Last second sinks Warriors

The West Kelowna Warriors were seconds away from leaving the Poirier Sports Centre in Coquitlam with at least a single point Wednesday.

They left with nothing.

Blake Hayward snapped a 2-2 with 17 seconds left on the clock, leading the Coquitlam Express to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Warriors.

The loss extends the Warriors winless streak to five games.

Following a scoreless first, the Express jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals 58 seconds apart early in the second.

Cal Babych and Luca Leone each twinkled the twine to give the home side the early advantage.

The Warriors chipped away at the deficit three minutes later when Parm Dhaliwal scored his first BCHL goal.

Dhaliwal converted a perfect backdoor feed from Chase Dubois on a Warriors power-play to cut the margin to one.

Braiden Epp completed the comeback 90 seconds into the third when he found the loose puck in a scramble in front of the Coquitlam net for his fourth of the campaign.

Despite the loss, the Warriors outshot Coquitlam 38-22 on the night.

The Warriors will try and find the win column again Saturday when they entertain the Interior Division leading Penticton Vees, 7 p.m. at Royal LePage Place.


First home loss of the year

Dustin Godfrey

The Penticton Vees had their first home-game loss of the season over the weekend against the Nanaimo Clippers.

That follows two wins at home and in Langley against the Rivermen last week, putting the team at 11 wins and two losses so far.

The team is still leading the league, but what matters most is where they are at by the end of the season, according to Vees head coach Fred Harbinson in this week's edition of Vees' View.

Harbinson talked the week past, games to come and Vee Johnny Tychonick representing Canada.

Vees drop gloves on cancer

The Penticton Vees Jr. A Hockey Club, in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society, has announced the Vees Fight Cancer Night  to take place on Oct. 26 during its game against the Surrey Eagles at the SOEC.

It’s the Vees’ second “Wicked Wednesday of the season with tickets for the game going for just $5 for adults and seniors, while students and children under 18 are free.

Beverage discounts are back on Wicked Wednesdays, with draft beer at $3.75 and fountain pop is just $2.50.

Longtime Vees fan Jon Race will be cutting his signature long locks at centre ice and donating his hair through the Canadian Cancer Society to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program. That program makes wigs and donates them back into the community for those fighting cancer.

“I’ve been growing my hair for almost seven years and it’s got to a length now where I could do something good with it," said Race. 

"Cancer touches everyone in this day and age, and I’m happy I can help out in my own way.”

First Choice Haircutters Penticton will be donating haircutting services. 

Fans can meet Race on the concourse prior to the game and make a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society. Fans that make a donation will be entered into a draw to win a Vees jersey signed by the 2015-16 team, including first round NHL draft picks, Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro.

Vees fans are being challenged to help raise $1,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society. If that total is met, Vees broadcaster Fraser Rodgers, RCMP Corporal Don Wrigglesworth and Fire Chief Larry Watkinson will all shave their heads during the game. 

Fans can donate on the team’s fundraising page at www.cancer.ca and search “VeesFightCancer.”

The Vees are also sporting pink breast cancer awareness ribbons on the back of their helmets for the month of October.

It’s also the Vees’ annual Trick-or-Suite night at the SOEC. Children 12 and under accompanied by a parent, will have the opportunity to “Trick-or-Treat” on the suite level in the first intermission. We want to see your best Halloween costumes!

Fans can get their tickets in advance at the Valley First box office at the SOEC. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Warriors stymied again

After a promising start, the West Kelowna Warriors have fallen on hard times.

The Warriors have won just once in their last seven games - their latest setback, a 6-4 defeat on home ice to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

And, as was the case Friday in Salmon Arm, the Warriors couldn't hold an early lead.

Friday, the blew a 4-0 lead, losing 5-4 in overtime. Saturday, it was a 20 lead that disappeared.

"We blow a lead again. But again, five goals on 25 shots," said Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster.

Reed Gunville got the Warriors going early, banging home a juicy rebound from the bottom of the faceoff circle. Connor Sodergren doubled the lead when his shot found it's way through Silverbacks netminder Trevin Kozlowski and in.

But, as was the case before, the Silverbacks pecked away. Riley Booth scored his first of two to cut the deficit before the end of the first. Then goals from Connor Sundquist and Josh Blanchard less than three minutes apart in the second put the visitors up one.

Jon Russell's first in the BCHL on a rebound drew the club's even late in the period, but just two minutes later, the Silverbacks retook the lead on a power-play.

Trailing 5-3 late, Quin Foreman scored his team-leading eighth with just under two minutes to go and goalie Shane Farkas on the bench for an extra attacker.

After Kozlowski shot the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty, the Warriors had a six-on-four advantage for the final 81 seconds, but were unable to find the equalizer. Booth' hit the empty net in the dying seconds to ice it.

"It's real frustrating. Nobody likes to lose.

"That room certainly feels bad too. We all feel bad. We're in it together."

Again, the Warriors outshot the opposition, holding a 43-26 edge, but, as has been the case much of the season, were unable to find a key goal at the right time.

The Warriors look to get back on the right track in Coquitlam before returning home to host the Interior Division leading Penticton Vees Saturday.

Vees win eighth straight

Make it eight in a row and counting for the Penticton Vees.

The Vees scored twice with the man advantage in a 3-1 win over the Langley Rivermen at the SOEC.

Grant Cruikshank, Taylor Ward and Jonny Tychonick all scored for the Vees, while Mat Robson stopped 21 of 22 shots directed his way.

Trevor Ayre replied for the Rivermen.

Penticton pressured an undermanned Rivermen early and often, but had trouble cracking the armour of netminder Bo Didur. Midway through the opening period, the Vees finally capitalized.

Cruikshank took the puck away from the Langley defenceman at the blue-line, before breaking in alone on goal. On his backhand, he tucked the puck around a sprawled Didur at 10:18 for his team-leading ninth.

Despite firing 18-shots on net in the first period, the Vees took a one-goal lead into the intermission.

Penticton continued to pressure in the second, but Didur stood tall, time and again, keeping the Rivermen within striking distance.

Ayre tied things up for the Rivermen late in the second, with just over three minutes left. The Langley forward navigated his way into the face-off circle, before beating Robson five-hole at 16:55.

It took until the four-minute mark of third period for the Vees to get their first power-play, but they made the most of the opportunity as their man advantage was winding down.

Ty Barnstable centered to Taylor Ward at the back-post, and he got enough of his shot to get it up and over the pad of Didur five and a half minutes in. Ward’s third of the season turned out to be the game-winner.

The Vees are now 10-1 on the season and 3-0 at home.

The two teams conclude a home-and-home series Friday in Langley.

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