Dec 9, 2013 / 9:13 am
Courtesy of Jon Zacks
Andy Desautels was 1:16 away from his first BCHL shutout as the Warriors beat a key division rival in Salmon Arm on Sunday.
Scoreless after a tight-checking first period, West Kelowna jumped in front when things opened-up in the second.
Adam Osczevski drew first blood when he converted a well-earned Kylar Hope feed 3:30 into the middle frame.
After a strong response gave Salmon Arm the chance to tie the game up, a Warriors counter-attack led to a David Pope strike, and what would hold up as the eventual game-winner.
Seb Lloyd would add a third Warriors goal on a power-play later in the second period, while Jason Cotton put the game out of reach early in the third.
The Warriors went into lock-down mode, trying to earn their first shutout victory of the year. However, the bid was ruined when Alex Gillies notched a power-play goal with time winding down, leading to a 4-1 final score.
“It’s obviously a bit disappointing getting that close to the end of the game” Andy Desautels smiled afterwards. “The biggest thing for me was just getting the two points” he nodded, adding “I couldn’t be happier.”
West Kelowna’s goalie sees that his teammates were “doing their best for me” as they aimed to shut down the Silverbacks on the road. But shutout or not, the 19 year-old knows his team can be proud of holding some of the BCHL’s top scorers at bay.
Salmon Arm’s top line of Landon Smith, Evan Anderson, and Alex Gillies (who sit 1st, 6th, and 7th respectively in league scoring) was unable to generate many offensive chances in the contest, continuing a trend that’s seen the Warriors win five of six matchups against the ‘Backs this year.
“It’s been great” Desautels agrees. “Our team has done excellent at shutting those guys down every single time we play them” he says, adding “they have to work for everything they get.”
Next up is a home date against Merritt on Friday.
Dec 6, 2013 / 10:15 pm
The West Kelowna Warriors continue to frustrate their fans, their coaches and likely themselves.
The Warriors outplayed the Surrey Eagles for two-and-a-half periods Friday night but gave up three late goals in a 4-3 defeat.
West Kelowna appeared to have the game well in hand, leading 3-1 with 10 minutes left.
Danton Heinen got one back with nine minutes left to give the Eagles some hope then tied it with a deft deflection on a power-play with five minutes left in regulation time.
Just 26 seconds later Luke Sandler pounced on a juicy rebound and beat Andy Desautels with what proved to be the game winner.
"3-1 with nine minutes to go and to give up three goals in the last bit like that is - unfortunate," says Warriors coach Rylan Ferster who says it's very frustrating the way things have gone of late.
"For 50 minutes we played a very good hockey game. You have to play 60 to win and tonight it's unfortunate the way a lot of these have been."
Once again, the Warriors lost in large part because they lost the special teams battle.
"Two pk goals tonight and again our power-play doesn't score. Not good."
The Warriors built a 3-1 lead on the strength of some hard forechecking and relentless play inside the Surrey end of the rink.
Reid Simmonds opened the scoring near the midway mark of the second. Linemates Matt Anholt and Tyson Dallman out battled Surrey defenders behind the net.
Anholt got the puck in front to Simmonds who was all alone. He calmly backhanded the puck past Bo Didur.
After the Eagles tied it Seb Lloyd put the Warriors back up by one with his eighth of the season.
Anholt made it 3-1 with a one-timer from the slot off a rebound.
The Warriors had several chances to put the game away earlier in the game. Both Lloyd and Adam Plant, who can't buy a goal this season, hit the goalpost on Warriors power-plays. Lloyd had a chance for another goal but was unable to poke a loose puck in the crease across the goal line.
"I thought we had some good looks (on the power-play) but again at the end of the day looks are just that. You have to score goals to make them count and we didn't do that," added Ferster.
As frustrating as things have been over the last five weeks Ferster says he the team can turn a corner.
"Tough times don't last. Tough people do. You get knocked down nine times you get up 10," says Ferster.
"That's all you can do. It's not about how hard you get hit it's about how fast you get up. We have to continue to move forward and try to do the right things as a team and as a staff."
The Warriors only get a day to put this one behind them before they step on the ice again Sunday in Salmon Arm.
They return home again next Friday when the Merritt Centennials pay a visit to Royal LePage Place.
Next Friday's game is the annual Warriors Teddy Bear toss night.
All teddy bears collected next Friday will be turned over to the Westside Community Food Bank.
Dec 2, 2013 / 8:25 pm
The West Kelowna Warriors and Penticton Vees both looked to the Cowichan Valley Capitals for talented players who fill positions of need.
The Warriors acquired 20-year-old defenceman Taki Pantziris from the Capitals in exchange for 19-year-old forward Ambrose Firkus.
Pantziris had 10 goals and 10 assists in 30 games with the Capitals this season.
The Toronto native had two goals and four assists in 21 games with the OHL's Sarnia Sting a season ago.
