-1 edge.

Saturday's game in Trail saw the Warriors playing without 4 regulars, including leading scorer Liam Blackburn, and 20 year olds Jordan Masters, Andy Desautels, and captain Andrew Johnson. At the time of this preview, their status is unknown for tonight's game, but Saturday's indication was that each were day-to-day with the possibility of playing tonight or Saturday vs Surrey.

Jonathan Desbiens had a pair of goals against the Smoke Eaters on Saturday as him and Brayden Gelsinger found their chemistry once again. Jason Cotton was again a big factor and worked hard to create opportunities.

It was the defensive side of the puck that I noticed the most throughout that hockey game. Shot blocks were 20+, maybe even 30+ as every attempt seemed to have a Warrior getting in the way. With a short bench, Rylan Ferster got the match-ups he needed to get and kept Craig Martin and Jake Lucchini off the scoreboard with a neutral-zone trap. Dallas Calvin left the game in the first period for the Smoke Eaters and did not return. He has only played 5 periods out of 21 against West Kelowna due to a bout with Mono, but put up 4 points in that 8-7 OT win over the Warriors February 13th. There will be a definite focus on that line once again tonight.

Here are the stats.

Trail Smoke Eaters - 18-33-0-5

6th in Interior Division (41 Pts)

HOME - 12-14-0-3
AWAY - 6-19-0-2

Top Scorer
Jake Lucchini  (95)  F
(34 G, 46 A)

GF - 200
GA - 243

PP - 12th - 21.3% (46 for 216)
PK - 11th - 77.3% (170 for 220)

West Kelowna – 27-21-0-8

T-3rd in Interior Division (62 Pts)

HOME – 16-9-0-2
ROAD – 11-12-0-6

Top Scorer
Liam Blackburn (96) F
(22 G, 51 A)

GF – 195
GA – 205

PP – 10th - 22.4% (59 for 264)
PK – 3rd - 82.1% (188 for 229)

Head-to-Head Lifetime – West Kelowna is 42-14-0-6 vs. All-time vs Trail
2013/2014 Head to Head – West Kelowna went 6-1 vs. Trail
2014/2015 Head to Head - West Kelowna is 4-2-0-1 vs. Trail this season

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Game Preview - Feb 21 @ Trail

The West Kelowna Warriors head to Cominco arena tonight to take on the Smoke Eaters in another pivotal game in the playoff race. With the Silverbacks taking on the Vipers tonight as well, part of our broadcast focus will be on that game, but ultimately it's the Warriors who need to take care of business with a win.

This season season has been a bit crazy, and will probably continue to be tonight in Trail, and Tuesday at RLP. The Warriors are 1-2 at Cominco this season, and need to avoid having a losing record there, for the first time since 09/10.

Special Teams will be an ultimate key in this game, West Kelowna saw their power-play move to 7th in the league with a 4-5 effort last night, and the penalty kill go to 3rd. Trail's PP is 11th, and PK is 12th so the Warriors hot power-play needs to take advantage.

In the interesting stat department, the Warriors PK has a 91.8% efficiency in their last 11 games, while their power-play is at a 30.5% rate since the acquisition of Tyler Kunz. One player doesn't make a team, but this player might make a power-play.

I don't have the power-play numbers from January 2nd from the rest of the teams, but that one has to be tough to top.

Puck drop tonight is at 7:30, tune it at or watch on Fast Hockey ($) and cheer your Warriors to victory. Tweet me @WestKVoice and let me know you're listening!

Here are the rest of the stats.

Trail Smoke Eaters - 18-32-0-5

6th in Interior Division (41 Pts)

HOME - 12-13-0-3
AWAY - 6-19-0-2

Top Scorer
Jake Lucchini  (95)  F
(34 G, 46 A)

GF - 198
GA - 239

PP - 11th - 21.7% (46 for 212)
PK - 12th - 76.9% (166 for 216)

West Kelowna – 26-21-0-8

T-3rd in Interior Division (60 Pts)

HOME – 16-9-0-2
ROAD – 10-12-0-6

Top Scorer
Liam Blackburn (96) F
(22 G, 51 A)

GF – 191
GA – 203

PP – 7th - 22.7% (59 for 260)
PK – 3rd - 81.8% (184 for 225)

Head-to-Head Lifetime – West Kelowna is 41-14-0-6 vs. All-time vs Trail
2013/2014 Head to Head – West Kelowna went 6-1 vs. Trail
2014/2015 Head to Head - West Kelowna is 3-2-0-1 vs. Trail this season.

