West Kelowna looked to set the tone early with some heavy contact by Kyle Marino, and also big hits by Hunter Zandee, Josh Bly, and Rylan Yaremko. Tyler Kunz would also throw his weight around during the opening five minutes.
An evenly matched game throughout saw the first period end tied at 2. The Vees opened up the scoring with a goal from Tyson Jost on a slick backhand play, as he was given a breakaway from the blueline in. The Warriors responded with a goal from Josh Bly off a faceoff play, deking out Hunter Miska. That goal was in quick response just 2:19 after the Vees opened the scoring.
West Kelowna would take the 2-1 lead when Brayden Gelsinger worked out of the corner and backhanded one towards the net which directed into the Penticton goal. Then in the final minute of the period, Demico Hannoun would put a rebound past Scott Patton to tie it up again.
Tyler Kunz would drive the net after the goal with Jonathan Desbiens and after colliding with the defender knocked Miska down and the net off. That brought in Patrick Sexton who grabbed Kunz, with the two wrestling as the linesmen intervened. Kunz would receive two for slashing and two for unsportsmanlike conduct while Sexton took two for roughing after the whistle. The Vees would not score on the advantage that spanned across the intermission.
The lone goal of the 2nd period would belong to the Vees when Lewis Zerter-Gossage slammed a rebound home and made it 3-2. There wasn't much happening overall in the period, with the majority of shots coming from the outside. Patton did make a pair of nice glove saves in the frame to keep it tied before the Zerter-Gossage goal.
The Warriors would tie the game up at 6:07 of the 3rd period when his seeing eye shot eluded Miska from the point. Both teams looked like they wanted to go to overtime from then on as nobody had any glorious chances.
In the first overtime Hannoun would get a pair of breakaways in the first 10 minutes, but both times Patton was there to bail his teammates out. Kunz would take another penalty in this overtime as he drove to the net yet again, trying to stuff the puck past Miska, but would get called for goaltender interference. The Warriors killed off the minor thanks to two great blocks by Mac Ferner, and tireless work from Brett Mennear and Andrew Johnson. Late in the OT period there would be a scramble in front of Patton, but the Warriors would sink down and clear the rebounds before it could go into the goal.
The 2nd overtime would see the Warriors come out flying, peppering Miska and getting rewarded with a power-play when Hannoun went knee on knee with Jason Cotton. It would be Cotton who would play hero after that, as Kyle Marino's shot was picked up by Cotton, and he buried the winner at 5:39.
- Both teams looked to feel each other out in the opening 10 minutes of the game, but after both of them scored, it settled everybody in. The Vees out-shot the Warriors in every period but West Kelowna stuck with the Vees throughout the game.
- Scott Patton was real good in this hockey game, making 52 saves including 4 or 5 HUGE saves. He made a pair of big glove saves in the 2nd and 3rd periods, then the two breakaway saves off of Hannoun in the first OT were obviously big.
- Special Teams always seems to be a key in the playoffs, and the Warriors off to a good start after game one. Their power-play goes 1-1 on the night, and the penalty kill goes 2-2. Continue on that path (including not taking penalties) and the Warriors will be in a good position for success.
Game 2 Preview:
Rylan Ferster talked before the game on Tuesday about not getting too high or too low throughout the series. If you win, you have to get back to the regular level and play the next night. If you were unfortunate to lose, you need to forget it and get back at it the following night. Expect the Vees to come out with a little more jump in their step early on as they try to set the tone in Game 2.
West Kelowna played 3 lines throughout the overtime periods last night, and while the Vees played 4, the top unit of Tyson Jost, Patrick Newell, and Demico Hannoun saw the majority of ice time. Jack Ramsey was also a factor in last nights game using his big body to create space.
The Warriors must continue to get traffic in front of Hunter Miska and not allow him to get to the top of his crease. Creating rebounds will also be a key in tonight's game, and although Miska struggled grabbing a couple pucks early in the game, his rebound control was overall pretty good. He had a sub 2.00 GAA during the regular season and I expect he will not be pleased with the loss and will step up his game tonight.
I thought that the Warriors did the little things right last night and will need to continue that in order to be successful. I don't have the scoring chances yet from last nights game from the Warriors staff, but I didn't think the Warriors were badly out-chanced. The shots were 55-38 Penticton, but it still seemed very even throughout.
Game 2 should be as fun as Game 1, and I hope the fans come out as they missed a good one last night. Come down to the SOEC and watch, or listen live at www.wdcr.ca.