Warriors win in the 'wack'

There's something about the BCHL Showcase that brings out the best in the West Kelowna Warriors.

The Warriors won for the ninth straight time at the yearly, four-day event in Chilliwack – a 4-0 thumping of the previously unbeaten Prince George Spruce Kings.

The win also snapped the Warriors three-game losing streak.

Mike Hardman scored twice, including the eventual game winner. Mason Richey and Max Bulakwa also scored for the Warriors on a power play.

Connor Hopkins turned aside the 21 shots he faced for his first career BCHL shutout.

“I was really pleased with his performance," Warriors head coach Geoff Grimsood said of Hopkins.

"I really think Connor is a legit goaltender in this league; he has a great attitude, and was calm and cool back there today which was nice to see”.

Hardman opened the scoring near the seven minute mark of the opening period when he went nearly coast-to-coast before beating Bradley Cooper with a wrist shot to the top corner.

The Warriors broke the game open with three unanswered goals in the second.

Richey and Hardman, with his second, scored a little more than two minutes apart, spelling the end of the night for Cooper.

Bulawka pounced on a rebound for his first of the season with the Warriors enjoying the man advantage, beating Logan Neaton, who replaced Cooper in the Prince George net.

Any hope of a third period comeback was stymied by a smothering Warriors defence that allowed just one shot in the final frame.

Thursday's game marked the return of Matt Kowalski and Lucas Cullen to the lineup.

Kowalski missed the first four games with a suspension imposed at the end of last season, while Cullen was released back to the club by the Portland Winterhawks.

Brian Dale served as the backup to Hopkins. He was pressed into backup duties after the Warriors sent Brayden Missler to the Powell River Kings for future considerations.

The Warriors wrap up their portion of the Showcase Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. against the Nanaimo Clippers. Nanaimo edged Vernon 4-3 in overtime Thursday.

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