Recap- Warriors vs. Chiefs

The West Kelowna Warriors did what they needed to do, and that was win Friday against Chilliwack. The out of town scoreboard only half went in their favor though, as the Silverbacks won and the Centennials lost, leaving West Kelowna in a 3-way tie for 3rd, but after tie-breakers, out of the playoff picture again.

With the Warriors needing 1 more win than Salmon Arm down the stretch, they didn't get the break they needed as the Silverbacks scored in the final minute against Alberni (10 seconds after the Bulldogs tied it no less) to win 4-3.

The focus during the pre-game though was on the Warriors game itself and nothing else, as while they don't control their own destiny, the Warriors aren't going to make it easy on themselves with any losses.7

Looking at the game from a West Kelowna perspective, they did what they needed to do, but at a cost. This time of year you can't avoid the bumps and bruises, but the Warriors seem to hit every bump and find the largest bruises. Losing Andrew Johnson late in the 1st on what was a very scary sequence where he fell at the goal line going full-speed and seemed to hit his neck/head on the end wall. 

With Johnson down, the Chiefs brought the puck back up ice, but the Chilliwack coaching staff was yelling at the officials to stop play immediately. I have to commend the staff of the Chiefs for their sportsmanship in that moment. It is the 2nd such moment in the last few games, as a Trail player (I believe it was Bryan Basilico) got play stopped immediately last Friday when Kyle Marino was hit with a puck up high. Good on everyone in those situations. Johnson ended up going off the ice on mostly his own power, with Mike Bois by his side, and would not return.

On the same play, while I was watching Johnson after the play stopped, Jordan Masters and Jake Larsen fought along the end glass at the opposite end. I didn't see what started that, but both players were automatically ejected under the BCHL's 1-fight rule.

Now for the scoring.

-Tyler Kunz got the power-play party started at 8:13 of the first as he hammered a one-timer past Aidan Pelino. 
-Luke McColgan would get the Chiefs on the board at 11:25 when he put a rebound past Andy Desautels.

-Chiefs made it 2-1`just 1:22 into the 2nd period when Jordan Kawaguchi got a nice bounce onto his stick to put past Desautels
-The Warriors tied it up at 9:41 thanks to a goal from Jonathan Desbiens in the slot. Rylan Yaremko would make it 3-2 at 15:09 as he tucked in the loose puck after great work from Kyle Marino.
-West Kelowna would make it 4-2 at 18:32 when Brayden Gelsinger raced to steal a puck from Vincent Desharnais, and would slide it through Pelino.

In the final minute of the 2nd period, Tipper Higgins would drive to the Warriors goal and collide with Desautels. Andy Desautels was down for quite some time with Mike Bois checking him out, and essentially would stay in for only 4.5 more seconds, as Scott Patton came in to play the 3rd period. The Warriors bench looked quite empty in that 3rd period, short 2 players and a goaltender for the final 20 minutes.

The Warriors power-play struck twice more in the 3rd as Desbiens got his 2nd of the night from the crease, and Kylar Hope blasted one past Pelino.

The road to the playoffs continues tomorrow in Trail as the Warriors look to snap an 10-game losing streak on the road. Their last win came December 12th in overtime at Cominco when Kristian Blumenschein had the winner. On the out-of-town watch, the Silverbacks host the Vipers. 

Catch the stats preview will be up at 10:30 am.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Game Preview - Feb 20th vs Chilliwack

The West Kelowna Warriors took 3 of 4 points last weekend against Trail and Nanaimo as they continue their hunt towards the Interior Division playoffs.

Tonight’s game sees the Mainland Division leading Chilliwack Chiefs come into town, with a 5-game winning streak and at least a point in 12 of their last 14 games.  They are looking at West Kelowna’s earlier streak this season of 11 straight games with at least a point, as they have points in 9 straight.

