Warriors thumped by Vipers

The West Kelowna Warriors looked like a team playing its fifth game in seven nights.

The Warriors were not the tenacious team they have been for much of the season Friday, as they fell 6-3 to the Vernon Vipers before a little over 900 fans at Royal LePage Place.

"First off, a tip of the cap to Vernon, I thought they were outstanding. I thought their goaltending was good," said head coach Geoff Grimwood.

"For us, we were off. We played five games this week, and we were real good and real bad and real good and real bad all at the same time. We lost the consistency we had early in the month, and the results speak for themselves."

The Warriors jumped on the Vipers early as Cavin Tilsley tipped home Wyatt Head's point shot just 54 second in.

But, defensive lapses allowed the Vipers to pull ahead. Josh Latta scored his first of two after Alex Swetlikoff stole the puck behind the Warriors goal. They, Brendan Kim notched his first of two off a faceoff in the Warrior end.

Willie Reim tied it late in the period, but seconds later Latta potted his second to give the Vipers a lead they would not relinquish.

The Warriors were not devoid of chances as both Head and Chase Dubois rattled shots off the post.

The Vipers salted it away midway through the second when former Warrior Matt Kowalski and Garrett Worth, playing his first game in the BCHL, scored 45 seconds apart.

Worth's goal spelled the end of the night for starter Brock Baier, who allowed five goals on 17 shots. It was the second straight game Baier had been pulled after allowing five goals before the midway point of the game.

Kim with his second, and Bennett Norlin with a gift while shorthanded, scored in the final period.

After winning eight in a row, the Warriors have stumbled through a tough part of the schedule, losing two in a row, and three of their last four.

In those losses, the Warriors have surrendered 21 goals. Despite some struggles behind their own blue line, Grimwood isn't concerned - yet.

"In the big picture, those things happen. Sometimes they just come in bunches," he said.

"I think if we have the same problem in a week or two I'd be concerned. But right now I'm willing to chalk it up to a bad week, get back to work and sort it out."

The Warriors were without forward Parm Dhaliwal who was taken out with a thunderous hit to the head by Penticton defenceman Kenny Johnson. Johnson was handed a flour-game suspension by the league, event though a penalty was not called on the ice.

Grimwood says Dhaliwal will be out of the lineup for about two weeks.

The Warriors get some time off to rest before hitting the road next week for back-to-back games in Wenatchee Friday and Saturday.


Kowalski scores, Vipers lose

The Vernon Vipers dropped another game on the road, losing 3-2 in Trail Wednesday night.

It was the fourth straight loss for Vernon and sixth loss in the past seven games.  

A bright spot for Vernon was newly acquired Vernon product Matt Kowalski who was named the game's second star with a goal and an assist. 

Kowalski was traded to Vernon earlier in the week from the West Kelowna Warriors in exchange for defenseman Austin Chorney.

Kowalski tied the game up at 1-1 in the second period with his first goal in a Vipers uniform and assisted on Jack Judson's goal in the third, which gave the Vipers a short-lived 2-1 lead. 

Trail tied the game a minute and a half later and potted the eventual winner with a little more than five minutes left in the game. 

Vernon has one more road game before a stretch at home to end the month. 

Up next for Vernon is the West Kelowna Warriors Friday night.

Vees down Warriors 7-4

The Penticton Vees bounced back, defeating the West Kelowna Warriors 7 - 4 during the second half of a home-and-home Wednesday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The Vees scored three times in the opening 7:30 en route to the victory before an announced attendance of 2,880.

Penticton opened the game short-handed after Kenny Johnson shot the puck into the Warriors nets during warmup. Despite this, West Kelowna didn’t register a shot and Penticton opened the scoring 2:05 into the game with a goal from Ryan Sandelin.

The Vees never let up and held the lead all game, with additional goals from Cole Shepard, Jack Barnes, Massimo Rizzo, Cassidy Bowes and a second from Sandelin.

With the win, the Vees move to 10-0 after a loss this season.

West Kelowna (15-9-0-1) leads the season series over the Vees 3-1. Penticton moves to 14-7-1-2.

Penticton, West Kelowna and the Merritt Centennials now sit atop the Interior BCHL division in a three-way tie.

Vipers make some changes

There will be a few changes to the Vernon Vipers' lineup when they take to the ice in Trail this evening. 

Gone will be defenceman Austin Chorney and forward Sebastian Streu and joining the team is local product Matt Kowalski of Vernon.

The 19-year-old Kowalski was acquired in a trade with the West Kelowna Warriors earlier this week in exchange for Chorney.

"It’s never easy to make a trade, but an opportunity to acquire a talented player who comes from Vernon came up and his skill set will fit in nicely with this group,"  explained head coach and GM of the Vipers, Mark Ferner.

Kowalski has scored 5 goals and added 8 assists in 19 games.  

That scoring tough will be needed as the Vipers also said goodbye to forward Sebastian Streu, who will be joining the Regina Pats of the WHL.

Streu had 4 goals and 2 assists in 10 games with the Vipers. He spent last season with the Kootenay Ice where he scored 9 goals.

The Vipers are on the road to take on the Trail Smoke Eaters tonight. The Vipers are just two points up on Trail for the last place in the Interior Division.

— with files from the Vernon Vipers

7 BCHL'ers on NHL radar

Three players currently playing starring roles on their respective BCHL teams could hear their names called early when the NHL holds its annual entry draft in Vancouver.

Forwards Alex Newhook of the Victoria Grizzlies and Massino Rizzo of Penticton and Prince George defenceman Layton Ahac are rated highly on Central Scouting's latest list of Players to Watch.

Newhook is listed as an A prospect, meaning he could be a first-round draft choice while Rizzo and Ahac are considered B prospects, meaning a possible second or third-round selection.

Alex Swetlikoff (Vernon), Harrison Blaisdell (Chilliwack), Ethan Layh (Langley) and Alexander Campbell (Victoria) are all C list prospects.

This is Central Scouting's second watch list.

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