Thursday, 26 November 2015

Warriors 4 - Wild 3

The West Kelowna Warriors scored twice in the first period, took a 4-1 lead with 1 each in the 2nd and 3rd, holding off a late rally for a 3-1 win over Wenatchee on Thanksgiving South of the Border.

After a lengthy pre-game in a hot building, the Warriors got goals from Tanner Campbell and Connor Sodergren to build their lead. Each goal was a product of a nice pass, as Quin Foreman set-up Campbell, and Jared Marino fooled Chase Perry by dropping a puck out front when he looked like he was going behind the goal as Sodergren finished it.

Matt Baker made it 2-1 when the puck found his stick on a scramble in front of Keelan Williams. The Warriors were on their heels a bit early in the frame, but only allowed the one goal.

The first penalty came over halfway through the 2nd, as the Warriors had a 5 on 3 advantage. With the 1st penalty just expired, Jonathan Desbiens made it 3-1 beating a diving Perry.

In the 3rd, it would be the penalty kill that extended the lead, as Brett Mennear set up Kylar Hope on a 2 on 1 Shorthanded to make it 4-1.

A redirection and a one-timer from the slot in the last few minutes made it a 1-goal game, as the Wild put up a fight to tie the game in the final minute.

Williams made a couple of big saves and a couple good Warrior blocks were the key to holding off the Wild in the final minute.

Game Thoughts:
-West Kelowna played a great road period to start the game, in less than ideal circumstances. The Town Toyota Center was very warm for tonight's game and speaking with players afterwards, there was definitely some extra swear and extra deep breaths needed. Add in the fact that te Warriors stood on the ice/bench for 11 minutes while the Wild were waiting to be introduced, were introduced, and pre-game ceremonies concluded.
-Shorthanded goals have been a recurring theme in the last month, and it's been Kylar Hope and Brett Mennear doing most of the damage. Hope put the perfect shot under the bar and it turned out to be the game winner.
-Keelan Williams made a couple big saves in the first period, and Chase Perry had a few big ones as well. I thought it was evenly goaltended throughout the night but Perry kept it close for quite awhile. Williams key saves in the final minutes stand out as the "game saver" variety.
-Getting the 2 points is a great start to the road trip, and the Warriors will need focus on the task at hand in Surrey on Friday night. West Kelowna lost last year in Surrey after a rough day of travel, so will hope for smooth roads on the way tomorrow. 

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