Firkus, in his second season with the Warriors has underachieved this season, registering just six goals and 21 points in 23 games.
Pantziris will replace Jaden Schmeiser on the blueline after Schmeiser was sent to Victoria in exchange for future considerations.
The Vees meantime acquired 18-year-old forward Steen Cooper from the Capitals for 18-year-old defenseman Clint Filbrandt and the playing rights to 20-year-old defenseman Matthew Berry-Lamontagna.
The Vees had earlier acquired Berry-Lamontagna from Coquitlam for future considerations.
Cooper is in his third season in the BCHL, all with his hometown Capitals.
Through 27 games, the centerman has three goals and 18 points and was third in team scoring at time of the trade.
He recently won a bronze medal with Team Canada West at the 2013 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Last season Cooper set career highs in goals (10) and points (27) in 43 games with the Caps.
Cooper is committed to Minnesota State University, Mankato for the 2015-16 season.
Vees President, General Manager and Head Coach Fred Harbinson says Cooper fills a need upfront,
“Steen is a play-making centerman that we’ve wanted to add to our forward group for some time. He competes extremely hard and brings plenty of experience despite being 18 and will be a go-to player for us next year as well.”
Filbrandt had one assist in nine games after coming to Penticton from the Western Hockey League's Kootenay Ice.
Nov 30, 2013 / 10:00 pm
The West Kelowna Warriors dominated from the opening faceoff to the final whistle, easily handling the Coast Division leading Langley Rivermen 5-1 Saturday at Royal LePage Place.
The Warriors, who struggled throughout November, put forth their most complete effort of the month by far and arguably their best 60 minute effort of the season.
"I think this was our, start to finish, never gave up, best performance for sure," says associate coach Brent Gough who put the game plan together in the absence of Rylan Ferster who was away on a scouting trip.
Jason Cotton, Jordon Masters, Matt Anholt, Seb Lloyd and Reid Simmonds all scored for the Warriors while Andy Desautels handled 20 shots for the win.
After going just 2-6-1 over their previous nine games in November the coaches decided it was time for a change and mixed up all four lines.
The new ingredients made for a perfect recipe.
"I think there is a time and a place for it and I definitely think that was the time to do it," says Anholt.
"We've had the same lines for quite a while through the year and every once in a while you have to mix it up if the offence isn't coming. Obviously it work because some of the lines worked well tonight."
One pair that wasn't split up with Anholt and Simmonds who have been together since Simmonds rejoined the team late in October.
The duo were dynamite, especially on the Warriors third goal, a shorthanded goal made possible entirely by the forechecking of Simmonds who chased down a loose puck in the offensive corner, outworked three Rivermen defenders and found a wide open Anholt who beat former Warrior Steve Myland for his eighth of the season.
"As soon as he came to me off the huddle after the goal I said to him 'Simmer that was your goal, I did nothing for you," says Anholt.
"I think he sucked three guys to him. That was a hell of a play."
Jason Cotton opened the scoring with a gorgeous individual effort.
He sped down the left wing, cut across the end line toward the net, took a step to his right and slid the puck past Myland to the far corner.
Masters's 13th made it 2-0 late in the first when he grabbed a rebound and beat Myland high to the short side.
After Ahnolt's shorthanded goal made it 3-0 with the lone goal of the second Lloyd scored his 7th with a shot from a sharp angle below the left circle on a Warriors power-play.
Simmonds rounded out the scoring converting a pretty three-way passing play with Anholt and Mike Winnitoy who was called up from the KIJHL's Summerland Steam to replace injured Ryan Ivey.
Jakob Reichert ruined Desautels' shutout bid on a Langley power-play midway through the third.
The Warriors were without Ivey, Ambrose Firkus and Brennan Clark all out with injuries.
Gough says Clark should be ready to go once he gets into a few more practices while Firkus is suffering through a nagging upper body injury and Ivey is day-to-day with a lower body injury.
The Warriors can now turn their attention to a new month with four of seven games remaining prior to the Christmas break at home.
The Surrey Eagles will provide the opposition next Friday night at Royal LePage Place.
Nov 28, 2013 / 7:48 pm
The Vernon Vipers will be the featured team each night of the Royal Bank Cup at Kal Tire Place.
The schedule for the RBC Cup, the Canadian Jr. A Hockey Championship, slated for May 10 to 18 in Vernon was released Thursday.
The host Vipers will open up the tournament Saturday, May 10 against the east representative.
They will then play Monday, May 12 (West 1), Tuesday, May 13 (West 2) and Thursday May 15 (Central). All games begin at 7 p.m.
Throughout the round robin portion of the tournament, games will be played at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. except Monday and Wednesday when just one game will be played.
Semi-finals are set for Saturday May 17 with the final Sunday, May 18.
Full event ticket packages which include all 10 round robin games, two semi-finals and the championship game, are now available.
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