For the first time in a month the West Kelowna Warriors failed to move up in the BC Hockey League standings.
Former Warrior Dante Hahn scored the game winner with 78 seconds left in regulation time Tuesday leading the Langley Rivermen to a 4-3 victory over the Warriors at Royal LePage Place.
The goal came two-and-a-half minutes after Brett Mennear banged home his own rebound to tie the game 3-3 and seemingly send it into overtime.
Such was not the case.
The Warriors had a chance to get the equalizer in the dying moments after Langley took a penalty with 1:07 to go in regulation time, however, the Warriors were unable to get the tying goal past the game's number one star Bo Didur.
Jason Cotton had the best chance with seconds left but his attempts to move past a Langley defender was blocked as time expired.
The Warriors controlled much of the play during a scoreless first period and were unlucky not to take a lead into the intermission.
Michael Buonicontri had the best chance to beat Didur, however, the puck rolled off his stick on a clean breakaway.
Both team had numerous chances to score during a wide open second period. Cotton got the Warriors on the board first just 67 second into the period when he jammed home a perfect centering pass from Warriors leading scorer Liam Blackburn.
They came close to making it 2-0 but Didur just got his shoulder on Greydon Robinson's shot from the high slot.
Langley scored twice in a four minute span past the midway mark of the second to take a 2-1 lead before Jonathan Desbiens tied it as he looked off pass on a two-on-one a wired a wrist shot short side from the left circle.
Langley restored the one goal lead early in the third when Ryan Coulter's shot from just inside the blueline found it's way through Andy Desautel's pads setting up the wild finish.
The Warriors had chances in the third but their struggling power-play failed to connect on three third period opportunities.
The power-play has netted just three goals in 35 opportunities over the past seven games.
"We had some looks tonight but I think we just have to worry about getting some shots through from the point," says head coach Rylan Ferster of the power-play.
"If we have to change some personnel then we'll do that too."
Ferster agreed the Warriors played much better in a losing effort Tuesday than they did in a 3-2 overtime win over Victoria on Saturday.
"Well that's where the hockey gods come in. I don't know if we deserved to win that game on Saturday but we win it," says Ferster.
"Tonight we played pretty good...did we deserve to win, I don't know but we certainly played a heck of a lot better tonight."
Ferster says he can't fault the effort Tuesday.
The Warriors will try to get back into the win column Friday when they host division rival Vernon.
The last times the two teams met at RLP the Vipers brat the Warriors 7-4 in a game that featured a game ending brawl.
The teams combined for 147 minutes in penalties and 11 game misconducts at games end.
The league also handed out 30 games in suspensions, 19 to the Vipers and 11 to the Warriors.
The Merritt Centennials continue to have the West Kelowna Warriors number this season.
The Centennials got a goal from defenceman Shane Poulsen at 4:01 of double overtime in a 4-3 win over the Warriors Friday at Royal LePage Place.
The Warriors have dropped all four meeting with the Centennials this season, three in overtime plus a 2-1 loss on home ice in early October.
Poulson's game winner on a breakaway during the three-on-three overtime period came seconds after Jonathan Desbiens shot wide on a breakaway of his own.
Earlier in the second overtime defenceman Nick Rutigliano was stopped on a breakaway following a picture perfect pass from Jordan Masters who returned to the line-up after missing eight games with an injury.
The Warriors jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening period on goals from Rylan Yaremko and Andrew Johnson.
Yaremko's first BCHL goal came on a wrist shot from 15 feet out. Johnson made it 2-0 two minutes later when he beat Anthony Pupplo five-hole on a partial break down the left wing.
The Warriors had chances to increase the lead but Liam Blackburn and Masters both had shots ring off the goal post.
The Centennials took the game over in the second period and, if not for the spectacular netminding of Scott Patton, could easily have gone up four or five.
