The West Kelowna Warriors knocked off the Nanaimo Clippers 5-2 on Friday night, and gave themselves a pair of opportunities to advance to the Fred Page Cup Finals picking up their second win of the third round.
The Warriors started strong in the opening period, flying out to an early advantage in the shots department, and were rewarded thanks to hard work while shorthanded. With Scott Allan off for closing his hand on the puck, Kylar Hope raced down the right wing and went around the net, roofing one over the right shoulder of Evan Johnson for the 1-0 lead. The period finished the same way on the scoreboard, as the Warriors lead 17-5 on the shot clock as well. Special Teams dominated the opening frame as well, as five different opportunities presented themselves, but only a shorthanded goal was mustered.
In the middle frame, the Warriors once again had some opportunities, but the Clippers also created some solid scoring chances, but both goaltenders made the big saves they needed to. Nanaimo tied it up off a broken play in the neutral zone after the Warriors couldn’t get it in deep, and Nolan Aibel’s shot from inside the blueline beat Matthew Greenfield and knotted the game up at one. Nanaimo came on strong late in the frame as well, finishing the period on a shots on goal run, as they held a 15-11 edge in the second.
Gavin Gould gave the Clippers a 2-1 lead just 37 seconds into the third period as he was sent in on a breakaway by Yanni Kaldis, and slid it through the legs of Greenfield sending 1500+ in attendance to their feet. The Warriors didn’t panic though, and after Matthew Hoover missed the net racing in on the right wing, the puck went all the way around the wall and Garrett Forster went in the other way, beating Johnson with a great shot to tie the game at two.
Just 16 seconds after the Warriors tied the game, Connor Sodergren wrapped one around the net after getting the puck on the left side and going all the way around and tucking it in to give West Kelowna a 3-2 edge. Then, with just over five minutes remaining, Quin Foreman’s point shot bounced off the end wall, came out in front again, and he buried his own rebound to go up 4-2. Kylar Hope ended the scoring with a great little move in tight beating Johnson just 1:04 after Foreman made it 4-2.
Frustration was the word of the day in the latter stages of the game, as numerous skirmishes broke out in the final two minutes, with teams having just seven players on their benches and five on the ice to end the game. No big penalties were handed out, just a handful of minors as the buzzer sounded and the Warriors finished off the win.
- The Warriors came out flying in the hockey game really took it to Nanaimo in the first period. The shot clock was pretty accurate at 17-5, as the Warriors peppered Evan Johnson but couldn't take the lead. It was the shorthanded effort from Kylar Hope that broke the deadlock, and the Warriors kept coming.
- Each team was 0-4 on the power play in the hockey game, and while penalty was strong, each team had good zone time and good looks on the man advantage but nobody could capitalize. Great saves were made at both ends.
- West Kelowna has had a quick strike offense at times this season and they showed that once again last night. Two goals 16 seconds apart almost deflated the crowd but it was only a one goal game. Quin Foreman's goal was the real silencer with just under six minutes left, and Kylar Hope sent the majority of the fans to the exits just a minute later.
- Matthew Greenfield was a key component to the victory, making crucial saves including a huge toe save on Sheldon Rempal in the third period. He dealt with traffic and contact all night long, and stayed focused, and while not named a star, he probably deserved consideration.
What Happens Now:
- With a 3-way tie at 2-2, the Warriors, Chiefs, and Clippers now enter the "if necessary" portion of the round robin. There was a 22% chance that this would occur, and it did. So now, the Warriors head to Chilliwack on Sunday at 5 PM, with the winner advancing to the Fred Page Cup Finals where they'll have home ice. The loser of that game, will play Nanaimo on Tuesday night for the second spot in the finals.