These two teams battled on February 7th in Chilliwack, and it was the Chiefs who came away with the OT win. West Kelowna battled back to tie that hockey game up, and just couldn't bury their chances late in the game for the win, and couldn't get to the net in OT either.

Here are the stats for tonight.

Chilliwack - 33-16-1-3

1st in Mainland Division (70 Pts)

HOME - 21-4-0-1
AWAY - 12-12-0-3

Top Scorer
Jordan Kawaguchi (97) F
(23 G, 27 A)

GF - 191
GA - 169

PP - 13th - 20.1% (49 for 244)
PK - 6th - 78.6% (173 for 220)

West Kelowna – 25-21-0-8

5th in Interior Division (58 Pts)

HOME – 15-9-0-2
ROAD – 10-12-0-6

Top Scorer
Liam Blackburn (96) F
(22 G, 48 A)

GF – 185
GA – 201

PP – 11th - 21.6% (55 for 255)
PK – 3rd - 81.4% (179 for 220)

Head-to-Head Lifetime – West Kelowna is 2-6-2-2 All-time vs. Chilliwack
2013/2014 Head to Head – West Kelowna went 0-1-1-0 vs. Chilliwack
2014/2015 Head to Head - Chilliwack defeated West Kelowna 3-2 in OT on February 7th.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Game Preview - Feb 15th vs Nanaimo.

The West Kelowna Warriors continue their push towards a playoff spot in the Interior Division this afternoon with a match-up against the Island leading Nanaimo Clippers.

The Clippers will be coming into Royal Lepage Place with some revenge on their mind, both for the 2 wins the Warriors have over the Clippers this season, and their current 0-2 road trip through the Okanagan Valley.

The Warriors got some help on the out of town scoreboard last night as the Alberni Valley Bulldogs knocked off the Merritt Centennials. The Cents burned one of their games in hand on West Kelowna, as the Warriors still sit 2 points back of both Salmon Arm and Merritt with 5 games to play.

Look for an exciting hockey game this afternoon as the Clippers bring their top record from the Island into town. Nanaimo scores first almost 60% of the time and wins 78% of those games. To say the first goal is crucial is an understatement.

In goal for Nanaimo, fans will either see the #2 ranked GAA goalie in the BCHL in Guillame Decelles who has also played the most games and has the most wins this season.

The other option for the Clippers would be Jonathan Arseneau making his BCHL debut. The 18 year old from Delson, Quebec came to the Clippers from the Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League. In any case, the Warriors will need to generate traffic and get to loose pucks in order to be successful.

Here is the Stats breakdown:
Nanaimo - 36-15-0-3

1st in Island Division (75 Pts)

HOME - 20-5-0-2
AWAY - 16-10-0-1

Top Scorer
Brendan Taylor (95) F
(22 G, 32 A)

GF - 221
GA - 153

PP - 5th - 23.1% (58 for 251)
PK - 10th - 77.4% (199 for 257)

West Kelowna – 24-21-0-8

5th in Interior Division (56 Pts)

HOME – 14-9-0-2
ROAD – 10-12-0-6

Top Scorer
Liam Blackburn (96) F
(21 G, 48 A)

GF – 181
GA – 200

PP – 9th - 21.8% (54 for 248)
PK – 4th - 81.0% (175 for 216)

Head-to-Head Lifetime – West Kelowna is 10-7-1-0 All-time vs. Nanaimo
2013/2014 Head to Head – West Kelowna went 1-1-1 vs. Nanaimo
2014/2015 Head to Head - West Kelowna leads the season series 2-0 (7-6 win at BCHL Showcase, 4-3 win October 24th in Nanaimo)

Saturday, 14 February 2015

February 13th Recap vs Trail

West Kelowna isn't the wild west. Downtown Kelowna has the OK Corral Cabaret Nightclub.

Those are random facts, but tonight was a Wild West Shootout at the OK Corral. Okay, it was at Royal Lepage Place but still you get my drift as the Warriors dropped an 8-7 decision to Trail in a game that had almost everything.

