Warriors drop pre-season opener
The Merritt Centennials scored the game winner midway through the second overtime period Sunday in a thrilling 6-5 victory over the West Kelowna Warriors.
It was the first pre-season game for both teams as both coaches went with rosters filled exclusively with players who have never played in the BC Hockey League.
Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster was pleased with the effort of his young hopefuls, especially along the blueline, signalling out Jake Harrison (15), Anthony Bishop (16) and Greydon Robinson (18).
Ferster was also pleased with the way the team came back in the third period to force overtime.
Trailing 4-2 early in the third, the Warriors chipped away at the lead and eventually tied it on goals from Parker Ward and Julian Uhrynuik to knot the game at 4-4.
Robinson put the Warriors up on a power-play late in the the third only to watch as Merritt equalized in the dying second with the goaltender on the bench for an extra attacker.
The Centennials led 3-1 after one and 3-2 after 40 minutes.
Harrison and Eric Theander also scored for the Warriors.
Matt Mitchell played the opening 32 minutes allowing three goals on 17 shots. Austin Piquette went the rest of the way, allowing three goals on 19 shots.
The same two teams hook up again Monday in Merritt.
Ferster says he expects to dress another all rookie line-up.
"We still have some guys we want to give some looks to, some guys sat out tonight," says Ferster.
"I don't know if any veterans will get in tomorrow night. I would probably say no."
Ferster expected to trim four or five from the roster following Sunday's game and hopes to be down close to his starting squad for the final four pre-season games.
The Warriors play a home-and-home set with Penticton next weekend before closing out the pre-season schedule the following weekend against Salmon Arm.
The regular season opens with the Showcase Series in Chilliwack.
The Warriors will face Coquitlam and Nanaimo at the Showcase before returning home for the home opener Friday, Sept 26 against the Vernon Vipers.
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