Nick Rutigliano blasted home a shot from the point on a power-play 28 seconds into overtime Friday leading the West Kelowna Warriors to a 3-2 pre-season win over the Trail Smoke Eaters.
The win evened the Warriors exhibition record at 1-1.
It was the third power-play goal on the night for the Warriors who also got markers from Connor Sodergren and Reed Gunville.
Forbes Ploszaj, seeing his first action of pre-season, allowed two goals while playing the first half of the game. Daniel Paul kept the Smokies off the board over the final 30 minutes plus 28 seconds of overtime.
While the win was nice it's all about the process for Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster as he as able to sprinkle in more players who will be part of the opening night roster.
On Friday, Ferster threw together a line of Sodergren with Gunville and Quin Foreman. Three players he expects to crack the opening night roster.
The trio controlled the puck almost at will every time they were on the ice contributing to all three goals.
Ferster said it wasn't a conscious effort to put the three together because of something he saw in practice.
"In pre-season you are just trying to get guys into games early on. We have six games so you're just trying to filter guys in," said Ferster.
"Those are three guys who we are are going to be here so we thought we'd play them together. Obviously they had some chemistry. They could be a line but the more you filter guys in the more you find some combinations."
He said he'll keep that combination in the back of his find for future reference later in the pre-season.
Ferster said the pre-season, like the regular season, is about a process. It's about getting to know the players and getting a feel for the players.
Of course, some curve balls get thrown in at the same time.
"It's not as easy as one thinks. There's always surprises at camp and there's always something that jumps out at you that you wouldn't think would have.
"There's guys that jump out at you - like tonight. I thought there were some real competitive efforts from some guys I had some real question marks on. So, it's almost back to the drawing board again."
It's also a good problem to have.
"The tougher our jobs as coaches the better team we should have. You want to make tough decisions. I think that's what being a leader or a GM or a coach is all about."
The Warriors and Trail will hook up again Saturday night in Trail.
The next home game for the Warriors is Saturday, Sept. 5 against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
The Penticton Vees got goals in each period Wednesday in a 3-2 victory over the West Kelowna Warriors in the pre-season opener for both teams.
The game featured only a small handful of players who will factor into the season opening line-up.
The majority are younger players looking to make an impression for next season.
"There are a few guys we liked of course and it gives some young guys an opportunity when they come to camp," said Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster.
"First and foremost they are playing a really good team over there. No matter who's in those jerseys they're playing the Penticton Vees and I think it's fun for those guys to play them."
Ferster said there were some nerves early on but thought the players settled down and had some real good chances, especially on the power-play.
Peter Zhong's second of the night early in the third proved to be the winner.
Lane Gillis and Josh Latta scored the goals for the Warriors.
Both teams are now expected to significantly pare down their rosters prior to their next pre-season game at the end of the week.
The abbreviated Warriors training camp will come to an end Thursday before they host the Trail Smoke Eaters for the second pre-season tilt Friday night.
Ferster said he likes what he's seen in camp so far.
"I like the competitive nature we've had in camp. I sure like the compete level at practice. It was the same at the start as it was at the end," said Ferster.
"That's a good sign for us. We wanted to address a couple of things and I think they have been addressed."
The Warriors open up the regular season Friday, Sept. 11 against the Merritt Centennials at Royal LePage Place.
To no one's surprise, Kyle Marino will serve as captain of the West Kelowna Warriors this coming season.
Marino, 20, wore the 'C' on a interim basis last season while captain Andrew Johnson recovered from injury.
"It's a big honour being named captain for this year," said Marino who had three goals and 15 assists in his rookie season a year ago.
"Being my final season as an older guy on the team I'm just going to lead by example, be vocal in the room like I am and make guys feel comfortable being here."
The native of Niagara Falls, ON began the season on the blue line but his biggest impact came midway through the season when he was moved up front.
Head coach/GM Rylan Ferster said that Marino has everything you look for in a leader.
"I think what you want in your captain, is if you take the logo off your jersey and put someones picture there, that's what you want your captain to be," said Ferster on day one of training camp.
"It's one thing to be a leader in the dressing room, but you want that person to represent your program. Kyle is what a West Kelowna Warrior is all about."
Marino and the Warriors will be put through their paces at Royal LePage Place over the next few days before opening the pre-season schedule against the Penticton Vees Wednesday at RLP.
A sure sign the end of summer is near - the boys of winter are strapping on the blades and heading to training camp.
Training camps for the 17 teams in the BC Hockey League are getting underway over the next few days.
The Vernon Vipers got a jump on their Interior Division competition opening up camp Friday.
Vipers training camp at Kal Tire Place runs through Sunday with the club's annual Blue/White intersquad game scheduled for Sunday evening at 7 p.m.
The Vipers play their first of four pre-season games Friday, Aug. 28 in Salmon Arm. They host the same Silverbacks the following night.
Salmon Arm opens camp with off-ice testing Sunday. The on-ice portion of camp begins Monday.
The first Silverbacks home pre-season game is Wednesday, Aug. 26 when they host Langley.
The remaining teams, West Kelowna, Merritt, Penticton and Trail open camp Monday.
The Warriors open their pre-season home schedule Wednesday against the Vees and host Trail Friday, Penticton's pre-season home opener is Sept. 2 against the Warriors.
Trail will host the Warriors Aug. 29 while Merritt hosts Prince George Aug. 29 in the back half of a home-and-home series.
The BCHL regular season opens up the weekend of Sept. 11.
Penticton Vees forward Tyson Jost has opted for college over the Western Hockey League.
The highly recruited Jost has committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2016-17 season.
Jost's WHL rights are held by the Everett Silvertips who selected the Kelowna native with the seventh pick in the 2013 Bantam Draft.
He chose to play with the BCHL's Vees last season.
Jost, 17, will captain the Vees in the 2015-16 season before heading to Grand Forks, North Dakota next fall.
He was named one of the top players to watch for the 2016 NHL Draft by NHL Central Scouting and his commitment comes on the heels of winning a gold medal with Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup last week in the Czech Republic.
In his rookie season with the Vees Jost finished fourth in team scoring with 23 goals and 45 points in 46 games. The 23 goals were tied for a team best. Jost’s first season in the BCHL earned him a spot on the BCHL All-Rookie team.
He also impressed in the postseason, scoring a team high 10 goals in the Vees run to a BCHL Fred Page Cup Championship.
Jost is the fourth player on the Vees’ roster committed to UND. The other three are returning defenceman Gabe Bast, defenceman Colton Poolman and forward Dixon Bowen.
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