Sunday, 17 April 2016

Fred Page Cup Finals - Game 2 Recap

The West Kelowna Warriors took a 2-0 series lead on Saturday night with a 6-3 win over the Chilliwack Chiefs in a spirited Fred Page Cup Finals game with lots of post-whistle activity, and one that was special teams heavy.

The Warriors scored three times on the power play in the hockey game, with Jonathan Desbiens scoring twice and Jake LeBrun adding the other. The only even strength goal that wasn't into an empty net was Nick Rutigliano's opening goal that tied the game early in the second period.

Jordan Kawaguchi opened the scoring in the first two minutes of the game on the man advantage as the crowd of 1900 got on their feet. Jason Tatarnic mentioned pre-game that his team would be on from the opening shift, and that it was time to get the hate on in this series. While the first period had a lot of physical contact, the Warriors pushed back as well throughout the frame. It was a low shot total opening frame, as West Kelowna lead 5-2 on the shot clock after 20 minutes as the Warriors trailed 1-0.

Back to back goals 1:28 apart got the Warriors their first lead of the night, as Rutigliano tied the game at one after Connor Sodergren came out of the box. The Warriors would go ahead 2-1 on the power play when Jonathan Desbiens banked one off of Pelino from the goal line.

Aaron O’Neill tied the game back up at two on a delayed penalty, which upon further review was actually offside at the line. With no video review like the NHL, the goal stood and the Chiefs had the game tied. It would continue to go back and forth with the Warriors scoring the next goal, as Jake LeBrun capitalized on a one-timer chance in the slot with 6:21 remaining in the middle frame.
The Chiefs scored another somewhat controversial goal in the final minute, as the play in front of the goal happened so fast that a puck off the skate of Ryan Forbes was deemed a good goal by the officials, without much complaint from the Warriors bench.
In third, it was another man advantage that put the Warriors up 4-3 in the third, as Desbien’s second goal of the night was buried past Pelino. The penalty that was called against the Chiefs was a knee on knee hit on Kyle Marino that had the Warriors captain down in pain. The fans in the building were all over Marino as well as he headed off the ice with Warriors Athletic Therapist Mike Bois as he laid hunched over in pain on the bench but was able to continue.
The Chiefs had a couple of chances in the middle parts of the frame, and pulled the netminder with 2:33 to go, but allowed Brett Mennear and Kyle Marino to score into the empty net to make it 6-3.
The final moments of the big victory were marred by Liam Blackburn taking a hit to the head with less than five seconds remaining in the game. Linden Hora was given a five minute major for checking to the head and a game misconduct. There was no word on whether the automatic two-game suspension would be applied in the situation, but the Warriors were frustrated once again to see Blackburn down on the ice in the final minute in Chilliwack.
Game Thoughts:
  • West Kelowna gave up the early goal in the hockey game but did a great job in responding to the physical play from the Chiefs. There were a lot of post-whistle skirmishes involving 8-10 players in that opening period, and not many whistles created by the goaltenders with just 7 shots total in the frame.
  • The second period was one of the craziest ones the Warriors have played since the third against Penticton in Game 6. There were five goals, crazy chances, and a lot of intermission video review by myself to look at a pair of goals scored by the Chiefs. I got a text from Kelly O'Bryan's and the fans there before I could get a screenshot, but Jake Smith was a foot offside on a zone-entry with Kawaguchi, and the Chiefs capitalized on a delayed penalty to tie the game up at two. The third Chiefs goal had a full officials conference, but very tough to tell on the replays exactly what part of Ryan Forbes the puck hit to enter the net, but definitely no kicking motion from what I could tell, so a tied game entered the third.
  • It was a shame that after a pair of empty net goals the game had to end like it did. Liam Blackburn takes a high hit from Linden Hora who had just come from hitting Quin Foreman. In a 6-3 game late, it was a tough pill to swallow for the Warriors staff, but Hora was given a 5-minute major for a Blow to the Head and a Game Misconduct, so we'll see whether the 2-game suspension is applied or rescinded by the league for Game 3.
Tickets are on sale for Game 3 (and 4) starting NOW (9 AM) at the Warriors office until 4 PM. The box office will open at 6 PM, and you can also call 250-769-7051 to reserve your seats with a Visa or Mastercard. A $1 Service Charge applies. Buy your tickets early in the day as they're expected to move quick with the Warriors looking for a 3-0 series lead in the BCHL Fred Page Cup Finals.

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