West Kelowna welcomed in the Westbank First Nations and after a great ceremonial prayer to kick off the night, Jason Cotton had the jump in his legs that netted the first one just 18 seconds in. I had said on-air right as the puck dropped that with the noise makers in the stands already going crazy, it would be like a playoff game, and it was right from that goal on when it comes to crowd interaction and noise.

The Warriors hit a crossbar and a post in that opening frame as well, but were rewarded with a Tyler Kunz goal late in the period to make it 2-0 while out shooting Trail 14-7. Great start right? Sure was.

How to defend a 2-goal lead may be my first book title. It will not start with tonight's game, nor will you include what happened tonight in any of the chapters. Trail would score at 4:00, 6:34, 7:17, and 9:32 to take a 4-2 lead. Four goals, in 5:32 seconds on just 7 shots. Craig Martin scored a nice one on a breakaway, and a couple shots to the blocker side of Scott Patton showed a bit of rust on his part (he hasn't played since December 19th.)

The Warriors did finally seem to recover, and killed off 2 penalties in a row. One of the nicest goals of the night came late in that 2nd when Rylan Yaremko walked in on the right side and went under the crossbar to make it 4-3 with 1:27 left in the period. Yaremko saw a rare forward shift and was able to get his team back in the game. Whether that was a message to the forward group to wake up, or just a fill-in spot, it worked out.

The 3rd....was crazy. That's all I can use to describe the 3rd period of this one. Trail scores just 12 seconds in before anyone really knew the puck had dropped. The Warriors fought valiantly to tie the game and were rewarded on a weird goal from Brett Mennear. A minute before that, Kylar Hope snapped home the 5-4 goal. Mennear sent a pass out front from the corner, and with Brett Clark pre-occupied trying to hit Josh Bly and move him, the puck hits Clark and goes in, tying it up.

Trail finally got their power-play working and Ryan Swanson beat the screens and the goalie to make it 6-5. Andrew Johnson executed a nice 3 on 2 with 4:53 remaining as he finished a nice pass from Tanner Campbell. 6-6. Then 55 seconds after Warriors fans could feel the comeback being completed, Harlan Orr gets one from behind the net that bounced around and finally hit Patton and went in. 7-6 Trail.

Rylan Ferster calls his timeout with 1:17 to go, Brent Gough draws up the play, and as Kristian Blumenschein has a shot blocked it goes right to Cotton. Hammer-time. Goal. 7-7.

7 goals scored in that 3rd period on 27 shots. Cue OT.

The Warriors wouldn't get a shot in OT as 39 seconds in Dallas Calvin on the right side would beat Patton to win it 8-7. The line of Calvin, Craig Martin, and Jake Lucchini combines for 5 goals and 8 assists. The Warriors will need to figure out how to stop that or the minimal playoff hopes will be down to zero.

Speaking of playoffs, with Salmon Arm losing and Merritt winning tonight the Warriors sit 2 points back of both teams. This means that West Kelowna needs to get 3 more points than either Salmon Arm or Merritt to make the final 4 in the Interior. Salmon Arm has 5 games, Merritt has 7. None of the 3 teams are even close to guaranteed to make the playoffs yet, but Sunday's game against Nanaimo could be close to a must-win.

The Silverbacks and the Centennials have a magic number: 4. Four wins will get them a playoff spot even if the Wrriors go 5-0. It's a simple thing really, Warriors need to win, and they need both those teams to lose. Merritt plays Alberni Valley Saturday, and Cowichan Valley Sunday. Salmon Arm is off until next Friday. The scoreboard watching will continue.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Feb 13 Preview vs. Trail + Playoff Scenarios

Here we are just 6 games left in the 2014/2015 season and what a roller coaster it has been for the West Kelowna Warriors. They have used 8 total goaltenders without making a trade, have seen 6 of them get their 1st BCHL wins, and 3 of them pick up their 1st BCHL shutouts.

That is just the tip of the iceberg for this Warriors team. In November, they were red hot, picking up at least a single point in 11 straight games (7-0-0-4). The road was the place to be for this Warriors team, as right from the BCHL Showcase and the 2-0 record, they would continue to be hot on the road, going 9-4-0-4 up until December 12th.

