Saturday, 19 December 2015

Dec 18th vs Penticton RECAP

Fans were sitting with their Teddy Bears for almost the entire hockey game Friday night, but the raucous crowd of 1300 plus used their "WE ARE, WARRIORS" chant perfectly to cheer on the late 3rd period goal that sent the bears flying. We'll have more on that goal below, but let's talk about the game up until a puck finally crossed the line. This game wasn't necessarily a defensive struggle, as the Penticton Vees controlled the shot clock throughout the night, going hard at the Warriors in transition and creating numerous opportunities to score.

The Vees could not beat the brick wall that was Matthew Greenfield on this night, as Greenfield used "the force" (come on, it's Star Wars EVERYWHERE at the moment), to keep the puck out of the net. The Lakeland, FL product was calm throughout the hockey game and kept steering the pucks aside waiting for his teammates to produce a goal to unleash the arms and bears from the fans.

Post-Whistle Conversations were the Norm on Friday night
The two teams renewed acquaintances through some physical play throughout the hockey game, and there were numerous post-whistle conversations. At the centre of most pushing and shoving seemed to be Luke Voltin and Easton Brodzinski of the Vees, while Kyle Marino and Kylar Hope always seemed to be in the mix for the Warriors. Voltin was throwing his weight around all night, and always seemed to find himself in the Warriors crease as Greenfield froze the puck on numerous occasions.
Liam Blackburn swarmed by the Vees
 The Warriors only managed 15 shots on goal through 40 minutes on Friday, and give the Vees credit, as with only 4 regular defensemen seemed to frustrate West Kelowna with what was maybe a different style of play than what the Warriors watched on film. Give the Vees a ton of credit for their effort as Rylan Ferster did post-game, but realize the goaltending battle that occurred and both those young men deserve the recognition as well.
Garrett Forster misses just WIDE 
 The third period was the most balanced period as the Warriors simplified their defensive zone game, trying to just chip pucks out and not get fancy with it. It seemed to work, as Garrett Forster had a brilliant chance from the circle (see above) but put it just 3 inches wide of the far post. The Warriors were trying to get a lucky break throughout the frame, and it would finally happen with just over two minutes to play.

After a non-whistle after the puck hit the netting to the left of the Warriors goal, Nick Rutigliano knocked down a loose puck and sent it ahead off the wall to Connor Sodergren, who went in on a 2 on 1. A great play by a sprawling Vees defenseman knocked the pass down, but Sodergren's 2nd effort sent the puck in front as Desbiens was able to bury the marker, touching off his celebrations and the bears flying from the Warriors faithful (see below)
Jonathan Desbiens buries the Teddy Bear Toss goal and celebrates!

Atom Rep helps with pick up!

Orchard Ford helps with the collection
Scott Allan would seal the deal for West Kelowna with a long-range empty netter from just inside his own blueline to make it 2-0 with 1:05 to go. He would make a nice little move and put the puck right in the dead centre of the Vees net at the far end of the ice. After that, some solid boards play got the Warriors a big two points, heading into a rematch showdown on Saturday at 6 PM.
Warriors pick up the BIG 2 points!
Thoughts from the (Press)Box:

  • The most lopsided shot total against the Warriors this season is put in the rearview mirror when the two points are picked up in a game like that. It had the feel of overtime from the moment the 3rd period started, and the Warriors fans felt that vibe too, picking up chants and making noise with every chance and save. It was an atmosphere to remember for sure, almost along the lines of that during 3 OT in Game 3 last season. The Warriors found a way to win this one, and the fans enjoyed every single moment.
  • Neither power play clicked in the hockey game and the Warriors really didn't seem to have a good look all night. They were given 4 opportunities, and i'm unsure as to the shot total, but I believe it was under 4. West Kelowna will need to find a way on Saturday to cash in, as not scoring on the man advantage can haunt teams more often than not.
  • Matthew Greenfield's debut wasn't a spectacular display of highlight-reel saves, it was a solid and "crisp" (Chad Carder's description) performance for a 41-save shutout. He had "great rebound control, found the puck through traffic, and knew where it was going after the save was made." - Warriors goaltender coach Chad Carder.
  • Numerous Interior Division goaltenders have "stolen" games this season, and Matthew did that tonight for the Warriors, although it wasn't flashy. It was one of those games where you knew the Warriors skaters wanted badly to pick up the win for their netminder. 

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