Warriors, Clippers play overtime thriller
Until this week West Kelowna Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster had never been involved in a game where his team was able to score twice with the goaltender on the bench.
It's now happened twice in six days.
David Pope and Jordan Masters each scored in the final 64 seconds Sunday afternoon with goaltender Andy Desautels on the bench for an extra attacker allowing the Warriors to escape with a 2-2 double overtime tie with the visiting Nanaimo Clippers.
The teams were scoreless after 40 minutes - due in large part to the spectacular netminding of Clippers Jayson Argue.
The 20-year-old veteran made several spectacular saves over the first 40 minutes to keep the Warriors at bay.
Goals from Devin Brosseau on a breakaway 12 minutes into the third and Eric Margo four minutes later staked the Clippers to what seemed like an insurmountable 2-0 lead.
Cue the comeback.
With Desautels on the bench Pope scored his 12th of the year at 18:56.
"I was just trying to find some open ice and they were pretty spaced out with our guys working the puck along the wall," says Pope of his 2-1 goal.
"I found a seam in the slot, Seb (Lloyd) made a real nice pass and I just tried to get it on net as quick as I could. Fortunately it went in."
Ironically, it was Pope who scored twice 30 seconds apart with Desautels on the bench allowing the Warriors to escape Trail with a 4-3 overtime win last Monday.
Pope was also on the ice when Masters equalized on a wraparound that either hit the back of Argue's skate or pad and trickled into the net with 7.4 seconds left in regulation.
"I thought they were similar situations. I thought we outplayed them tonight and took it to them for a majority of the game," says assistant coach Brent Gough.
"Eventually you are going to score. In Trail it was the same thing - in the last minute we get two goals. If you keep doing what you want to do it's eventually going to go in and that's what happened these two games."
The Warriors had the better of the chances in overtime, especially during the three-on-three second overtime period.
Argue stopped defenceman Ben Tegtmeyer on a breakaway and robbed Carl Hesler on the rebound. He then stopped a pair of two-on-breaks during the frantic final minute.
Not to be outdone, Desautels was called up to make two incredible saves over the dying seconds - one which appeared to be aided by a discarded Nanaimo stick in the Warriors goal crease.
Pope says the team doesn't want to make a habit of having to come back late in games like these.
"We are putting ourselves in tough situations to win," says Pope.
"We're showing we can come from behind but that's not something we want to make a habit of. I think if we bring that same urgency we had with the extra attacker all game we are going to be winning a lot more games."
The Warriors thought they should have been granted a penalty shot late in the second overtime when Nanaimo's Colton Dahlen bowled over Desautels and lay on the Warriors netminder for several seconds in front of the referee.
All penalties during three-on-three overtime are automatic penalty shots.
"For us it looked like their guy was laying on top of our goalie. I don't know how he got there because I was watching our two-on-one going back the other way," says Gough.
"I think there was a blatant call that should have been called in the offensive zone. We were going back door and the guy just trips him. I think the ref was watching what was happening in our crease but that's what happens when you have one guy out there, he just has one set of eyes."
Gough says it's tough for the official to see everything but felt there should have been a call with what was happening to Desautels in the Warriors crease.
The Warriors fired 51 shots at Argue including 11 in overtime.
Desautels faced 35 shots, nine of those in the extra two periods.
The Warriors have now gone five games without a loss (4-0-1-0) and are unbeaten in eight of nine (7-1-1-0).
They're a point behind Vernon and seven in back of division leading Penticton. The Warriors hold a game in hand on both.
West Kelowna is off until Friday when they host the Coquitlam Express.
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