The West Kelowna Warriors evened up their series with the Penticton Vees with a 3-0 shutout victory on Tuesday night, guaranteeing at least one more home game this season at RLP.
Over 1500 fans showed up tonight and it was loud and proud, and the Warriors supporters ROCKING THE RED had some great things to cheer about early, even without goals.
Zach Driscoll was the story in the Vees net in the first period, as he stymied West Kelowna's attack repeatedly, the Warriors had a 12-3 edge on the shot clock at one point, that finished 17-7 in West Kelowna's favour. There were big hits being thrown out around the rink in the opening period, two of which resulted in Warriors penalties, as the final three Vees shots of the period came on the man advantage. While no goal was on the board, West Kelowna and their faithful enjoyed the opening twenty minutes of pressure.
I felt the turning point in the buildings energy came in the first 7-8 minutes of the opening frame, when the Warriors fourth line of Reed Gunville, Jared Marino, and Jake LeBrun came onto the ice and created an opportunity. They battled their way to the front of the net with both Gunville and Marino having whacks at a loose puck that never went in, but really fired up the Warriors bench.
The game seemed to even out at times of the second frame, but at the halfway point, and in the final minute of the period it ended up as the Jonathan Desbiens show. With the Warriors on the power play, Desbiens was able to open the scoring by flipping one over Driscoll from the side of the goal, and a good shot selection from the point and Liam Blackburn's attempt finding Desbiens.
In the final two minutes of the second, the Warriors had countless chances in a flurry of action in and around the Vees net but nobody was able to find the mesh. West Kelowna was credited with two shots, and about three misses trying to bat at bouncing pucks, and then to have the whistle go in the middle of it all it seemed West Kelowna couldn't believe a penalty had been called. It indeed had, to Penticton though, as David Eccles was deemed to have knocked the net off intentionally, giving the Warriors a late power play.
After great work at the point from Liam Blackburn and Jake LeBrun, Desbiens came off the halfwall, snapped a shot that was blocked, then ripped the wrist shot past the goaltender Driscoll to make it 2-0. I had to turn the volume up in my headphones to block out the noise from the crowd at that moment.
While I wouldn't say West Kelowna sat back in the third, the Vees had a couple opportunities in tight to make it 2-1, but Matthew Greenfield stood tall and kept it at a 2-0 game. Kylar Hope late in the third received a pass from Blackburn after Greenfield poked a shot attempt away, and Hope beat Dixon Bowen to the outside and finished a beauty wrap around off of Driscoll and in which sealed the deal and tied the series.
Some rough stuff went down at the buzzer, and a stoppage before that, but nothing came of it, just frustrations boiling over and players defending themselves and their teammates. Game 5 goes Friday night at the SOEC in Penticton, while Game 6 will be back in West Kelowna at 7 PM Saturday night.
For tickets to Game 6. Visit the Warriors office beneath the Jim Lind Arena sign between 9 pm and 4 pm Wednesday - Friday. Stay tuned to the Warriors website, Facebook, and Twitter for details on Saturday ticket sales. You can also call 250-769-7051 with a Visa or Mastercard to book your seats.