Warriors thrill in OT

With less than 10 seconds left in sudden death overtime, RJ Murphy grabbed a loose puck in his own end and streaked down the left wing.

With four seconds on the clock, oblivious to the fans imploring him to shoot, he hit the Penticton blueline and began his go-to power-move toward the net.

With less than two ticks on the clock, he backhanded the puck toward Adam Scheel from the top of the crease.

With .3 second left, the clock stopped, the puck was behind Scheel, and the West Kelowna Warriors skated away with a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over the rival Penticton Vees.

"I didn't know how much time was left, so I just skated and tried to beat the d wide," said Murphy of the winner.

"I tucked it five-hole. I didn't realize until after there was .3 seconds left, but it was a great feeling to get the team win.

"I'm a big guy that has some speed, so I like to challenge the d wide and try to make a play on the goalie. Just be hard to play against," he said of his signature move.

The goal capped off a thrilling game which featured great goaltending at both ends, hard hits and tremendous skating.

Murphy said it resembled a playoff game.

The Warriors got the crowd into it midway through the first when Chase Dubois beat Scheel with his 13th with a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle.

The goal, on teddy bear toss night, delayed the game more than five minutes while the team and helpers collected several hundred teddy bears. The plush animals were handed over to Mamas for Mamas, who will see they find a good home through a number of charities they support.

The lead didn't last long, as Owen Sillinger rattled home his first of two on the night, a laser beam of a hot that just snuck under the bar past Warriors goaltender Cole Demers.

The goaltender took over from there. Scheel robbed Spencer Hora from in close then robbed Dubois. At the other end, Demers stymied Dakota Boutin on a breakaway and Joseph Leahy on a two-on-one moments later.

Michael Lombardi finally snapped the tie when he banged home his ninth on a rebound to again put the Warriors up one. The lead stood up until Sillinger beat Demers on the backhand six minutes into the third.

Neither team was able to score the rest of the way in regulation.

The Warriors dominated the four-on-four overtime period, thanks in part to a power play early in the extra period.

Willie Reim and Murphy were both robbed in tight before Murphy finally drove home the final dagger.

The Warriors peppered Scheel with 52 shots, including eight in overtime while Demers faced 36 shots, just one in the extra period. While not facing as many shots, Demers was called upon to make the tougher saves over the course of the night.

"It is always a little bit special when you can win in overtime in a tight game, and especially to get off the schneid," said assistant coach Shae Naka.

"We've been playing real good hockey for the last little bit, but really haven';t seen much in the way of results to go with it. It was good to see our guys get rewarded for another good performance."

He said they earned the two points.

"We felt we've played (Penticton) close this year in every game except for probably one.

"We've been in games, and our record doesn't show it, but we've been competitive the last month. We feel like our game has been coming around, but haven't seen the results, especially against them."

The Warriors were again minus four key forward out with injury. They dressed nine forwards and eight defencemen Friday, including newly acquired Cody Paivarinta.

Paivarinta, who stands 6'6", played parts of three seasons with Prince Albert in the Western Hockey League.

The Warriors will host Powell River at 2:30 Sunday afternoon to close out their pre-Christmas schedule.

Sunday's game is the Warriors first Stuff the Bus for the Foodbank game.

Everyone who brings a non-perishable food item will be entered into a draw to win four season tickets for next season.

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