Monday, 5 October 2015

Warriors 4 - Wenatchee 2

The West Kelowna Warriors got a big 4-2 victory over the previously unbeaten Wenatchee Wild on Saturday night at RLP.

Kyle Marino opened the scoring late in a physical first period, as the hits were flying between the two teams.

Wenatchee got a pair of power-play goals in the second period, as they had the man advantage for 7:41 of the middle frame from 6 Warriors penalties. Included in those minors were a Bench Minor for unsportsmanlike conduct after Kylar Hope took a pair of high sticks, a roughing after the whistle call in which Reed Gunville tried to protect himself from a glove working its way underneath his full cage, and a too many men penalty after miscommunication after a penalty kill.

The Warriors regrouped in the dressing room between periods and after a failed power play, were able to tie the game. Kylar Hope made an excellent move on a defenseman and snapped one blocker side on Garrett Nieto. Just 19 seconds later, Jonathan Desbiens pass to Garrett Forster was in the back of the net before Nieto got halfway across and gave the Warriors the lead.

West Kelowna killed off a Tanner Campbell Penalty, then with Bryan Nelson in the penalty box, Liam Blackburn got a short-handed breakaway goal as he beat Nieto up high.

The Wild had no answer for the Warriors defense in the 3rd period, registering just 1 shot, and that came with 0.6 seconds remaining.

Thoughts and Stats:

  • West Kelowna earned this victory. Killing off 9 of 11 penalties in the game, the Warriors kept sticking with it, getting a couple key saves from newly added Stephen Heslop, in a game where they only gave up 5 scoring chances. 2 of those chances were at even strength. Lock. Down. Defense.
  • One night after they were able to carry the puck into the zone 42 times (my count in Salmon Arm), the Wild were forced to dump it in a little more as the Warriors continuously held the line. The Wild weren't able to generate the high flying neutral zone play that they had against the 'Backs, and at times looked to struggle in adapting to what the Warriors threw at them.
  • The Warriors allowed just 18 shots in the game, (15 by coaches count) and while they only generated 25 themselves, the defensive effort is the most impressive.
  • Face-offs were a concern heading into the game, after a 42% performance in Merritt. The centre's responded, going 60% in the circle, with a big night from Brett Mennear as he won 14 of 18 draws.
  • West Kelowna delivered 28 hits in the hockey game, while blocking 8 shots. They had 13 scoring chances.
A big week ahead for West Kelowna, as they will take on the Coquitlam Express on Tuesday night at RLP, visit the Penticton Vees Friday (#5 in CJHL Rankings) and host the Powell River Kings Saturday (#20 in CJHL Rankings). A busy month of October has begun.

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