Sunday, 31 January 2016

Jan 31st @ Chilliwack PREVIEW

The West Kelowna Warriors visit the Chilliwack Chiefs tonight at 5:00 pm from the Prospera Centre, looking to sweep a 3-game road trip.

It’s been a smooth but tough day travel wise for the Warriors, leaving Powell River on the 8 am ferry to Earls Cove. The good news was that the Warriors players seemed to get some sleep on the bus and will hopefully have their legs to open up the game.

The Warriors will once again play Kyle Marino on the back end, although Matt Monk may be on his way to the coast to help ease that strain.

West Kelowna clinched a playoff spot with last nights win, and is now in a battle to gain home ice in the opening round of the Interior division playoffs. The Warriors will travel home after the game, but come back to the lower mainland on Wednesday, and head to Trail for games on Friday and Saturday.

Matthew Greenfield will once again get the start for West Kelowna, as he ended up with the victory despite being pulled after 20 minutes. Greenfield re-entered the game in the third period and was rock solid to finish, before Kylar Hope scored the overtime winner.

Stats Pack:
Chilliwack – 29-10-2-4

HOME – 19-2-0-2
ROAD – 10-8-2-2

Top Scorers
Jordan Kawaguchi (29 G, 31 A)
Darien Craighead (17 G, 34 A)
Vimal Sukumaran (27 G, 22 A)

GF – 183
GA – 114

PP – 8th – 32 for 157 (20.4%)
PK – 4th – 141 for 169 (83.4%)

West Kelowna – 29-16-1-2

HOME – 16-7-1-1
ROAD – 13-9-0-1

Top Scorers
Jonathan Desbiens (34 G, 30 A)
Liam Blackburn (23 G, 40A)
Kylar Hope (22 G, 37 A)

GF - 195
GA – 158

PP – 4th – 54 for 231 (23.4%)
PK – 6th – 202 for 247 (81.8%)

Next Game – Wednesday February 3rd
@ Coquitlam – 7 PM Poirier Arena

Head-to-Head Lifetime – West Kelowna is 3-6-3-2 All-Time vs Chilliwack
The Warriors are 0-3-2-1 vs the Chiefs in Chilliwack.
West Kelowna has gone 6-2 at the Prospera Centre during the BCHL Showcase

Warriors 6 - Kings 5 (2OT)

Kylar Hope scored the game winning goal 1:14 into double overtime as the Warriors won a wacky 6-5 game over the Powell River Kings that left 710 fans in the rink and numerous fans watching on Fast Hockey checking their eye-sight.

West Kelowna found themselves down in a 3-0 hole in the opening period, as Jeff Smith was solid in the Powell River net, while the Kings capitalized on their chances in the Warriors end. Tristan Mullin got the home team on the board, before Kyle Betts (PP) and Carter Turnbull both beat Matthew Greenfield to put the home side ahead.
Head Coach Rylan Ferster made a goaltender change to start the second period, as Keelan Williams entered the Warriors net, and made a solid 16 saves in the middle period.
The change sparked the Warriors as well, as their offense came alive to help out. Garrett Forster went to his backhand on a breakaway to get West Kelowna on the board, followed six minutes later by a Jonathan Desbiens snipe.
Bryan Basilico scored once again for the Warriors, tying the game at three with a minuscule deflection that slipped through Smith’s legs.
It was poor discipline that lead to West Kelowna taking the lead, as the Warriors scored twice in 1:04 on separate man-advantages, with Desbiens marking his second goal from the bottom of the circle, and Rylan Yaremko converting on a one-timer in the slot. Desbiens had a point on each of the Warriors five goals in the frame.
Powell River came back in the third period to tie the game at five, scoring two quick ones on Williams to knot it up. Like a reliever that worked a good stretch of a baseball game, Ferster decided to make another change, bring Greenfield back into the game, as he stopped the last 12 shots he faced.
With Powell River buzzing late, the Warriors got the game to overtime, setting up a couple of solid chances during 4 on 4, but couldn’t convert.
The Warriors Brett Mennear tracked down a loose puck at centre ice and found Hope with it, as he unleashed a wrister from inside the line to fool Smith over the right pad.
Greenfield finished with a win in goal, stopping 25 of 28. Williams made 17 saves in 23:24 of action.
Desbiens 5-point night moved him ahead of Liam Blackburn in team scoring, while moving up to 8th in the BCHL for points. His 34 goals are 4th in the BCHL.
  • Not exactly the start the Warriors wanted on Saturday night, finding themselves down 3-0 after the first period, in what was a steady parade to the penalty box. Add in the fact West Kelowna was shorthanded for four minutes to start the second period, had the Warriors staff wondering what was in store.
  • The first turning point was that opening of the second period, with Keelan Williams now in net, the Warriors came alive. More on that, Jonathan Desbiens had a point on all five goals in the period, helping lead the Warriors up by two.
  • West Kelowna seemed to find their discipline in the middle frame, and it was back to back penalties by the Kings that lead to the Warriors 5-3 lead. A hit on Tyler Anderson by Nick Halagian was the scariest of them all, as Anderson was hit in the numbers and drilled into the boards from the danger zone three feet away. Luckily Anderson was okay and able to continue in the game, and the Warriors made the Kings pay on the man advantage. 
  • It was tough to see Keelan Williams get pulled in the third period after solid play in the middle frame, but Rylan Ferster's gut instinct ended up working out. It will be interesting to see who gets the start on Sunday in Chilliwack.
  • While its not there yet, the Warriors will have a little "x" beside their team name on the Standings after tonight's victory. The Warriors have clinched a playoff spot, but still a couple of key milestones to reach. First would be setting the first round match-up with Salmon Arm officially, then the battle for Home-Ice Advantage. Tonight's 29th win is the 6th most in the 10-year history of West Kelowna, with the franchise record of 40 wins out of reach, the Warriors have a chance with 10 remaining, to reach 36 victories, which would be the second-most.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

