Warriors come back in 3rd

The West Kelowna Warriors fired 26 shots at the Victoria net in the third period, and were rewarded with five unanswered goals in a thrilling 6-3 come-from-behind win over the Grizzlies Saturday at Royal LePage Place.

The Warrior played the Grizzlies even for 40 minutes, but trailed 3-1, thanks in large part to some outstanding goaltending from Zachary Rose.

Rose stoned Chase Stevenson, Jared Marino and Lucas Cullen early in the first, then made a spectacular stop off Stevenson from the low slot early in the second.

While Rose was doing his thing at one end, the Grizzlies were taking advantage of their opportunities at the other.

Ethan Norther on a breakaway and Shawn O'Malley put the Grizzlies up a pair in the first. Parm Dhaliwal got one back with a deft deflection off a centering pass on a late period power play.

Marty Westhaver made it 3-1 13 minutes into the middle frame, and it looked as if if would be one of those nights where the Warriors had chances, but couldn't convert.

They dominated the third, and were eventually rewarded when Chase Dubois' backhand from a sharp angle appeared to glance off a sprawled Rose and into the net. Four minutes later, Rose mishandled the puck behind his own net and the Warriors capitalized, as RJ Murphy jammed home his 20th to tie it.

Murphy bagged the eventual game winner with less than four minutes left in regulation time, beating Rose from the right circle off the rush.

Chase Stevenson converted a two-on-one 69 seconds later and Ryan Steele sealed it into an empty net.

Head coach Rylan Ferster said the team played well all night, and dug deep in the third against the number one team in the Island Division.

"You really have to give our guys credit for digging in in the third period. To score five in the third against a team like that is impressive," said Ferster.

"And, hopefully it gives a bit of confidence moving forward. Hopefully we can channel some of that."

Despite the lack of finish over the first 40 minutes, Ferster said, for whatever reason, the team wasn't frustrated.

"It was one of those things where I didn't look at the outcome to that point but the process.

"After 40 it was like, well, let's see what we can do."

With just a week left in the regular season, it was a big win for the Warriors, who are in a dog fight with Salmon Arm and Merritt.

"It was huge. If you look at the standings, we can finish anywhere from fifth to seventh, so getting a win like this is big."

The Warriors are now six points clear of sixth place Salmon Arm and seven up on Merritt. West Kelowna have three games to play, the other two have five remaining.

They host the Wenatchee Wild in their final regular season home game Wednesday before finishing on the road in Merritt Friday and Salmon Arm Saturday.

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