The Warriors had a perfect start, as Liam Blackburn and Quin Foreman assisted on Tanner Campbell's 1st goal of the season just 18 seconds into the game.
West Kelowna was good for the majority of the first period, leading heavily on the shot clock, but the Centennials would capitalize on a turnover at the Warrior line as Tyler Ward snapped one home on Keelan Williams glove side.
While the game was tied after 1, the Warriors and their fans were comfortable with the game at that point, as the 2nd period has been the Warriors best all season long. It wasn't on Friday. Merritt scored twice in the final 10 minutes, and controlled the play for a good chunk of time in the period.
First it was Mark O'Shaughnessy who beat the Warriors back check and put a drop pass from Gavin Gould in the back of the net. Then, Gould finished a 2 on 1 on the power play to make it 3-1.
The 4th goal for the Cents came in the 3rd, when Colin Grannary pushed one over the line after Merritt jammed the net and the Warriors failed to get the puck covered by Williams in the referee's judgement. It was tough to tell where the puck was and if the whistle should have been blown.
West Kelowna did have 18 shots in the period, but Cole Kehler was solid in the Merritt goal and took the 2nd star honours, while Gould was Star #1.
- Just one week after the Warriors played in a pair of games that averaged 12.5 power plays. Last night, the Warriors had 2 advantages, while the Centennials had 3. While you like to see the refs letting the teams play, there were a few situations in the 2nd where you'd like to see a call. Not saying much more here, but watching the video there's definitely questions.
- Can't fault Keelan Williams again, as Rylan Ferster said post game "he didn't let in a bad goal, we broke down all over the place." Warriors goaltender coach Chad Carder echoed that statement in a brief conversation with me after the game. There's just not much Williams hasn't done in 3 games so far with West Kelowna.
- Kyle Marino was a wrecking ball in the first 5 minutes of the game, but didn't seem to factor in overall down the stretch. The physical play kind of calmed down as the game wore on, but ramped up in the 3rd with a pair of fights with Tyler Anderson and Marino tangling for the Warriors. Kylar Hope took a 10-minute misconduct on the same play as Marino's fight, as he was in a wrestling match with Zak Bowles.
The Warriors will take on the Nanaimo Clippers on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 at Royal Lepage Place.