West Kelowna Warriors edge Vernon 4-3 in a shootout on teddy bear toss night

The fur was flying at RLP

Kailus Green got the party started and Jaiden Moriello made sure there were smiles all around at the end as the West Kelowna warriors edged Vernon 4-3 on Teddy Bear Toss night at Royal LePage Place Friday.

Moriello, the Warriors representative at next month's BCHL all-star game in Penticton forced the game into overtime, then scored the only goal in the shootout to secure both points for the Warriors.

The night started on a festive note when Green notched his seventh of the campaign, deftly deflecting Jake Bernadet's pass from a sharp angle high over Vernon netminder Roan Clarke just seconds after a Vernon penalty had expired.

The goal sparked an avalanche of teddy bears and stuffed animals of all kinds from the stands onto the ice.

It took more than five minutes before the hundreds of stuffed animals were collected and driven off the ice to be distributed to seniors home and the Salvation Army.

Once play resumed, the Vipers had a great chance to get the equalizer when Jonathan Horn awarded a penalty shot after he was hauled down on a shorthanded breakaway.

Justin Katz was equal to the task, turning aside Horn who tried to go low to the stick side.

The game was tied at 1-1 early in the second when Ben McDonald scored his eighth from the right circle, but it was the Vipers who gathered some momentum scoring twice in a span of 2:21 to take the lead.

The go ahead goal spelled the end of the night for Katz who was slow to get to the far post, allowing Horn to beat him to the front of the net on a wraparound. The play started innocently enough when Horn fell down while trying to spin by a defender in the Warriors end.

He got up and raced around the net, completing the wraparound to put the Vipers up one.

Katz, who stopped nine of 12 shots over 26 minutes and 45 seconds of work, gave way to Angelo Zol who shut the door the rest of the way.

And, while Zol was perfect for nearly 40 minutes, his counterpart at the other end did everything except cook the hot dogs and park the cars.

Clarke was outstanding over the last half of the game making several incredible saves including a pad save off Luke Devlin who made a power move across the top of the crease from the right wing with the Warriors shorthanded but doing everything they could to generate offence.

Felix Caron had the best chance to tie it but his shot from in close with with an open net to shoot at following a perfect feed from Brennan Nelson on a two-on-one, went through the crease.

But, it was Moriello who made sure the Warriors would have a chance to win it.

With less than flour minutes left in regulation, he took a drop pass from Nelson in the right faceoff circle and roofed a wrist shot past Clarke to force overtime.

Neither team was able to score during an energetic overtime, sending the game to a shootout.

Defenceman Dylan Compton had the best chance for the Vipers in the shootout, but his shot to the far side rang off the post.

With zeros on the board, Moriello stepped up, faked a shot from in close, went to his forehand and slid the puck into the open net.

"We brought him in to be one of our leading scorers and be a guy that can produce and he's doing just the every day," said head coach Simon Ferguson of Moriello.

"He works, he competes and he earns it."

It was the Warriors second win in a row after dropping four straight.

To extend that streak they'll have to do something no one has done this season, beat the Penticton Vees.

The two teams meet Saturday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre, the site of Penticton's 11-2 drubbing of the Warriors two weeks ago.

In fact, over the span of three meetings, the Vees have put up double digits on the Warriors on two occasions.

Ferguson says the Warriors will be to stay out of the penalty box against a team hitting at nearly 37 per cent efficiency with the man advantage.

West Kelowna Warriors host their annual teddy bear toss Friday night

Teddy bears at the ready

West Kelowna Warrior fans hope they don't see a repeat of 2015 at Friday's annual Teddy Bear Toss game at Royal LePage Place.

Fans that year waited anxiously for 58 minutes before they could unleash a barrage of stuffed animals onto the ice when Jonathan Desbiens snapped a scoreless tie against visiting Penticton.

The yearly hockey tradition returns to Royal LePage Place Friday night when the Warriors entertain the Vernon Vipers.

Those at the game are asked to launch their stuffed animals onto the ice when the Warriors score their first goal.

All the animals collected will be distributed to senior's homes and the Salvation Army.

Pet Smart will also be on site selling teddy bears for charity for those fans who did not bring one with them.