January 30th @ Powell River PREVIEW

The West Kelowna Warriors have a chance to clinch a playoff spot tonight in Powell River, as they sit in second place in the Interior Division, with a 4-point lead on Salmon Arm. It is now officially a race for second place, as the Vees clinched first for the fifth straight season with their win last night.

Matthew Greenfield will get the nod in goal once again, while the rest of the lineup remains the same. Kristian Blumenschein will not play on the road trip, as the Warriors will be with just five defensemen for the weekend. Quin Foreman also remains out, so Ryan Pereverzoff will play his fifth game of the season as an AP.

Liam Blackburn enters tonights game with 177 points in 149 games as a Warrior, sitting in second on the all-time list. Blackburn will need to average 2 points per game to hit the 200 plateau. Maybe a more reachable target would be the all-time assists leader mark, but also a stretch needing 19 in 11 games. Kylar Hope's race for 100 points is the one to watch closer, as Hope needs 10 points in the final 11.

With a Warriors win or a Trail loss, West Kelowna will clinch a playoff spot, so that will be on the line as well tonight. It should be another great game against a hungry Island team looking to track down the Nanaimo Clippers.

Stats Pack:

Powell River – 27-18-0-2

HOME – 18-5-0-0
ROAD – 9-13-0-2

Top Scorers
Tristan Mullin (24 G, 22 A)
Adam Brubacher (15 G, 22 A)
Nick Halagian (11 G, 24 A)

GF – 172
GA – 136

PP – 11th – 28 for 206 (18.4%)
PK – 5th – 138 for 166 (83.1%)

West Kelowna – 28-16-1-2

HOME – 16-7-1-1
ROAD – 12-9-0-1

Top Scorers
Liam Blackburn (23 G, 38 A)
Jonathan Desbiens (32 G, 27 A)
Kylar Hope (21 G, 36 A)

GF - 189
GA – 153

PP – 4th – 52 for 226 (23.0%)
PK – 6th – 196 for 240 (81.7%)

Next Game – Sunday January 30th
@ Chilliwack – 5 PM – Prospera Centre

Head-to-Head Lifetime – West Kelowna is 9-4-1-3 vs Powell River All-Time
The Warriors are 4-2-0-2 vs the Kings in Powell River

Warriors 7 - Capitals 1

The West Kelowna Warriors got things off on the right foot Friday night in Cowichan Valley, with a 7-1 whomping of the Capitals. Matthew Greenfield kept the Warriors in the game early as the Capitals jumped out to a big edge in shots, but Jonathan Desbiens had the Warriors on the board early.

Rylan Yaremko made it 2-0 on the power play in the first period as well, as West Kelowna finished off a solid road period.

In the middle frame, Kade Kehoe cut the Warriors lead in half, but Bryan Basilico scored maybe the biggest goal of the game to give the Warriors a 3-1 edge after forty minutes, although they were still being out-shot.