"No disrespect to Desi (Andy Desautels) and even he said in the locker room if he's (Patton) not playing that way tonight we get shelled probably 7-3," says assistant coach Brent Gough.
"He made some huge saves for us at key times and kept us in the game when we needed some big saves. I think over the last three games when he's been in net he's given us a chance to win every night."
Diego Cuglietta cut the deficit in half midway through the second on a Merritt power-play then Daniel Nachbaur evened it on a shorthanded breakaway 29 seconds into the third.
Merritt took its first lead of the game midway through the third on another power-play before Jason Cotton evened the score on a Warriors power-play with 1:43 remaining in regulation time.
Both teams had a chance to end it with power-play chances in the four-on-four overtime period, however neither was able to find the back of the net until Poulsen's game winner in the dying moments.
"I thought we played a good 20 minutes and went up 2-0 and maybe we thought they would pack it up and go home but they're a good hockey club...they work hard and fought to get back in the game," says Gough.
The Warriors dominated the season series with the Centennials the past two seasons, going 13-0-1-1, but this season, those roles have been completely reversed.
"For some reason we just can't find a way to win or close it out. We've been up a few times on them and we can't figure it out.
The good thing is we get a crack at it again tomorrow to get back at it."
The Warriors will host the Victoria Grizzlies Saturday at Royal LePage Place.
The Grizzlies will be in a snarly mood after losing 10-4 in Trail Friday to open their three game Interior road trip.
While the Warriors have now lost two in a row in overtime they have also managed to pick up points in 10 straight games (6-0-4-0).
The single point keeps the Warriors in second spot in the Interior Division three points better than Vernon and Merritt.
A good defensive effort went for naught as the Langley Rivermen knocked off West Kelowna with a 2-1 win in double overtime on Remembrance Day in Langley.
A slow start to the first period saw limited chances and tight checking hockey.
The Rivermen opened up the scoring at 18:20 of the opening frame when Matthew Graham fired a shot from the point after a Warrior turnover.
The 2nd period say more big saves from both goaltenders, as Bo Didur and Scott Patton stopped everything thrown their way.
There would also be some big hits in the period, as Gage Torrel was given two and 10 for a blow to the head on Mac Ferner in the middle frame. Kyle Marino also decked Jacob Kearley as he reached up for a high puck.
Early in the 3rd Jonathan Desbiens executed a perfect three-on-two rush, snapping a shot over Didur’s shoulder after a great pass from Andrew Johnson.
The Warriors held the Rivermen to just a single shot on goal in the 3rd period as the teams headed to overtime knotted at 1-1..
In the first OT, West Kelowna had a late power-play opportunity as Jason Cotton hit the post on a one-timer in the slot.
Once the penalty expired and the teams reverted to 3 on 3, the Rivermen got a turnover down low and Jacob Kearley snapped home the game winner while standing all alone in front of Patton, who was named second star.
Next up for the Warriors a Friday night tilt against the Merritt Centennials at Royal LePage Place.
Scott Patton turned aside everything fired his way and West Kelowna jumped on a tired Prince George Spruce Kings early in a Warriors 5-0 win Sunday at Royal LePage Place.
Patton stopped 42 shots in registering his first career BC Hockey League win.
"That game was a lot of fun but more importantly they're a really good team over there so we knew what we had to do," says Patton.
"Anytime you stop all the pucks I wouldn't say it's a reflection of the goaltender but it's a reflection of a team. I think we'll all really enjoy this and keep moving forward."
Patton gave credit to his defence for clearing out the front of the net and allowing him to see most of the shots fired his way.
The Warriors took advantage of a Prince George team playing its third game in less than three days.
West Kelowna scored four times on their first eight shots and hung on the rest of the way.
Michael Bounincontri led the way with a goal and two assists while newcomer Brayden Gelsinger scored once and added an assist giving him three goals and three assists in three games since being acquired from Cowichan Valley earlier in the week.
Mac Ferner with his first of the season, Brett Mennear and Jason Cotton also scored for the Warriors.
