Saturday, 30 April 2016

WCC Game 1 Recap

It was a great start to the Western Canada Cup tournament for the West Kelowna Warriors as they opened up with a 3-0 victory over the host Estevan Bruins on Saturday night at Affinity Place.

There was a good quick opening ceremony prior to tonight's game, with all the teams on the ice and a couple of very short speeches that lead to puck drop around 7:07 after the ceremonial face-off.

An interesting rule didn't catch the Warriors on this opening day, but there were five warm-up violations handed out on Saturday, for players who touched the red line with their skate during the pre-game warmup. Melfort (3), Portage, and Estevan were all caught on opening day and received 10-minute misconducts to start the game. I don't expect it to be an issue moving forward, but Brooks has yet to play so tomorrow afternoon may be interesting.

Kyle Marino set the tone on the first shift, hammering Darcy DeRoose and getting the Warriors bench into the game. There was definite physical play in the opening period, but it didn't feel like anything more than normal. The Bruins didn't seem like they were rusty in the opening ten minutes, but there were moments throughout the game where you could tell they weren't on their game having not played in over a month.

Matthew Greenfield was back in between the pipes for the Warriors and he was sharp early on, making a couple nice saves including a big glove save before the media time out. He would make 12 saves in the frame as it ended up 0-0. The Warriors out-shot the Bruins 13-12.

West Kelowna would get on the board in the first five minutes of the second period, as the fourth line got into the act, as Prince Albert, Saskatchewan's Reed Gunville got the Warriors on the board going upstairs on Daniel Wapple to make it 1-0. 

Just 1:03 later, Nick Rutigliano would get the puck towards the goal, while Brett Mennear went to his backhand to beat Wapple and make it 2-0.

West Kelowna would start to get into penalty trouble after going up a pair of goals, taking their fourth and fifth minors of the game. The PK was solid though and killed them off, and wouldn't get to take the third period off either.

Mennear scored his second of the night with a beautiful deflection between the circles, slowing the puck up and beating Wapple as he slid to his left to stop the point shot. For the second time on the night, Rutigliano and Jonathan Desbiens would grab the assists on a Mennear goal.

The Warriors finished the game shorthanded after Matthew Greenfield got jumped on with Rylan Yaremko getting involved and taking four minutes in penalties as the Bruins escaped somehow with nothing. Garrett Forster was given a 10-minute misconduct late for going after Lynnden Pastachak for a potentially dangerous hit as Forster avoided contact with the knee of Pastachak. 

The Warriors PK finished 9/9, while the PP went 0/2.

Game Thoughts:
  • It was a Bentley Falcon night as the three Warrior commits to the Falcons combined for six points on the two Brett Mennear goals as Nick Rutigliano and Jonathan Desbiens picked up the assists. Once again, Rutigliano had a solid night on the back end, and I think the entire defense deserves a pat on the back. There were shot blocks and box outs and rebounds cleared throughout the night that they need to be commended for. 
  • Overall it was a team effort, and a solid win to start the tournament. While I don't think the Warriors were clicking on all cylinders, they got production and good chances from up and down the lineup, and came together on the defensive side of the puck to get in lanes. When things did break down, Matthew Greenfield was there and was solid.
  • Special Teams were good, but what is with the discrepancy in the numbers? It's nothing new to West Kelowna (25-15 vs Penticton), but to be shorthanded nine times in a game while only getting two power plays seems off. We'll see what happens against Brooks and hopefully it balances out over the course of the week.
  • The Warriors are the only team all week that will experience the quick turn-around between games, playing an afternoon game after a night game. The Brooks Bandits are the opponents Sunday at 2:00 PM Local (1 PM in BC) and they had Saturday off so it presents a unique challenge to West Kelowna. Should be fun to watch.
You can listen live at or watch at Kelly O'Bryan's or on

The internet issues that plagued the audio-only broadcast should be 100% FIXED Sunday, and all goal highlights should be up on Facebook/Twitter soon after they happen as has been done the latter half of the season. Give WIN another shot, we've got the solution working with the organizing committee here in Estevan. 

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