That date is one that will be talked about regardless of how the last 3 weeks play out. Since December 12th, West Kelowna is 0-8-0-2 away from Royal Lepage Place, and 8-3 at home. Considering they were 5-6-0-1 before December 12th, it's a big switch. Lucky for the Warriors 5 of their last 6 games are on home ice.

The scenarios for playoffs are quite simple. With the Warriors in 5th place, they trail Salmon Arm by 3 points, and the Merritt Centennials by 1 point. In order for the Warriors to make the playoffs, here is what needs to happen:

  • West Kelowna needs 4 more points than Salmon Arm. They each play 6 games, none head to head.
  • West Kelowna needs 2 more points than Merritt. Cents have 8 games remaining, none head to head.
  • Merritt and Salmon Arm play once more on February 27th at the Shaw Center. Who knows which team the Warriors will be cheering for at that point, but they won't be cheering for an overtime game.
Okay now we'll get to tonight's game against Trail. The Smoke Eaters have posed some problems for West Kelowna as the Warriors have gone only 3-2 against the 6th place team in the Interior. All 5 of those games happened in a 32-day span from November 28th - December 30th. Call that a crazy schedule playing the same team on average every 6.4 days, but West Kelowna and Trail will meet twice more after tonight before the end of the regular season. The 3 games will happen over 11 days, or every 3.67 days if you're keeping score at home. Odd.

Here are the stats heading into tonight.

Trail Smoke Eaters - 17-29-0-5

6th in Interior Division (39 Pts)

HOME - 12-11-0-3
AWAY - 5-18-0-2

Top Scorer
Jake Lucchini  (95)  F
(29 G, 39 A)

GF - 182
GA - 210

PP - 8th - 22.3% (43 for 193)
PK - 8th - 78.1% (153 for 196)

West Kelowna – 24-21-0-7

5th in Interior Division (55 Pts)

HOME – 14-9-0-1
ROAD – 10-12-0-6

Top Scorer
Liam Blackburn (96) F
(21 G, 47 A)

GF – 174
GA – 192

PP – 9th - 22.0% (54 for 245)
PK – 4th - 81.0% (170 for 210)

Head-to-Head Lifetime – West Kelowna is 41-14-0-5 vs. All-time vs Trail
2013/2014 Head to Head – West Kelowna went 6-1 vs. Trail
2014/2015 Head to Head - West Kelowna leads the season series by a 3-2 margin. 

Saturday, 7 February 2015

February 7th Recap @ Chilliwack

The Warriors final trip over the Coquihalla ended in an overtime defeat as Jake Larson scored the game winner at 3:32 of the 4 on 4 session.

The game remained scoreless into the final minute of the first period before Chilliwack got on the board with 35.8 seconds remaining after snapping one over the shoulder of Stephen Heslop.

Chilliwack opened up a 2-0 lead on a rebound goal before the Warriors got a power-play marker from Rylan Yaremko. Jason Cotton fired the puck from the top of the circle and by the replays it looked to hit Yaremko's stick and went past Aiden Pelino.

The Warriors tied up the game in the 3rd on a goal from Captain Andrew Johnson who put a wrist shot past Pelino after a sweet feed from Josh Bly.

The Warriors would have a couple quality chances to take the lead in the last ten minutes. Liam Blackburn was stopped in tight and then poked it through the crease but nobody could get it over the line. Jonathan Desbiens had a shot bounce 6 inches in front of the goal line as well.

In overtime, Chilliwack would have a glorious opportunity to end it, as Jake Hand got a rebound and deked around Stephen Heslop but it would be Heslop with the save of the season as he flashed the glove hand and snagged the Hand shot.

Off the ensuing face off though, the Warriors tried to clear the zone and start a rush but as the puck was turned over in the neutral zone, Larson got the puck on the right wing and placed the perfect shot over Heslops shoulder to end it.

With the results of tonights scoreboards and action around the Interior, the Warriors hold a 1-point edge over Salmon Arm, who play the Surrey Eagles on Sunday afternoon. By Wednesday, the two games in hand will have been played, and the Warriors will see how the standings look then.