West Kelowna scored quickly to start the third, as both Desbiens and Garrett Forster found the net in the first 1:10 of the period. It was then Forster who made it 6-1 moments later with a nifty deflection, reaching back to tip a puck that was going five feet wide of the net. The puck bounced between the skates of Storm Phaneuf. The scoreboard went to 7-1 as Tyler Anderson went in and ripped a wrister past Phaneuf, ending his night.

Rough stuff was the next order of business after Josh Adkins kicked the feet out from underneath Greenfield, sparking a melee in the corner. It was one Capital against five Warriors until the Capitals finished their change and came flying in to join the scrum. There were seven Capitals on the ice at one point, although just five were in the scrum. Adkins was ejected for the second goaltender interference call of the game against Cowichan Valley. There would be some more hard hits in the last five minutes, but nothing else major occurred.

Game Thoughts:

  • The Warriors had a picture-perfect start to their seven straight games on the road, up 2-0 with a great road period. Goaltending has been a great story since just before Christmas, and last night was no exception. Matthew Greenfield made some big saves early in the game, and that sparked West Kelowna. Greenfield was not flashy on many saves, but did flash the leather on a couple of shots in the second period, and got help from his post as well. He saw traffic in the blue paint all night long as well.
  • Speaking of traffic, Greenfield was interfered with three or four times in the game, and twice cost the Capitals a man, plus cost them a goal. The Capitals thought they had tied the game at one in the middle of the first period, but Greenfield had been spun around by a Caps forward, and the goal was waved off. There was a goaltender interference penalty against Cowichan in the second period as Jared Domin ran into Greenfield, and then Adkins as outlined above. Greenfield was bumped again after the Adkins skirmish, but nothing came of that one.
  • Jonathan Desbiens had a four-point night, scoring twice and adding a pair of assists. He scored a goal scorers goal in tight in the opening frame, and a nice shot in the third to grow the lead. While it looked like he would tie up/get much closer to Liam Blackburn for the team lead, it was Blackburn with a somewhat quiet 3 assists to keep a gap. Looking back on the goals though, Blackburn made a nice play from below the goal line on both Basilico's and Yaremko's goals.

Friday, 29 January 2016

January 29th @ Cowichan PREVIEW

The West Kelowna Warriors start their first of seven straight away from Royal LePage Place tonight at the Big Stick in Duncan, BC for a date with the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

The Capitals are currently in 3rd place in the Island Division, four points back of tomorrow nights opponent, the Powell River Kings. West Kelowna and Cowichan Valley have split the season series thus far, with the Warriors winning at the BCHL Showcase, and the Capitals defeating the Warriors at RLP.

Jonathan Desbiens has three goals in two games for the Warriors against Cowichan this season, while Patrick Geary has two goals and one assist. Former Warriors Kade Kehoe and Adam Osczevski both have three points, while Storm Phaneuf is 1-1 in goal for the Caps in the season series, with a .931 Sv%. Tonight will mark the first game Matthew Greenfield will play against an Island Division opponent.

Ryan Pereverzoff will play in his fourth game as an AP for the Warriors, while Jared Marino will also return to the lineup. Kristian Blumenschein is a game-time decision, while Quin Foreman will miss another game.

There will be a new segment tonight on the broadcast, as Road Warriors featuring Sheldon and Drapes will air in the first intermission. We'll talk to Kylar Hope about his commitment to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks during the second intermission.

Listen Live at starting with the pre-game show at 6:40 tonight.

Stats Pack:

Cowichan Valley – 22-17-3-3

HOME – 13-7-2-1
ROAD – 9-10-1-2

Top Scorers
Kade Kehoe (19 G, 27 A)
Ryan Burton (13 G, 26 A)
Josh Adkins (17 G, 20 A)

GF – 153
GA – 150

PP – 15th – 35 for 209 (16.7%)
PK – 10th – 197 for 246 (80.1%)

West Kelowna – 27-16-1-2

HOME – 16-7-1-1
ROAD – 11-9-0-1

Top Scorers
Liam Blackburn (23 G, 34 A)
Jonathan Desbiens (30 G, 24 A)
Kylar Hope (21 G, 32 A)

GF - 182
GA – 152

PP – 4th – 51 for 219 (23.3%)
PK – 8th – 192 for 236 (81.4%)

Next Game – Saturday January 30th
@ Powell River – 7:15 PM

Head-to-Head Lifetime – West Kelowna is 11-4-0-4 vs Cowichan Valley All-Time
Warriors are 4-2-0-3 vs. the Capitals at the Island Savings Centre.