Saturday, 21 February 2015

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.

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