The West Kelowna Warriors scored twice in a span of 19 seconds early in the third period en route to a well-deserved 4-2 win over the visiting Wenatchee Wild Saturday at Royal LePage Place.
It was the first loss of the season for the Wild, who came into Saturday's game with a 5-0-1-0 record.
Kyler Hope, the game's first star, knotted the game at 2-2 when he came off the side wall, cut the the left circle and fired a shot that beat Garrett Nieto short side.
While that goal was being announced, Jonathan Desbiens and Garrett Forster broke in two-on-one.
Debsiens fed a perfect centering pass to Forster, who tapped home his third of the season to give the Warriors a 3-2 lead.
Liam Blackburn closed out the scoring with his fourth when he broke in all alone shorthanded and beat Nieto five-hole.
Kyle Marino scored the other goal as he opened the scoring in the final minute of the opening frame.
Hope and Marino each had an assist to go along with their goals.
The win came just three days after the Warriors suffered their worst defeat in franchise history, a 9-1 setback in Merritt.
"We want to put that one as far behind us as possible," said Hope of the game in Merritt.
"Obviously, this is a team that hadn't lost a game, and we knew we had to play a hard game to beat them, and I think we did that."
Down a goal in the second, Wenatchee took advantage of six Warriors penalties in the second period to score twice on the power-play and grab a 2-1 lead.
It was a period that had both the Warriors bench – and their fans – a little testy.
At one point, the Warriors took a bench minor after Hope appeared to be clipped around the mouth with a stick without a penalty being called.
In all, the Warriors were shorthanded 11 times during the contest, but were able to kill off nine of those and net a shorthanded tally.
The Warriors had just four chances on the power-play, three of those coming in the final period.
"I thought both teams played hard and didn't give up a lot but, we were shorthanded most of the night, which was unfortunate," said Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster.
"I feel sorry for the fans who came here and had to see us shorthanded like that. I don't think they got to see the best of two teams being able to go at it."
The Warriors were far and away the better team five-on-five and completely shut down the Wild in the third period, allowing just one shot, a high, desperation slapper with 0.6 seconds remaining on the clock. Even that shot appeared to be heading over the net.
The Warriors defence did a superb job, especially during the third of getting in front of getting bodies in front of pucks and sticks into passing lanes.
Newly signed netminder Stephen Heslop turned aside 16 shots to record his first win of the season.
Heslop, 20, was signed out of Princeton in the KIJHL after the club traded away 20-year-old Danial Mannella.
The Warriors have now won three of their last four and move into third spot in the Interior Division, two points in back of Salmon Arm.
They'll look to make it two for two in October when they entertain the Coquitlam Express Tuesday night.
The West Kelowna Warriors have made a couple of moves in an effort to shore up their goaltending.
The Warriors, with a team goals against average of 3.86, sent 20-year-old netminder Daniel Mannella and 18-year-old defenceman Jake Tesarowski to the Melville Millionaires of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
In exchange, the Warriors acquired the CJHL plying rights to 19-year-old goaltender Trevor Martin and future considerations.
Mannella, acquired in an off-season deal for Scott Patton, struggled early in the season with the Warriors. He posted a 1-2 record with a 5.44 goals against average and a .812 save percentage.
Martin, is currently with the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL, who are the hosts the 2016 Mastercard Memorial Cup.
Last season in Melville, Martin went 10-9, with a 2.15 goals against average and a .929 save percentage.
He also played all 6 playoff games for the Millionaires.
In a related move, the Warriors have added 20-year-old Stephen Heslop from the Princeton Posse of the KIJHL to round out the goaltending duo with Forbes Ploszaj.
Heslop, played six regular season games for the Warriors last season as an affiliate player, posting a 2.89 goals against average and a .923 save percentage.
He also saw action in three playoff games, including a 47 save performance in a triple overtime loss to the Penticton Vees.
Heslop and Ploszaj will share the netminding duties beginning Saturday night when the Warriors host the 5-0-1-0 Wenatchee Wild.
