Warriors Steele 2 points

Newly acquired forward Ryan Steele scored the natural hat trick Tuesday, leading the West Kelowna Warriors to a 5-0 shellacking of the visiting Coquitlam Express at Royal LePage Place.

Steele, playing just his sixth game since the trade deadline deal brought him over from Alberni Valley, scored what proved to be the game winner just 2:24 into the game.

Chase Dubois won a battle for the puck inside his own blu line and raced down the right wing. He chipped the puck to himself, then found Steele streaking through the slot.

Steele made a deke on Brock Hamm and buried his ninth of the year, and second since the deal.

He completed the natural hat trick with a pair of power play goals in the second, both on wrist shots from about 20 feet out.

”He’s physical, he was the captain of his team (Alberni), he skates well, he protects pucks well,” said Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster.

”When you look at playoff guys, these guys are just as important as those 50 goal scorers and those number one power play defencemen, because everyone knows when you start playing seven games in 10 nights, strong guys take over.”

Chase Dubois, who assisted on all three of Steele’s goals, got one of his own on another power play in the third period. Michael Lombardi rounded out the scoring with an empty net goal with move than three minutes to play.

Nik Amundrud stopped all 21 shots he faced for his first career BCHL shutout. His best saves came with less than 10 seconds to play when he stopped Joshua Bruce twice from in close. 

There were tense moment in the second when Amundrud ventured out of his net for a loose pick that bounced to Coquitlam’s Jake Toor who hurried his shot and missed the wide open net from the top of the face off circle.

It was a rugged game at times, with both teams dishing out some heavy body checks. Warriors defence man Stephen Kkeyson was on the business end of many of those as he threw his weight around on anything that moved.

”I think guys like that realize where we are in our season. You need you leaders to play like that, and he a real leader back there.

”He’s physical from the start, and when he does that he just makes our whole team better.”

But, this night belonged to Steele, who picked up first first multi-goal game of the season.

”My teammates really did a good job of finding me in the open spots,” said Steele.

”All I had to do was get the puck on net. A little luck tonight and it’s really nice to get that hat trick.”

The line with Steele, Dubois and Parm Dhaliwal was dangerous all night for the Warriors. Steele says it’s easy to play with his new linemates.

”They’re both good players. Parm can find you anywhere in the ice, He’s a great set up man, and Dubie has a lot of speed, has a great shot and is a good playmaker too.”

Tuesday’s win officially clinched a playoff spot for the Warriors.

The Warriors host the Vernon Vipers Friday before Steele gets a chance to face his old team Sunday when Alberni Valley comes to town.

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