Penticton hit double digits in a lopsided win over the west Kelowna Warriors Saturday

Vees hang 10 on Warriors

The West Kelowna Warriors came crashing to earth with a thud.

On a night when the Warriors paid tribute to the memory and legacy of former Warrior Parm Dhaliwal, it was the Penticton Vees who flexed their muscles in a convincing 10-3 victory Saturday at Royal LePage Place.

The Warriors were never in this one from the outset, falling behind 3-0 to the reigning BCHL champions before the game was barely seven minutes old.

Dovar Tinling opened the scoring with his first of two, deflecting a point shot past Justin Katz just three minutes in.

Jackson Nieuwendyk off a giveaway and Billy Norcross on a rebound put the Vees up 3-0.

Isaiah Norlin got one back on the power play before the period was up and, midway through the second, again down three, Michael Salandra stole the puck at the Penticton blueline, curled into the faceoff circle and beat Luca Di Pasquo with a shorthanded goal that brought the building and the bench to life.

They had a chance to cut into the lead further on the power play moments later, but Tinling beat Katz on a partial breakaway with a shorthanded goal of his own.

The Warriors never threatened to get back into it again.

Felix Caron with his first career BCHL goal also scored for the Warriors.

Aydar Suniev with two, Ben Brunette, Frank Djurasevic, Hiroki Gojsic and Brett Moravec also scored for the Vees.

"They don't stop competing, they don't stop working and they don't stop playing the same way," said Warriors head coach Simon Ferguson of the Vees.

"They have 95 per cent of their team back from last year that won a championship, and we have a team that needs to learn how to win and we just got a good lesson in it."

Katz allowed seven goals on 28 shots before being relieved seconds into the third by backup Angelo Zol.

Di Pasquo stopped 18 of the 21 shots he faced.

Luke Devlin was assessed a major penalty for a making head contact in the third period. He will likely face disciplinary action as a result.

The Vees are showing early they are again the class of the league. They have scored 30 goals in their four victories while allowing just six.

The Warriors are off until next weekend when they make a swing through the Kootenays for games in Cranbrook Friday and Trail Saturday.

A game Saturday in Prince George between the Spruce Kings and Vernon Vipers was called with 2:50 left after Vernon forward Will Blackburn was injured.

A tweet by the Spruce Kings indicated it was a "medical situation." Both teams agreed to officially end the game with the Vipers leading 5-1.

Penticton Vees finish September with four straight wins with victory over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks

Vees win streak continues

The Penticton Vees capped off a perfect September with a 6-1 victory over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Friday at the Shaw Centre.

The scoring began a minute and a half into the second period, on a Vees’ power play when Billy Norcross followed up on Callum Arnott’s rebound and took it into an open net to make it 1-0.

Salmon Arm’s lone goal was earned on a power play as well, when Isaac Lambert tied the game up nine minutes into the middle period as he snuck the puck under Goaltender Luca Di Pasquo’s pad to make it 1-1.

Josh Nadeau put the Vees back ahead a few minutes later, scoring on a one-timer from the circle after his brother Bradly set up the play from behind the net.

With just two minutes left in the second, Jackson Nieuwendyk then put the visitors ahead 3-1 when he beat Silverbacks’ starter Matthew Tovell on the stick side after a cross-ice pass from Brett Moravec.

Bradly Nadeau added to the Vees’ lead 64-seconds into the third period to make it 4-1. Then, Penticton scored twice in 68-seconds to put the game out of reach.

Moravec made it 5-1 when he scored after the puck rebounded off the goalie’s pad and right onto his blade. Suniev extended the Vees lead to 6-1 on the next shift, as he popped the puck in after Josh Nadeau did a lap of the net and took it off at the back post.

Two undefeated teams go head-to-head in West Kelowna on Saturday, as the Vees pay a visit to the Warriors at Royal LePage Place with a puck drop at 7 p.m. Fans can listen to the game on Bounce 800 AM and watch on Hockey TV.

West Kelowna outslugged Wenatchee 7-4 in their home opener before 1,284 fans

Warriors hang on in opener

Special teams proved to be the difference Friday as the West Kelowna Warriors kicked off their home schedule with a thrilling 7-4 win over the visiting Wenatchee Wild.

The Warriors scored five times with the man advantage while holding the Wild off the scoresheet on their four opportunities, including two critical kills with the game hanging in the balance early in the third period.

West Kelowna held a commanding 5-2 lead after 40 minutes, but the Wild pressured the Warriors out of the gate in the third and, after two goals from Jonathan Horn in the first two-and-a-half minutes, cut the deficit to one.

But Justin Katz came up big with two key stops on a power play moments later, and the penalty killers, led by Dylan Brooks blocked a number of shots to preserve the one-goal lead.

"All our D in general I thought did real good. I think there was one sitting on the back post when it was 5-4 that could have been the difference in the game," said head coach Simon Ferguson.

"The D did a real good job tonight in that respect. I thought we needed to move the puck a little bit more, a little bit quicker and got way too loose when we got up."

The success of the penalty killers allowed the Warriors to find their legs later in the period, and it paid off with a pair of power play goals to seal it.

Jaiden Moriello got his second of the night when a centering pass deflected off his skate past Wenatchee netminder Owen Millward.

Moments later, Matthew Fusco blasted home his third of the campaign from the point to close out the scoring.

"It's one of the things we knew when we got him is he finds a way to get it through.

"It's a hard shot, even the rolling puck he managed to get on net. When you keep it simple and you shoot, you get good bounces."

The Warriors led 1-0 through the first half of Friday's game as both Katz and Millward were called upon to make some key saves to keep the score low.

