Penalties Warriors downfall

Too many penalties and an indifferent second period were the West Kelowna Warriors undoing as they dropped game three of their best-of-seven first round BCHL playoff series.

The Wenatchee Wild regained home-ice advantage Tuesday with a convincing 6-2 victory over the Warriors before more than 600 enthusiastic, but disappointed fans.

The Warriors were also disappointed, and appeared a bit frustrated, at the continued inequity in penalty calls in the series.

The found themselves shorthanded five times in Tuesday's game to Wenatchee's one, and that was a borderline slash that even Warrior fans booed. The Warriors have been shorthanded 10 times in the series, Wenatchee just twice.

"That's been a big factor in the series. We're two-for-two on the power play, and probably both the calls were given to us," said Warriors head coach Brandon West.

"We've got to find a way five-on-five to keep grinding and we've got to find a way to generate offence. We only scored one goal five-on-five tonight. We've already talked in the room...we know what we did tonight and we know what we need to do tomorrow."

The Warriors were the better team in the opening period and, as they've done in each game in the series, got on the board first.

Captain Cavin Tilsley scored his second of the series, winning a faceoff, and ripping a shot past a startled Austin Park.

That was it for Park, who was replaced by Cal Sandquist just six minutes in, having faced just three shots. It's the second time in the series Wenatchee coach Bliss Littler, who has a quick hook, has made a goaltending change.

Any momentum the Warriors had during that spirited opening period quickly evaporated in the second.

The Wild took advantage of some defensive miscues and Warriors penalties to score four unanswered goals and, for all intents and purposes, put the game away.

PJ Fletcher got Wenatchee rolling 98 seconds into the period banging a rebound home to tie it 1-1.

Lucas Sowder put the Wild on top for good six minutes later, tapping a centering pass past Connor Hopkins after a Warriors giveaway.

Murphy Stratton converted a pretty three-way passing play on a power play before Brandon Koch broke their backs with 5.3 seconds left as the Warriors standing and watching.

"They came out real hard in the second period, caught us on our heels right away.

"Penalties eventually hurt us. We kill off the four-minute power play, and the second one...you're not going to kill those all night long. The wheels kind of fell off in the second period."

Lucas Cullen did score on the Warriors only power play in the third, batting a rebound out of mid air for his fourth of the series.

West said he thought the team played well enough, saying he didn't see many adjustments they have to make for game four.

He said they didn't get any breaks, and probably didn't earn enough.

One bright spot was diminutive rookie forward Brandon Dent who brought the crowd to their feet with two bone-jarring open-ice hits.

The Warriors look to event the series Wednesday night when they host the Wild in game four. The fifth game of the series is set for Friday night at Royal LePage Place, before shifting back to Wenatchee for the final two games, if necessary.

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