Warriors find a way - again

The West Kelowna Warriors gave up an early goal and weathered an onslaught by the Wenatchee Wild Friday night.

But, they scratched, clawed and battled their way to a 4-2 come-from-behind victory, and a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven opening round series.

"Once again, we just grinded that game out. Our guys found a way to win," said Warriors head coach Brandon West.

"Our power play cashed in on the last one. They came out hard, and we weathered the storm at times. In the end, we gave up only two goals, and I thought we just continued to battle."

The Wild came out of the blocks fast. Murphy Stratton was stopped on a breakaway just 18 seconds in, but draw a penalty.

Wenatchee quickly cashed in when Stratton buried a rebound before many of the 1,016 fans had a chance to find their seats.

They threatened to add to the lead as the period wore on, but the Warriors didn't break in their own end, blocking shots and keeping the Wild to the outside.

When they were able to penetrate, Connor Hopkins was able to shut the door.

The Warriors got themselves on even terms late in the period. Anthony Bishop looked to shoot from the left point but, instead sent a hard pass to the far corner which Garrett Worth tipped home for his first of the series.

Then, against the run of the play, Bennett Norlin gave the Warriors a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Parm Dhaliwal picked up a loose puck in the Wenatchee end and found Norlin all alone in front of Cal Sandquist. He made a deke and beat Sandquist 14 minutes into the second.

It was the Warriors first shot of the period.

Lucas Cullen made it 3-1 54 seconds into the third.

He threw the puck toward the net from along the end boards. It hit Sandquist and deflected in. The goal spelled the end of the night for Sandquist, who was pulled in favour of Austin Park, after stopping 14 of 17 shots sent his way.

Park gave up Dhaliwal's third goal in two games, a backdoor one-timer from the left circle on a Warriors power play.

The power play, which scored on its first two chances in the series, had gone 0-10 before Dhaliwal's effort.

Nathan Iannone got one back during a wild scramble in front of Hopkins late in the contest.

The Warriors were without their leading scorer, Mike Hardman for the game. He's out with an upper body injury after being cross checked in the face by Wild forward Matt Dorsey during the second period of game four.

His absence meant other players needed to step up and contribute. Norlin was probably the best skater on the ice Friday while Worth chipped in with a rare, but important goal.

"Scoring by committee was something we talked about at the beginning of playoffs, and I thought tonight we definitely got that.

"That pass on the power play to Parm Dhaliwal was huge. Everybody is chipping in. I thought Bennett Norlin was huge for us to get us going in the game."

Hopkins, as we was in game four, came up big when he had two, although he wasn't called on to make the quality of saves he did Wednesday. Still, he stopped 39 of 41 shots directed his way.

The Warriors can wrap up the series during game six Sunday. If a seventh game is needed, it would go Monday in Wenatchee.

West says Hardman definitely won't suit up for Sunday's sixth game. Defenceman Andrew Viggars is also expected to miss the game with an upper body injury suffered early in the series.

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