West Kelowna had Liam Blackburn make his pre-season debut, while Jared Marino and Tanner Campbell were the scratches.
The 1st period of the hockey game was innocent enough, as the Warriors opened the scoring early in the period on a beautiful rush goal from Kristian Blumenschein. It was a perfect pass on a 3 on 2 from Brett Mennear that allowed Blumenschein the opportunity, and he snapped a beautiful shot past Zach Dyment.
The Silverbacks tied the game up just after that on the power-play, which was the key to the Salmon Arm attack on the night, as all of their goals came with the extra skater.
West Kelowna jumped back out ahead 2-1 when Garrett Forster snapped one over the shoulder and upstairs on Dyment. Shots were basically even, 11-10 for the 'Backs as Forbes Ploszaj played well in the opening frame.
Ploszaj was good the remainder of the night, but that 2nd period was probably the best. Salmon Arm out-shot the Warriors 22-10 on the scoreboard in the middle 20, although those numbers were maybe inflated a little bit on scrambles. The key story line of that period however, was the fact that West Kelowna got a pair of goals from Kylar Hope, a power-play goals from Jonathan Desbiens and Rylan Yaremko. 4 goals on 10 shots in the period, as Dyment's night game to an end allowing 6 goals on 20 shots.
West Kelowna poured it on in the 3rd, as Paul Lovsin had a hat-trick, almost a natural one but Desbiens scored in the middle of that to break it up against Daniel Toews in the Salmon Arm net. The Silverbacks added one late to make it 10-3.
Special Teams was another key tonight, with the Silverbacks 3 for 7, and the Warriors 3 for 8 on the night. The staff was joking following the game that they may need to work on the PP now, as it's fallen to a paltry 48% in the pre-season. 12 goals on the man advantage for this club in 5 games, and 13 at even strength are the numbers.
Points wise on the night you look at the goal summary and see a lot of Junior A veterans numbers listed. 2 for Desbiens and Hope, 3 for Lovsin and there's 7 of the 10 on the night. Goals by Blumenschein, Yaremko, and Forster add to that, making it 10 for 10 by veteran players.
The Game featured 3 fights tonight, including 2 rookies for the Warriors standing up and chucking them. Reed Gunville fought Josh Laframboise in the 2nd period at center ice, it seems to settle an old Saskatchewan Midget League score, as the Beardy Blackhawks (Gunville) and Battlefords Stars (Laframboise) traded a couple solid punches.
The 2nd fight was a carry over from a 1st period incident involving Kyle Uy. After a hit on the side wall, both Uy and the Silverbacks Brett Stewart got tied up with gloves being dropped, and Yaremko jumping in as well. All would receive roughing/unsportsmanlike penalties, but you could tell Uy wasn't done.
In the 2nd after the Gunville fight, Uy challenged Stewart at the blueline and dropped his mitts, as did Stewart and after a couple punches the fight ended with the linesman jumping in. Although it didn't end, as both tried to get some punches around the linesman, with Stewart slamming Uy's lost helmet to the ice after a couple extra shots. Stewart would pick up an aggressor on the fight, and Uy would be dinged with the instigator.
The final fight of the game/period was Kyle Marino's 2nd of the pre-season. After Marcus Mitchell took a run at Kylar Hope, Marino stuck up for his teammate by getting his gloves off and landing 3 or 4 solid shots to the face of Mitchell. Both would be tossed, and after the intermission (fight came at 20:00), the refs agreed that there was a Charging call to be made on Mitchell as well. That's where Lovsin's 1st goal came from, the early PP in the 3rd.
- I thought West Kelowna was the better of the two hockey teams tonight and the score somewhat backs that up, but its the little things as well. The Warriors were physical throughout the hockey game, while the Silverbacks dished it back, they did look tentative at times.
- Forbes Ploszaj was solid. He made a couple great saves in tight on good hands guys like Taro Hirose in the 3rd, and a couple other big pad stops in the middle frame. 40 save night for him, and ultimately I don't think you can blame him for any of the goals. Salmon Arm scored a tic-tac-toe goal, a "bounce it off my stick in front" goal, and a goal off the shin pad of Lovsin. So no, not Forbes fault, he was good.
- Special Teams again was good, although the penalty kill allows 3. I felt tonight that the power-play just had their way with the Silverbacks at times, although Rylan Ferster rolled 3 lines through PP minutes and a couple of the chances struggled.
- This team can hit, fight (don't get too used to it), and score goals. The one thing that was said tonight that I agreed with even though I haven't spent too much time around them yet, is this team is meshing already. I had the opportunity to work for the Kelowna Falcons this summer, and that was the biggest key to their best season yet, was the way everybody had each others backs. You're in a battle fighting for ice time and for some kids, a job on this team this year, and yet they're fully supportive of each other. It will be interesting to watch this chemistry unfold, and if it stays in a positive trend, this team is going to be fun to follow.
The Warriors and the Silverbacks play their final exhibition game Saturday night at Royal Lepage Place. Tickets are just $5 at the door. You can also watch live at FastHockey just visit www.bchl.fasthockey.com and sign up, or you can tune into the audio-only broadcast on WIN, at www,mixlr.com/bchlwarriors. Final tune-up before things start for real September 11th at home to Merritt.