I'll have a playoff scenario breakdown here on the blog Thursday.

Feb 7th- GAME PREVIEW - WK @ Chilliack

The West Kelowna Warriors head over the Coquihalla for the final time this season for a Saturday night game against the Chiefs.

West Kelowna is coming off a loss to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, while the Chiefs dropped an OT decision to the Penticton Vees on Friday.

Injury and Illness still the story for the Warriors, as it is unknown heading into tonight's game whether Andy Desautels or Brayden Gelsinger will return to the line-up. Jordan Masters is not expected to play.

The Prospera Center is a tricky arena for the Warriors. The beautiful facility that houses the Chiefs is the home of the BCHL Showcase each season, where the Warriors have a 4-2 record over the last 3 seasons.

Games against the Chiefs in this building however, have not been kind to the Warriors as they have an 0-3-2-0 record since Chilliwack returned to the BCHL in 2011-2012.

Add in the fact that the Chiefs are 17-4-0-1 at home this season in front of an average crowd of 2564 (1st in the BCHL) and it's an even bigger test for the Warriors tonight.

Stats Pack:
Chilliwack Chiefs - 28-16-1-3

1st in Mainland Division (60 Pts)

HOME - 17-4-0-1
AWAY - 11-12-1-2

Top Scorer
Craig Puffer  (95)  F
(24 G, 22 A)

GF - 167
GA - 156

PP - 14th - 18.6% (41 for 220)
PK - 7th - 78.8% (160 for 203)

West Kelowna – 24-21-0-6

4th in Interior Division (54 Pts)

HOME – 14-9-0-1
ROAD – 10-12-0-5

Top Scorer
Liam Blackburn (96) F
(21 G, 47 A)

GF – 172
GA – 189

PP – 10th - 22.2% (54 for 243)
PK – 4th - 80.7% (167 for 207)

Head-to-Head Lifetime – West Kelowna is 2-6-2-1 vs. All-time vs Chilliwack
2013/2014 Head to Head – West Kelowna went 0-1-1-0 vs. Chilliwack

February 6th- Game Recap

The Warriors needed the win tonight in the worst way. I detailed the implications of a regulation loss in the preview for tonight's match-up, and will not fully analyze what it means until next Thursday when there is a better understanding.

Both the Warriors and the Silverbacks will have played 52 games after Wednesday night's action, and the Interior division should have a better understanding of what the final 6 games will hold, or what teams will have to do in those 6 games.

Tonight's game featured some great opportunities early on for the Warriors as Kylar Hope had a break-away attempt stopped by Angus Redmond. Hope walked in and went to wire a slap-shot but Redmond got the arm on it.

Later in the frame the Warriors hit a pair of crossbars as well, but it remained scoreless.

I thought that the Warriors took a couple of bad penalties in the middle frame after Salmon Arm made it 2-0. They looked to me to be non-focused and frustrated penalties after giving up the goals, with a too many men call and a roughing call well after the whistle.

As for the goals, the 1st one comes on a 6 on 5 and a delayed penalty and after Stephen Heslop makes the stop, its tucked over the line. Heslop wasn't deemed to have had any possession to get the play blown dead, which could have ended the opportunity.

The 2nd goal was one that I'm sure the Warriors would like to have back. They struggled to get the puck out of their own zone, and then when they did, they couldn't get it deep enough for a change, so the same unit got stuck. Run around in your own zone a little longer, and Ross Heidt has all day to score.

The 3rd period saw the Warriors play more desperately, and if it wasn't for a beautiful tip by Taro Hirose, I thought they had a good chance of tying this one up. Hirose deflected a Chase Priskie shot from the point at about the top of the circle, and had it bounce down off the ice and over the pad of Stephen Heslop. Very tough save for the West Kelowna goaltender.

The Warriors got a power-play marker in the 3rd to make it 3-1 when Nick Rutigliano tee'd one up from the point. You can't see who it hit in front, but by the reaction of the Warriors it is most definitely Rutigliano's 1st goal in the BCHL. The boxscore online doesn't say so, but everyone else believes it, as Jonathan Desbiens (who got credited with it) was the first to grab the puck for the kid known as "Tigs"

There was a little bit of rough stuff late after a Silverbacks empty netter but nothing crazy or of concern. Warriors will be back on the bus tomorrow to Chilliwack to take on the Chiefs. Look for a game preview by Noon.