Fans are asked to wrap their stuffed animal in a plastic bag for sanitary reasons.

Penticton Vees make trade for new forward amidst 23-game win streak

Vees shake up forwards

The Penticton Vees, coming off an unbroken 23-win streak to start the season, have made a significant trade in their offence.

The Vees have acquired the playing rights to forward Nicholas Degraves in a three-team trade involving the Trail Smoke Eaters and the Brooks Bandits in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL).

Vees forward Ethan Mann will head to the Smoke Eaters as part of the deal.

“It is always difficult to tweak your lineup when things are going well but the opportunity to add a player such as Nic was something we couldn’t pass up,” said Vees president, general manager and head coach Fred Harbinson.

“Nic is a versatile player that also knows what it takes to be a champion ... I can’t thank Ethan enough for the effort he gave in his time in Penticton. He played a big role in our Championship run last season and our great start this year; he will always be a Vee."

Degraves, originally of Edmonton, Alta., is committed to Penn State, and started the 2022-23 season with the Waterloo Blackhawks in the United States Hockey League.

Degraves will travel to Penticton later this week and the team is hopeful he can make his debut Saturday against the West Kelowna Warriors.

The Vees annual Teddy Bear Toss, sponsored by Tim Hortons, is this Saturday, Dec. 3, versus the West Kelowna Warriors; puck drop is 7:00 pm. Tickets are just $17 for adults and $15 for seniors. Youth under 19 are free, courtesy of Peter’s Bros. Construction. Tickets are available at the Valley First box office at the SOEC, or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com.

Luke Devlin scored the game winner as the Warriors put an end to their losing streak

Warriors snap 4 game skid

The West Kelowna Warriors are back in the win column.

Luke Devlin snapped a 3-3 tie with a power play goal six minutes into the third period and the Warriors held on for a 4-3 victory over the Spruce Kings in Prince George Saturday evening.

The goal was his third of the season.

The teams were deadlocked 2-2 after one period and 3-3 after 40 minutes.

Alexi Van Houtte-Cachero opened the scoring two minutes into the game then, after the Spruce Kings turned the tables with power play goals 46 seconds apart, Riley Sharun tied it with his second of the season.

Defenceman Kaiden Schaupmeyer, called up to aid the Warriors depleted blue line picked up his first career BCHL point, an assist on Sharun's goal.

Prince George native Aiden Reeves restored the Warriors lead just 15 seconds into the middle frame before Jake Schneider scored his second of the night to tie it five minutes later.

Justin Katz turned away 27 shots to earn the victory.

Saturday's win moves the Warriors back into a second place tie with the Spruce Kings in the Interior Conference.

The Warriors are off until Friday night when they entertain the Vernon Vipers on Teddy Bear Toss night.

Toss a teddy at a West Kelowna Warriors game

Warriors Teddy Bear Toss

The West Kelowna Warriors Hockey Club is hosting their annual Teddy Bear Toss game next week.

The special game will take place Friday, Dec. 2 against the Vernon Vipers at Royal LePage Place.

The Teddy Bear Toss game is a fan favourite and helps different areas of the community in providing stuffies to places that need them most.

This season, the teddy bears will be distributed around West Kelowna, including approximately 80 bears that will head to seniors centres in the community.

The rest will be donated to the Toy Mountain event that runs from Thursday, Dec. 8 to Saturday, Dec. 10 at Orchard Park Mall in Kelowna.

For the second consecutive season, Kelowna Ford Lincoln will sponsor the night and will be bringing trucks to collect the bears following the Warriors first goal of the game.

Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used stuffed animals wrapped in plastic to throw on the ice.

“We are looking forward to one of our most exciting games of the year,” said Warriors President Chris Laurie.

“We are spreading the stuffed animals around to various beneficiaries this year to increase the positive impact. There will also be bears available at the game by donation. It should be a really fun event.”

The Warriors (12-5-2-0) are back in action with a trip up north as they will get set for a weekend of games against the Prince George Spruce Kings (12-6-1-1) that begins on Friday night at the Kopar Memorial Arena.

Puck drop is slated for 7:00 p.m. on Friday with the game being broadcasted live on AM 1150 as well as streamed online on BCHLTV.ca.

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