The Wild suffered the first blemish on their perfect start to the season Friday night, a 4-4 tie in Salmon Arm.
It's the first ever Battle of the 'Border.
For the first time in their brief existence, the West Kelowna Warriors will host a team from outside B.C. in a regular-season B.C. Hockey League game.
The expansion Wenatchee Wild will make their first and only regular-season stop at Royal LePage Place Saturday night.
The Wild have rolled through the opening portion of the schedule, going 5-0 while outscoring opponents 24-7.
"I got to see them at the Showcase, and they're good. They're a fast, structured, skilled team," said Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster.
"Their record is indicative of where they are. I think it'll be fun for everybody, but I hope our team doesn't stand around and watch them."
Ferster said he'll watch the Wild one more time tonight (Friday) in Salmon Arm and pass along as much information as he can to the team.
The Warriors have been a model of inconsistency so far.
West Kelowna looked solid in every facet of the game at the Showcase in Chilliwack last weekend, winning 2-1 and 4-1 then putting in an awful performance in a 9-1 shellacking in Merritt, Wednesday.
"Losses have to hurt whether they're 2-1 or 9-1. I'm probably going to take that one a lot harder because I have to watch the tape and go through things," said Ferster.
"We weren't very good, and that's obvious."
Saturday's game will also mark the home debut of newly acquired defencemen Scott Allan and Bryan Nelson.
The Warriors play 10 of their next 14 on home ice and are 2-1 at home so far this season.
The Vernon Vipers announced several roster moves Thursday ahead of their three game Island Division road trip.
The most significant involved a pair of goaltenders.
The Vipers sent overage goaltender Jarrod Schamerhorn to Merritt for future considerations.
That move allowed the Vipers to sign former Penticton Vee goaltender Brendan Barry. The 17-year-old product of Kelowna is entering his second full season in the BCHL after playing 14 games last year.
Barry was released by the Vees after their first game of the season, for what the team called a violation of team policy.
He is committed to Clarkson in the NCAA. As a member of the Okanagan Rockets in 2014-15, Barry backstopped his team to an appearance at the Telus Cup National Midget Championship.
Vernon has also added the 1998-born forward Zack Andrusiak to the team. The 5’11, 180-pound
forward was a late cut of the Tri City Americans of the WHL after spending last season with the
North Okanagan Knights of the KIJHL.
In a final move, the Vipers sent 19-year-old forward Nic Rasovic to the Drayton Valley Thunder
of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in exchange for future considerations.
Rasovic had one assist in five games with the Vipers.
Vernon begins a three game road trip Friday in Powell River. The trip also includes stops in Nanaimo Saturday and Victoria Sunday.
The West Kelowna Warriors suffered the worst defeat in franchise history.
The Warriors surrendered five unanswered goals in the first period en route to an embarrassing 9-1 defeat in Merritt Wednesday night.
The previous franchise low was a 9-2 home ice loss to Salmon Arm in just the second game the franchise had played, on Sept. 9, 2006, the second game.
The five first period goals tied a franchise mark for most goals allowed in a period, also established in 2006 during a 9-7 loss to Victoria.
The Warriors also made five goaltending changes during Wednesday's defeat.
The line of Colin Grannary, Gavin Gould, and Zak Bowles combined for 16 points in the game to pace the Centennials.
Bowles led the way with three goals and two assists. Gould had a goal and five assists while Grannary added a goal and four assists.
Ryan Finnegan, Mitch Lipon, Nick Jermain, and Nick Fidanza also scored for Merritt.
Liam Blackburn scored the lone Warriors goal on a power-play six minutes into the second.
Merritt outshot West Kelowna 31-30 on the night.
The onslaught came just days after the Warriors allowed only two goals while sweeping their two games at the Bauer BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack.
The Warriors return to action Saturday night when they host the unbeaten Wenatchee Wild.
The game marks Wenatchee's only regular season visit to Royal LePage Place this season.
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