Friday, 6 February 2015

February 6th GAME PREVIEW - Warriors @ Silverbacks

The West Kelowna Warriors and Salmon Arm Silverbacks will meet for the 7th time this season, with the Warriors leading the season series by a 4-2 margin.

Last weekend the Warriors split with Merritt then got a big Tuesday win against the Vernon Vipers for a mini two game streak.

The Silverbacks got lights out goaltending from Angus Redmond in back-to-back shutouts of the Vipers. Salmon Arm has only allowed 1 goal in their last 3 games (Penticton beat them 1-0 on January 28th.)

There is no need to say anything to the players or coaches in this game about its playoff implications, as everyone is well aware of the scenario in both locker rooms. For those of you who may not be aware of it, let's take a look.

The Warriors sit 4 points ahead of the Silverbacks with 8 games left on West Kelowna's schedule. The Silverbacks have 2 games in hand on the Warriors, and will play those games in hand on Sunday against Surrey, and Wednesday when they head to Trail. Ultimately, all things will be considered equal after Wednesday night.

There are 5 different scenarios as to how it could all end up after tonight's game, so I'll try to keep it as simple as possible.

  • West Kelowna could be anywhere from 2-6 points up on the Silverbacks after the action tonight.
  • Currently, West Kelowna has the season series edge, however the BCHL tie-breaker (should the teams be tied in points AND in wins after the season) is "points accumulated in games between tied teams" and then "goal differential in games between tied teams"
  • Should the Warriors win tonight, or go to OT, forget about the tie-breakers because West Kelowna would have more season series points so they'd have the edge. If there is a loss in regulation, this is how I have it figured out:
    • West Kelowna would have accumulated 8 points in 7 games vs. SA (4 wins)
    • Salmon Arm would have accumulated 8 points in 7 games vs. WK (3 wins + 2 OTL)
  • Therefore each team would have the same number of points, thus pushing it to goal differential in games between these two teams.
    • West Kelowna: 19 Goals For, 19 Goals Against (0 differential before tonight)
    • Salmon Arm: 19 Goals For, 19 Goals Against (0 differential before tonight)
    • Salmon Arm needs to win tonight in regulation and then they would have the tie-breakers.
  • It's a complicated scenario based on a lot of "maybe's" but we'll have more on this after tonight's result.
  • Remember Warriors fans, if there is a tie in points, it goes by WINS first, and right now West Kelowna has 3 more than the Silverbacks. The muddy picture will be murky after tonight, and somewhat transparent Thursday morning. Stay tuned.
Tonight's Stats:

Salmon Arm Silverbacks - 21-19-3-5

5th in Interior Division (50 Pts)

HOME - 12-8-2-2
AWAY - 9-11-1-3

Top Scorer
Andrew Farny  (95) D
(14 G, 32 A)

GF - 152
GA - 148

PP - 11th - 21.2% (36 for 170)
PK - 9th - 77.7% (146 for 188)

West Kelowna – 24-20-0-6

T-3rd in Interior Division (54 Pts)

HOME – 14-9-0-1
ROAD – 10-11-0-5

Top Scorer
Liam Blackburn (96) F
(21 G, 47 A)

GF – 171
GA – 185

PP – 9th - 22.2% (53 for 239)
PK – 4th - 80.4% (164 for 204)

Head-to-Head Lifetime – West Kelowna is 30-19-1-8 All-time vs. Salmon Arm
2013/2014 Head to Head – West Kelowna went 6-1 vs. Salmon Arm
2014/2015 Head to Head - West Kelowna is 4-2 against Salmon Arm

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Vipers @ Warriors - February 3rd Game Recap

West Kelowna had a pair of 3rd period goals in a great hockey game at Royal Lepage Place. The Warriors still lose the Season Series to the Vernon Vipers by a 4-3 total but must be pleased with the result tonight as the playoff picture looms larger on their minds every given night.

