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BCHL  

Vees take season title

The Penticton Vees are regular season champions in the BCHL for the second time in a row.

And they took only three minutes and 22 seconds to seal the deal, Saturday.

The Vees scored three rapid-fire goals in the third period to come from behind and beat the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 3-2 on the road.

Shutout for the first 51-minutes of the game, the Vees’ Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro combined for three quick goals to stun the Bulldogs, winning the Vees' fifth in a row and 10th in their last 11 games.

Ryan Finnegan and Nathan Dingmann scored power-play goals in the first and second for the Bulldogs, who looked well on their way to their fourth consecutive win, until the Vees pulled the rug out from out under them.

Zach Driscoll stopped 23 of 25 shots to pick up his 18th win. Brody Claeys allowed three goals on 35 Vees shots to take the loss.

Playing their third game in three days, the Vees got behind the eight-ball midway through the first after the Bulldogs power-play broke a scoreless tie. After a scramble out front of the Vees net, Finnegan grabbed a rebound and managed to fire the puck through a crowd in the crease at 9:51 for the ice-breaker.

The score remained unchanged until late in the second when the Bulldogs power-play doubled their lead. Chris Schutz had his one-timer from the blue-line tipped out front by Dingmann and up and over Driscoll at 18:27. 

Time was running out on a comeback until Jost took a pass up the middle, split the defence and, with a defender draped on his back, slid a backhand underneath the sprawled goalie at 11:24.

He then turned playmaker, firing a cross-ice pass to an open Fabbro, who put the puck over the goalie’s glove to tie the game at 13:35 on a power-play.

The game-winner came 71-seconds later when a Fabbro point-shot deflected off a defender's glove and into the net at 14:46.

The win was the Vees’ 44th of the season.

The Vees (44-6-1-0) are now off until next Friday, when they host the red-hot West Kelowna Warriors.





Warriors take two in Trail

The West Kelowna Warriors continued their winning ways Saturday, completing a two-game weekend sweep in Trail.

The Warriors got two goals each from Garrett Forster and Jonathan Desbiens in a 4-1 win over the Smoke Eaters.

The win was the Warriors seventh in a row and sixth straight on their current stretch of seven straight away from home.

Forster staked the Warriors to a 2-0 first period lead with power-play goals 5 minutes and 30 seconds apart.

Both came on slap shots from the left point.

Desbiens stretched the lead to 3-0 with 38th of the season off a wrist shot that caught the bar and went in.

After Trail got one back Desbiens closed out the scoring 13 minutes into the third period.

Keelan Williams turned aside 24 of 25 shots to earn his 11th win of the season and seventh straight.

The Warriors went 2-6 with the man advantage. Trail was held without a goal in their four opportunities with the man advantage.

The win keeps the Warriors nine points up on Salmon Arm in the Interior Division. The Warriors magic number to clinch second place and home ice advantage in round one of the playoffs is five.

The Warriors put their longest winning streak of the season on thee line Friday when they conclude their road odyssey in Penticton.



Warriors sear Smokies

The West Kelowna Warriors continue to roll at just the right time.

The Warriors made it five in a row during a seven game road trip and six straight overall with a convincing 9-0 win over the Trail Smoke Eaters Friday in Trail.

Kyler Hope scored a pair of goals to lead the way while Brett Mennear and Kyle Marino each had a goal and two assists as the Warriors spread the scoring around.

Twelve of the 18 skaters hot the scoresheet.

Matthew Greenfield turned aside all 27 shots he faced for his second career BCHL shutout.

Tyler Anderson, Rylan Yaremko, Kristian Blumenshein, Quin Foreman and Liam Blackburn also scored for the Warriors.

Jonathan Desbiens, who had 19 points over a six game stretch, was held to just one assist.

The Warriors broke this game wide open with a six goal outburst in the second period.

Leading 1-0, West Kelowna scored three times in a three minute span early in the second to build up a 4-0 lead and chase Trail starter Bailey MacBurnie.

This marked the third straight game MacBurnie has been lifted for backup Linden Marshall against the Warriors.

Marshall allowed three more in the second and a pair of markers in the first minute of the third period.

The Warriors power-play clicked on two of four opportunities. The Smokies were held without a goal on their four opportunities.

The same two teams go at it again tomorrow night in Trail as the Warriors look to extend their winning streak.

Friday's win coupled with Salmon Arm's overtime loss to Merritt pushed the Warriors nine points up on the Silverbacks in the race for second spot in the Interior and home ice advantage in a likely first head-to-head meeting in the opening round of the playoffs.





Road Warriors strike again

Make it four for four for the West Kelowna Warriors on their current seven game road odyssey.

Liam Blackburn snapped home the game winner 3:05 into double overtime Wednesday giving the Warriors a 2-1 overtime win over the Coquitlam Express.

Blackburn faked going behind the net then stick handled his way around below the goal line before finally coming in front and sniping one on the blocker side and past Coquitlam netminder Lawson Fenton.

While Blackburn plunged the final dagger, it was goaltender Keelan Williams and the Warriors penalty killers who made sure he had the opportunity.

Williams turned aside five shots and the Warriors killed off more than two-and-a-half minutes of penalty time during the first overtime period.

Williams, making his second straight start, turned aside 35 shots for the victory.

Jonathan Desbiens, the reigning BCHL player of the week, opened the scoring with his 36th of the season off the rush 1:54 in to the second period.

It looked as if the goal would stand until Colton Kerfoot converted a cross-ice pass to beat Williams with 3:26 to go in regulation time.

The Warriors have won five in a row overall and have points in six straight. The latest streak has moved them eight points clear of Salmon Arm in the battle for second in the Interior Division.

The Silverbacks hold three games in hand.

The Warriors hit the road again for a pair of weekend games in Trail Friday and Saturday.



Warriors complete sweep

One big period again propelled the West Kelowna Warriors as they completed a three game weekend road sweep.

The Warriors scored four times in the second period Sunday en route to a 6-3 in over the Chilliwack Chiefs.

The game was scoreless heading into the middle frame when the Warriors outscored their hosts 4-1 to take a commanding lead going into the final period.

As he did over the opening two games of the trip, Jonathan Desbiens led the way offensively.

Desbiens had a goal and two assists giving his 12 points on the three game trip. He has 17 points in five games over the past week.

Garrett Forster also played a big role with his first hat trick of the season. Kyler Hope and Brett Mennear into an empty net also scored for the Warriors.

Keelan Williams stopped 31 of 34 shots he faced to earn the victory.

Forster got the Warriors on the board first when he found the back of the net nearly eight minutes into the second.

The lead lasted just 47 seconds when Austin Adams evened things up for Chilliwack.

But, three goals in a little more than three minutes from Hope, Desbiens and Forster gave the Warriors a commanding three-goal lead.

Forster with his third and Mennear into an empty net closed out the Warriors account.

Chilliwack got one back on a power-play in the final minute to make the final look a little more respectable.

The Warriors have now won four in a row and re 10-2-0-1 since returning from the Christmas break.

They sit six points up on Salmon Arm in the battle for second spot in the Interior Division. Salmon Arm hold three games in hand.

The Warriors continue their road odyssey in Coquitlam Wednesday before venturing to Trail for back-to-back games Friday and Saturday.

They wrap up the road swing Feb 12 in Penticton. The Warriors finally return to Royal LePage place Saturday, Feb. 13 when they entertain Langley.

The Warriors play four of their final five regular season games on home ice.



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