The West Kelowna Warriors earned themselves five of a possible six points on a successful island road trip over the weekend.
The Warriors, minus several regulars due to injury or suspension, rode back-up netminder Scott Patton all weekend, concluding the trip with a 6-5 win in Victoria Sunday.
The win followed a 4-3 win in Nanaimo and a 6-5 overtime defeat in Cowichan Valley.
The Warriors battled back from a deep early hole Sunday in the provincial capital, finding themselves down 3-0 to the Grizzlies by the 5:09 mark of the opening frame.
Andrew Johnson with his first as a Warriors late in the first and Hunter Zandee four minutes into the second cut the deficit to one.
The Grizzlies, on two occasions were able to stretch the lead back to two, however, two goals from Michael Buonincontri on Warriors power-plays, one late in the second and another early in the third, brought the Warriors even.
Johnson's second of the game near the seven minute mark proved to be the game winner.
Buonincontri scored the other Warriors goal to complete his first hat trick in a Warriors' uniform.
Kristian Blumenschein picked up three assists while league scoring leader Liam Blackburn added a pair of helpers.
Sunday's win moved the Warriors into a second place tie with Merritt in the ultra competitive Interior Division.
The Warriors and Centennials are a point better than Vernon and two up on both Trail and Salmon Arm.
West Kelowna complete their road odyssey Friday in Salmon Arm before opening up the month of November at home Saturday against the same Silverbacks.
The West Kelowna Warriors snapped a four game losing streak Friday as they opened a three game island road trip with a 4-3 win in Nanaimo.
The Warriors came back from two goals down to record their first win since a 5-3 home ice win over Cowichan Valley nearly three weeks ago.
The Warriors actually got on the board first at 5:07 when Brett Mennear snapped a perfect shot over the pad of Nanaimo’s Guillaume Decelles after a nifty pass play from Adam Osczevski.
The Clippers were resilient in tying the game up, as Sheldon Rempal banged home a loose puck after Scott Patton was spun around by his own defenseman.
That would be a sign of things to come as, in the second frame, Patton twice ended up on his face with a d-man on top of him, and the Clippers capitalized as Nick Gushue and Cole Maier made it 3-1 with goals two minutes apart.
The Warriors pressed for the next goal and were rewarded on the power-play as Jason Cotton roofed a puck in tight.
The Clippers argued it hit the crossbar but it was definitely on the mesh to make it 3-2.
The Warriors dominated most of the final period looking for the equalizer but needed some big saves from Patton to keep them in it.
West Kelowna eventually got the equalizer at 7:23 as Liam Blackburn spun off the side wall, fanned on his shot, but it watched it trickle over the pad to make it 3-3.
The Warriors continued to battle back and were rewarded when Blackburn started a rush with Jonathan Desbiens and, with an aerial pass across, Desbiens knocked the puck out of mid air for what stood up as the game winning goal.
Patton picked up the win making 34 saves.
Cotton picked up 3rd start honours, and Blackburn was the first star with a goal and 2 assists.
The Warriors continue their island road swing Saturday in Cowichan before finish up in Victoria Sunday.
The Vernon Vipers scored a pair of shorthanded goals and two more with the man advantage to spark a 7-4 victory over the West Kelowna Warriors Saturday at Royal LePage Place.
The game was chippy throughout featuring numerous post whistle scrums and cheap shots culminating in an all out brawl after the final whistle blew.
When the dust settled, the teams were assessed 102 minutes in penalties including six fighting majors, seven game misconducts and a minor penalty to Vernon netminder Danny Todosychuk who left his crease and to scrap with Warriors Kade Kehoe.
West Kelowna netminder Andy Desautels stayed at centre ice and didn't join in the fracas.
"Obviously tempers are going to be flaring at the end although I didn't think it needed to get that far," says Warriors assistant coach, Brent Gough.
"I thought there guy was the third man in there in the fight between (Kyle) Marino and (Ryley) Booth then everybody just paired up and it goes from there. It happens and we'll deal with it whatever the league is going to do."
Vipers Riley Brandt was handed a double game misconduct for being the third man into the initial scrap, touching off two other fights before the ice was finally cleared.
As for the game itself, the Warriors grabbed a 2-0 lead before the game was 11 minutes old getting goals from Liam Blackburn and Michael Buonincontri.
They had a chance to build on the lead on the power-play, however, the Vipers would be the ones who struck, getting a shorthanded tally from Liam Coughlin to cut the deficit in half and seize control of the game.
"I thought we played a real good seven minutes or so...we were up 2-0 and I think our guys thought it was going to be an easy night," says Gough.
"We give up a shorthanded goal and then it looked like the got another one but they batted it in. Then they get another shortlanded goal similar to the first one."
Gough says the team can't give up two shorthanded goals and expect to win hockey games.