Katz somehow got his stick on a back-door play on a Wenatchee power play, while Millward was sharp stopping Jake Bernadet on a Warriors breakaway.

But, as soon as Gabe Dombrowski threaded a seeing-eye shot past Katz from the right boards to tie it, the flood gates opened.

The teams combined for six goals in four-minutes and 27 seconds, including four from the Warriors.

Moriello jammed home his first to put the Warriors up 2-1, then Riley Hlusiak on a breakaway made it 3-2 before back-to-back power play goals 34 seconds apart from Isaiah Norlin and Michael Salandra from almost the identical spot in the left circle put the Warriors up three after 40.

Alexi Van Houtte-Cachero with a power play goal in the first also scored for the Warriors.

Norlin had two assists to go along with his goal. Luke Devlin and Nolan Hayes also chipped in with a pair of assists.

All the Wild scoring came from the line of Horn, Dombrowski and Christian Kim. Horn had two goals and a pair of helpers, Kim a goal and three assists while Dombrowski added a goal and two assists.

It wasn't a classic, but Ferguson gave credit to the guys for not breaking under the third period pressure.

"It's early season hockey. We had moments where we did some really good things, and there were moments when we didn't do anything good.

"When you find a way to win like that you learn something hopefully. I think our guys need to learn when you're up in this league, you're never up.

"They made a pretty big push on us, Katz was able to hold strong, and we found a way to find the net."

The warriors finished the night five for nine with the man advantage.

Katz turned away 27 shots to earn his third straight win this season.

The Warriors are back at it Saturday night when they entertain the Penticton Vees at Royal LePage Place.

It will be a special night as the team honours the memory of former Warrior Parm Dhaliwal who tragically passed away in the summer.

West Kelowna Warriors kick off their home schedule Friday against the Wenatchee Wild

Special night for Warriors

It will be a special night for the West Kelowna Warriors when they host Wenatchee Friday night at Royal LePage Place.

Not only will the Warriors hold their regular season home opener but, they will also recognize Truth and Reconciliation Day with specially designed orange jerseys.

"We know where we live here in West Kelowna...and I think it is important with the community that surrounds us that we support them to make it a very special night," said Warriors head coach Simon Ferguson.

The special sweaters, emblazoned with the "Every Child Matters" logo on the front, will be auctioned off during the game with proceeds going to the Residential School Survivors Society.

The Warriors expect a large, boisterous crowd to welcome the team Friday night, a far cry from a year ago when capacity was capped at 50 per cent due to COVID-19 restrictions.

In fact, this will be the first true home opener since 2019 when close to 1,000 fans came into the building.

The Warriors come into Friday's opener fresh off a successful season-opening road trip, recording 2-1 and 5-1 wins over Cowichan Valley and Victoria respectively.

Ferguson says it's nice to open undefeated, but knows the real work is ahead of them.

"We know we have two big games coming up. Wenatchee is always a tough team to play against, they have some really good skill up front and some good players on the back end.

"And, we know the powerhouse of Penticton is coming in (Saturday)."

The Wild come in off a 5-4 shootout loss in Surrey last weekend.

The Warriors enter Friday's game minus forwards Riley Sharun and Ben MacDonald.

Sharun has yet to suit up due to injury, while MacDonald was hurt when he was slammed head first into the boards during Saturday's win in Victoria.

Nathan King of the Grizzlies was handed a two-game suspension for the hit.

It's unclear how long MacDonald will be out.

Justin Katz, who carried shutouts deep into both games on the island, will get the start in goal Friday night.

Newcomer Michael Salandra leads the team in scoring after the opening two games with four assists.

Faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The team will remember former Warrior Parm Dhaliwal in a ceremony prior to Saturday's game with the Vees.

Dhaliwal passed away suddenly in New York City over the summer.

BCHL takes Hockey Canada to task over its treatment of players choosing college-track junior hockey

BCHL slams junior model

The BC Hockey League says its time for a broad discussion over Hockey Canada's Canadian development model.

In a news release Monday, the BCHL says the country's national hockey body has ignored a document sent months ago entitled "Modernizing Junior Hockey in Canada"

In its white paper on the sport at the junior level, the BCHL says the current model penalizes its players and others on other Junior A clubs across the country who choose college-tracking junior hockey over Major Junior in their own country.

"Our development model penalized players by placing discriminatory regulatory restrictions on their movement and participation in Canada," a summary of the document says.

"This forces many players into decisions to leave the Canadian system entirely. While the rules were likely devised with good intentions, they are proving to be unfair to some of our best young athletes, their individual development, and their families."

There have been parallels drawn to Owen Power, the first overall pick of the Buffalo Sabres in the 2021 draft, who went south of the border to play in the US Hockey League because, as a 16 or 17-year-old, the Ontario native was restricted to playing in his home province.

The league says regulations do not take into account the changing landscape and development patterns since the original model was written 17 years ago. The paper outlines where the system has failed, and measures that should be taken to better develop players in Canada.

"It is important to not the writing of the white paper is not, in any way, related to the recent crisis surrounding Hockey Canada," the document says.

"Our position was tabled with Hockey Canada long ago, and has been ignored.

"However, given the appointment of former Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell to perform an independent review of Hockey Canada's governance structure, the BCHL believes its long-held concerns are relevant to this review."

The BCHL concludes Hockey Canada should support the path created by college-tracking junior leagues, even if it does not fit the ideals of the model.

The restriction of player movement until they have turned 18 is believed to be one of the main reasons why the league chose to go it alone and sever ties with the Canadian Junior Hockey League.

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