Here is what I saw tonight:

  • Power-play - The Warriors were given 7 power-play opportunities and only capitalized once, on a 5 on 3 in the 3rd when they opened the scoring. It was West Kelowna's 3rd two-man advantage of the night and about time they capitalized. Rylan Ferster called his time-out and had almost a minute with the unit as referees explained the penalty (Goalie Interference to Colten McCarthy after hitting Stephen Heslop when he played the puck). Liam Blackburn had the goal after good puck movement
  • Penalty Kill - The Warriors PK Units received a boost with Brett Mennear back in the line-up but West Kelowna has been doing a solid job down a man in recent games. They have killed off 24 of the last 27 penalties, including 4 perfect nights including all 3 of the recent 3-game road trip.
  • Stephen Heslop - The AP goaltender made his 2nd start for the Warriors after Andy Desautels was scratched with the flu. He didn't need to be overly spectacular but dealt with some traffic and made 34 saves for his first BCHL win and shutout. This also marked the 5th time this season that a Warriors goaltender has recorded his 1st BCHL win, which has to be some kind of league record I'm sure. (Scott Patton, Michael Lenko, Brett Huber, Jordan Reynolds, and Heslop)  It was also the 2nd time that a Warriors AP has gotten his 1st BCHL win in shutout fashion (Reynolds and Heslop)
  • The Flu - Getting to the rink tonight and hearing that the Warriors would be without Desautels, Jordan Masters, and Kristian Blumenschein was a bit of a cause for concern, plus the fact it wasn't known if guys like Liam Blackburn were going to play either as a bug hit the team. The 16 skaters that did play did so admirably, as it wasn't even noticeable that West Kelowna only had 5 defensemen on the back-end. Kyle Marino filled in up front and saw some good minutes as he added size to that forward group for the 5th game in a row.
With the playoff picture still murky, the Warriors head to Salmon Arm to take on the Silverbacks Friday at the Shaw Center. Catch the action by making the drive, or tune in on Fast Hockey, at 95.1 FM WDCR, or online at

Let me know what you think of tonight's recap and what else you thought on tonight's hockey game in the comments section below.
-Kyle Anderson

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

February 3rd vs. Vernon

The West Kelowna Warriors begin January with a 2 point cushion on the 5th place Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Cushion probably isn't the right word either, as that's not a very big gap with 9 games remaining plus the 'Backs have a game in hand (and 2 games after tonight.)

This evening's game at Royal Lepage Place is the 7th game against the Vernon Vipers this season, with the Vipers winning 4 (Sept 26th @ RLP, Oct 18th @ RLP, Dec 10th @ KTP, Jan 16th @ KTP) and West Kelowna winning 2 (Sept 27th @ KTP, Nov 21st @ RLP in OT).

The Warriors will look to win on home ice for the 6th time since Christmas (5-2).

Vernon is currently comfortable in 2nd place, 11 points ahead of 3rd and 13 points behind the Penticton Vees, who have all but wrapped up 1st place, unless the Vipers go undefeated and Penticton goes 3-6-0-1 over the remaining games.

Here is the statistical breakdown

Vernon Vipers - 30-14-1-2

2nd in Interior Division (63 Pts)

HOME - 18-6-1-1
AWAY - 12-8-0-2

Top Scorer
Liam Coughlin (94) F
(19 G, 37 A)

GF - 177
GA - 132

PP - 12th - 20.2% (38 for 188)
PK - 3rd - 80.6% (162 for 201)

West Kelowna – 23-20-0-6

T-3rd in Interior Division (52 Pts)

HOME – 13-9-0-1
ROAD – 10-11-0-5

Top Scorer
Liam Blackburn (96) F
(20 G, 45 A)

GF – 169
GA – 185

PP – 9th - 22.5% (52 for 231)
PK – 5th - 79.9% (159 for 199)

Head-to-Head Lifetime – West Kelowna is 27-24-2-6 All-time vs. Vernon
2013/2014 Head to Head – West Kelowna went 2-3-1-1 vs. Vernon 
2014/2015 Head to Head - West Kelowna is 2-4 against Vernon this season