The Vipers tied it early in the second period on a five minute power-play, just their second power-play goal of the season.
After Vernon took a 3-2 lead, Jason Cotton got the Warriors back on even terms with his fifth of the season, a one timer from the low slot on a deft feed from Buonincontri at the side of the net.
The Vipers second shorthanded tally, a backhand from former Warrior TJ Dumonceaux broke the deadlock and sent the Vipers on their way.
Anthony Latina, a thorn in the Warriors side all night long, scored twice for the Vipers including the clinching goal into an empty net.
Jordan Masters scored the other goal for the Warriors who have dropped four in a row and five of six.
"We need to get back to some simple hockey and we are making mistakes we shouldn't be making 10 games into the season...even by veterans.
We need to get back to simple hockey, compete every shift and pay attention to the little details and get this ship back on track."
The Warriors will get a chance to right the ship on the road where they have played better this season.
They make their first extended road swing of the season through Nanaimo, Cowichan Valley and Victoria next weekend then travel to Salmon Arm before finally returning home to host the Silverbacks Nov 1.
The West Kelowna Warriors squandered a brilliant effort from goaltender Andy Desautels in a 4-0 loss to the visiting Penticton Vees Saturday at Royal LePage Place.
Despite allowing three goals over 40 minutes before leaving with an undisclosed upper body injury, Desautels made several point blank saves to give his teammates a chance to get back into the game.
Desautels robbed Lewis Zerter-Gossage and Tyson Jost with spectacular windmill glove saves after stoning Jack Ramsey with a quick pad save off a rebound during a Vees power-play.
"I thought Andy played really well," says head coach Rylan Ferster. "He gave us a chance to win.
But, when you get outshot two to one in your building you're not going to have much of a chance to win the game."
Zerter-Gosaage scored the only goal of the opening period when he took a feed in front of Desautels, quickly went forehand to backhand and tucked the puck into the far corner.
The Warriors had a chance to get back into the game with two early second period power-plays.
They controlled the puck for much of the time but were unable to beat Vees netminder Hunter Miska.
Moments later, Demico Hannoun scored his first of two when he took a pass from Zerter-Gossage and wired a one-timer from the right circle past Desautels.
Penticton took over from there, buzzing the Warriors net seemingly at will. Over a 10 minute span, they fired 15 consecutive shots on Desautels with no response from the Warriors.
Matthew Serratore put to rest any thought of a comeback when his shot from the bottom of the left faceoff circle found its way into the net with just 4.5 seconds left in the middle period.
Back-up Scott Patton replaced Desautels to start the third and allowed the final goal from Hannoun and a smart feed from Zerter-Gossage on a two-on-one break.
"We don't score in our own building. We're going to have to score at least one if we want to win a hockey game," added Ferster.
The Warriors lost the opening half of the home-and-home set Friday night in Penticton when the Vees scored twice in the final three minutes to erase a one goal deficit.
Ferster says he doesn't think Saturday's effort was a hangover from Friday's defeat.
"You like to think not. Last night we gave ourselves a chance to win the game and didn't and obviously it was a couple of bad bounces," say Ferster.
"Tonight we just didn't have an opportunity from the start. But, give them credit, they worked hard for 60 minutes."
The Vees outshot the Warriors 47-29 including a 21-10 edge during the decisive second period.
The Warriors have now lost two in a row and three of their last four.
They get a chance to right the ship next weekend. The Warriors play in Merritt Friday before returning home to host the Vernon Vipers Saturday.
The Penticton Vees scored twice in the final three minutes Friday to eke out a 4-3 victory over the visiting West Kelowna Warriors.
The West Kelowna Warriors trailed early on Friday night, battled back to take a lead, before ultimately falling to their Southern Interior rivals.
An early shorthanded marker from Matt Serratore got the Vees off on the right foot, and they'd follow that up with a Tyson Jost marker to get off to a 2-0 lead.
The Warriors pressured with the man advantage late in the opening frame, as Jonathan Desbiens got his fifth of the season on a tap in from a Jason Cotton pass.
In the middle frame, the Warriors were noticeably better, and at 14:10 on the power-play once again, Kristian Blumenschein got his first goal in the BCHL on a wrister while leading the rush to tie it up after 40 minutes.
The Warriors took their first lead of the game thanks to another career first at 8:15 when Cole Plotnikoff raced in and fired a shot that got re-directed past Brendan Barry.
The Vees did not quit, and late in the final period Jost scored his second of the night while falling in the slot to tie it up.
The Warriors were hemmed into their own zone during a last minute foray, one player without a stick, and Riley Alferd took advantage with 19.1 on the clock to grab the winning goal in a 4-3 Vees victory.
The Warriors won't have long to languish in the defeat as they get a chance to even the score Saturday when the two teams complete the home-and-home series at Royal LePage Place.
Face off is 7 p.m. The box office opens at 6.
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