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.
Nov 26, 2013 / 10:00 pm
The song remains the same for the West Kelowna Warriors - lose the special teams battle, lose a game.
The Warriors gave up two power-play goals and came up dry on their five opportunities in a 3-2 loss to the Penticton Vees Tuesday at Royal LePage Place.
West Kelowna jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the game was seven minutes old on a pair of goals from Jordon Masters but a missed opportunity with a brief five-on-three power-play opened the door for the Vees.
Paul Stoykewych got the visitors on the board on Penticton's first odd-man advantage late in the first then Ben Dalpe got the equalizer on their second power-play chance midway through the second.
Brad McClure scored what stood up as the winner 2:28 into the third when his backhand from the bottom of the circle on an innocent looking rush beat Warriors netminder Andy Desautels.
The Warriors didn't get any quality chances the rest of the way.
Special teams have been the Warriors Achilles Heal all season long.
Warriors coach Rylan Ferster says the struggles haven't been for lack of effort.
"We spend a lot of time on it. I've said before special teams come down to coaching but it's certainly not because we haven't put a lot of time and a lot of effort into it," says Ferster.
"As a staff we have so I don't want to throw anybody under the bus. It's unfortunate right now."
Masters who plays quality minutes on the power-play says he doesn't believe the players are getting frustrated.
"I think we go out there and we try to work hard but I think a few little things are off on our units and I think practice needs to be a little bit better and we need to work a little bit harder," says Masters.
"I think right now we have a few guys that are going off on their own but I think as a team we need to change that and I think we'll be rewarded down the road."
Masters got the Warriors going in the right direction early. He grabbed a rebound off David Pope's shot, took his time and roofed a shot over a fallen Hunter Miska.
Less than two minutes later off a face-off to Miska's right Masters and center Seb Lloyd worked a set piece to perfection as Lloyd tapped the puck forward to Masters who cut to the front of the net and out waited to put the Warriors up 2-0.
Masters says the set play was called at the last minute after the Vees changed their face-off set up.
"He just said I'm pushing it right through - go to the back post and that's exactly how it went."
After the late power-play goal in the first the Vees carried all the momentum into the middle frame one in which they dominated throughout.
"I don't think we had a lot of push back when they came at us," says Ferster.
"You want to give them credit, they're a good team, they play the same way every night. We knew how they were going to play but again I didn't think we had the kind of push back we needed."
The loss was the Warriors sixth in nine games in November dropping their record over the month to 2-6-1-0.
They remain tied with Salmon Arm for fourth in the Interior Division with 31 points, three behind third place Merritt and four in back of the second place Vernon Vipers.
The Warriors again try to write the ship Saturday when they say goodbye to November against the Langley Rivermen at Royal LePage Place.
Nov 23, 2013 / 9:35 pm
Carl Hesler's shorthanded goal 6:24 into the third period allowed the West Kelowna Warriors to skate out of Vernon with a 2-2 overtime tie.
Hesler's second shorthanded goal of the season came off a nice feed from Brett Mennear just 10 seconds after Ryan Ivey was sent to the box for cross checking.
Adam Osczevski with his first goal and point in the BC Hockey League also scored for the Warriors who clawed back from a 2-0 deficit to get the single point.
Demico Hannoun in the first and Dexter Dancs just 1:27 into the second staked the Vipers to a 2-0 lead.
However, Osczevski scored just 1:27 after Dancs' goal to bring the Warriors back to within one.
The Warriors had one final opportunity with the man advantage late in the third to earn the victory in regulation time but were unable to get the go-ahead goal past Austin Smith.
Andy Desautels, who faced 36 shots in the Warriors net made several key saves near the end of regulation time to set up overtime.
He also was forced to make two or three big saves in the second overtime period.
The first overtime was all Warriors as Vernon netminder Austin Smith came up big with several spectacular saves to hold the Warriors to a single point.
West Kelowna outshot Vernon 46-36 including 12-6 in overtime.
The single point, coupled with Salmon Arm's 4-3 loss in Prince George allowed the Warriors to climb back into a fourth place tie with the Silverbacks.
West Kelowna has two games in hand.
The Vipers moved into sole possession of top spot in the Interior Division a point up on Merritt after the Centennials fell 2-1 in Surrey.
Penticton moved into a second place tie with Merritt when they earned a single point in a 2-1 overtime loss to Coquitlam.
Four points still separate the top five teams in the Interior Division.
The Warriors are now off until Tuesday when they host the Penticton Vees in another key four-pointer in the interior.
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