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BC Hockey League News

Special teams sink Warriors

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.



Vees complete sweep of Warriors

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.


Vees fashion late comeback

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.


Warriors Blackburn commits

West Kelowna Warriors forward Liam Blackburn has settled on his next hockey destination.

The Warriors announced Tuesday that he has committed to play college hockey at the University of New Hampshire.

Blackburn, a native of Prince George, currently leads the BCHL in scoring through the first three weeks of the season.

He met with UNH’s assistant coach at the Showcase event in Chilliwack, then immediately travelled to the campus for a tour.

“I really liked the campus; it was like a forest walking from the facility to the dorms,” says Blackburn.

“And it helps that there are guys on the team already that played in this league so there are familiar faces that I got to meet as well.”

While the start date of Blackburn’s commitment is still up in the air, he thinks he will be ready whether it is next season, or 2016-2017.

“An extra year of junior would be really nice to develop physically but I think I’m ready mentally to make that jump.”

Blackburn credits Seb Lloyd and Adam Plant for leading him in his rookie season, as well as the rest of his teammates who had committed last year.

Warriors Head Coach and General Manager Rylan Ferster likes what he has seen early on this season from Blackburn.

“Liam is a great talent. He has gotten off to a very good start, as he put in the work in the summer and it’s paying off early on.”

Blackburn will join current BCHL players Nick Nonis (Powell River) and Marcus Vela (Langley) with the Wildcats to start his college career.  

Six current Wildcats spent time in the BCHL, including former Warrior Grayson Downing, who is a senior on this year’s team.

Blackburn and the Warriors are getting set for a tough weekend as they face the Penticton Vees in a home-and-home set.

The two teams meet Friday in Penticton before Saturday's return engagement at Royal LePage Place.

Both teams share top spot in the BCHL standings with 10 points. Penticton holds an early game in hand.

Warriors enjoy home cooking

The West Kelowna Warriors finally earned their first win on home ice.

The Warriors got two power-play goals and two shorthanded goals in a 5-3 win over the visiting Cowichan Valley Capitals Sunday afternoon at Royal LePage Place.

Jordan Masters and Liam Blackburn with his team leading sixth scored with the man advantage in the opening period.

Adam Osczevski in the second and Kade Kehoe 1:08 in the third scored shorthanded as the Warriors built up a 4-1 lead.

The Capitals, playing their third game in two-and-a-half days on their Interior Division road trip, scored twice late in the third to pull to within a goal.

Brett Mennear iced it with an empty netter as time expired.

The Warriors, who fell 2-1 at home to Merritt the night before took advantage of opportunities on special teams but five-on-five, they did not please their coach.

"I don't know how much fight we had. I think you have to five that team over there a lot of credit," says Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster.

"I mean, 40 shots against. I thought we were kind of opportunistic tonight. Two shorthanded goals and two power-play goals...I don't think we generated enough five-on-five."

Ferster says the team needs to learn how to shut down a team when it holds a big lead like Sunday.

"I don't know if it's something you can work on. You have to have a desire to go on out there and not get scored on and shut it down. We know what to do," says Ferster who admits, despite a 5-2 record, is a bit discouraged with what he has seen of late.

"I am. You never want to critique a win and we're happy we won but last night I thought we played a real good game and lost and tonight I thought we did just enough to win. I thought we should have been a little bit better today."

Ferster agrees the team is still a work in progress.

Scott Patton turned aside 37 shots to earn his second win of the season.

The Warriors get a few days off from game action before they hit the road in Penticton for the first of back-to-back games with the Interior Division rival Vees.

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