Some games take a couple days to digest and break down. While the Warriors got a pair of victories this weekend, it wasn't without a little adversity and gutsy efforts from everyone up and down the lineup.
After Friday's win, the Warriors expected another tough, physical test from the Silverbacks and the game did not disappoint. It was fitting that on Halloween night, blood was shed in multiple situations that lead to a feisty 1st period with 35 penalty minutes and 3 game misconducts.
After some great scoring chances early on, the Warriors were stymied repeatedly by Angus Redmond, who looked on his game one night after allowing 5.
In the final minute of the 1st (which took 10+ minutes to play) Marcus Mitchell caught Rylan Yaremko with a hard check behind the net. Watching the video today, Yaremko actually never touched the puck, so it was interference at the minimum, but no call on the initial contact.
Kyle Marino, as any captain should, stepped up and challenged Mitchell to fight along the end wall. After Mitchell got the first two punches in, Marino would win the fight by dropping Mitchell with right hands in behind the Warrior goal.
After a lengthy discussion, Mitchell received 4 for roughing, while Marino took the instigator, a fighting major, and game misconduct. The fans in Royal Lepage Place weren't happy when it was announced, and they'd have a bigger reaction just 9 seconds later.
Once play resumed with the teams 4 on 4, Mitch Newsome boarded Garrett Forster after he chipped a puck towards the blue line, driving the Warriors forward's head into the glass. As Forster laid on the ice, Yaremko came to his aid and won his fight decision over Newsome which left the 'Backs forward with a bloody lip. Again after a long conversation, Yaremko would take 2, 5, and a game for the instigator, while Newsome took 5 minutes for a Blow to the Head, 4 for roughing, and a game misconduct. The Warriors actually came out of that one with a 4 on 3 power play.
With lots of room in the offensive zone, Jonathan Desbiens buried one top corner with 0.6 seconds remaining as the Warriors had a chance to catch their breath in between periods with a 1-0 lead.
The physicality continued in the middle period with both teams finishing every check they could. The Warriors were without two of their more physical players in Yaremko and Marino, but Scott Allan and Connor Sodergren stood out for their physical efforts, although Allan was called for 4 minors in the first two periods.
The Warriors penalty kill was good this past weekend, and with good reason: It had a lot of practice.
The offensive side of the PK showed up again too, as Brett Mennear finished off a 3-pass play with a goal at 3:57 on a 2-on-1 with Liam Blackburn. The assist was Blackburn's 2nd of the game, giving him points in all 18 games this season, and 4 in the weekend set.
Forster made it 3-0 moments later, as he went short-side shelf on Redmond ending his night. Talking with a couple people after the game who had a better angle, they said Redmond didn't give up much room, but Forster found the space with a perfect shot. Not bad for a player who I said probably wouldn't come back to the game after the Newsome hit.
The Warriors took 4 of the 5 penalties in the final frame, and had done a great job on the penalty kill, as they killed off the first 9 'Backs attempts of the period. After Sodergren was called for roughing (9th power play), Rylan Ferster was called for a bench minor just 7 seconds after the puck was dropped. Ferster wasn't happy with the roughing call, but had stopped disagreeing when the puck was dropped, but the whistle came anyways and the Warriors were down 2 men.
Lost in everything you've just read above was the play of Keelan Williams. He was really good on Saturday night and made a lot of key saves. There's a possibility (nothing guaranteed) that he would have completed the shutout if the bench minor wasn't taken. Still a nice tip by Colton Thibault, and you can't fault Williams at all for allowing it. The Shaving cream in the post-game video was worth it (See Post-game interviews here)
Salmon Arm finished with a 1-10 power play, while the Warriors went 1-4.
In the two games, the 'Backs were 4-18, West Kelowna 2-7.
The Warriors take on Merritt Friday (7:00) and Nanaimo Sunday (2:30) at Royal Lepage Place this week.