Buonincontri got the Warriors rolling with what proved to be the game winner five minutes into the first when he stole the puck at centre ice, broke in all alone and beat starter Jesse Jenks to the blocker side.
Ferner doubled the lead four minutes later when his wrist shot from the point beat Jenks high glove side.
Mennear chased Jenks from the next a little more than two minutes later when his wrist shot from the left circle beat Jenks high to the glove side.
The goal was set up by a picture perfect blind pass from Buonincontri in the neutral zone that sprung Mennear down the left wing.
Jenks was pulled in favour of Alex Brooks-Potts after allowing three goals on just six shots.
Gelsinger made it 4-0 minutes later when he won a race for a loose puck in the Spruce Kings end and threw the puck on goal from a sharp angle that found a way past Brooks-Potts.
Cotton rounded out the scoring in the third when he deflected Kristian Blumenschein's point shot on a Warriors power-play.
Despite the lopsided win score Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster says the play on the ice wasn't indicative of a 5-0 score.
"It's like you said you don't like to critique wins but we were very opportunistic early, got a couple fortuitous bounces and we are lucky to get up early," says Warriors head coach Ferster.
"Give them credit, playing three in three with a heck of a lot of travel. Our goalie had to make some saves but again I think we were fortunate to get that win."
Ferster says the team still has some things to clean up but, in the ultra-tight Interior Division, he'll take two points any time he can get them.
"We're still a work in progress...it's about guys all buying in.
You can't four guys on the ice buying in or three guys, all five guys have to buy in on the ice for team defence. Like I said it's still a work in progress."
Sunday's win kept the Warriors three points up on the third place Vernon Vipers after Vernon won 3-0 in Trail.
Merritt is five back with Salmon Arm six behind the second place Warriors.
West Kelowna remains 10 points behind Penticton with two games in hand.
The Warriors travel to Langley for a Nov 11 tilt against the Eagles before returning home to host the Centennials Friday.
The West Kelowna Warriors saw their four game winning streak come to an end Friday with a 5-4 overtime loss in Merritt.
Matt Foley scored the game winner with just 47 seconds left in the first overtime period in a seesaw game that saw the Warriors late three one goal leads only to have the Centennials get the equalizer on each occasion.
Merritt opened up the scoring at 5:42 on a goal from Michael Ederer after a great pass from Colin Grannary.
Edered snapped it between the pads of Andy Desautels.
The Warriors needed only 56 seconds to tie it up, as Jonathan Desbiens finished off a beautiful three-way passing play with Liam Blackburn and Brayden Gelsinger, who picked up his 3rd point in 2 games for West Kelowna.
Blackburn put the Warriors up 2-1 at 14:01 on a nifty deflection from a Mac Ferner point shot, which beat Anthony Pupplo.
This time it would be Merritt tying it up 57 seconds later as Grannary worked hard to get to the front of the net and Ederer picked up his 2nd goal on the rebound.
Early in the 2nd period, Greydon Robinson sent a low wrister on goal which Andrew Johnson tipped to Desbiens who potted his 2nd of the night to give the Warriors a lead.
Merritt still wouldn’t go away, getting a goal from Grannary as he snapped the puck past Desautels once again to tie it.
It was more of the same in the third as Gelsinger scored early in the frame to make it 4-3, but the Centennials responded with a goal at 2:46 on the power-play.
Both teams went into a bit of a defensive shell after that for the remainder of the game, and it wasn’t until overtime where the big chances to score came.
Moments after the Warriors had a pair of opportunities to end it, Foley picked up the winner on a 2 on 1 to earn the 5-4 win.
Despite the overtime loss the Warriors still pick up the single point giving them point in seven straight games (5-0-0-2)
Warriors are back on Sunday at 2:30 at Royal Lepage Place to take on the Prince George Spruce Kings.
There will be a free skate after the game with Warriors players as well.
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