Warriors ride a hot Baier

Brock Baier needed to be at his very best Friday night.

Fortunately for the West Kelowna Warriors he was - and then some.

Baier stopped 50 shots, 37 of those over the final, scoreless 40 minutes, as the Warriors stole a 3-2 victory from the visiting Penticton Vees.

All the scoring came in the opening period, but it was the Vees, who were chasing the scoreboard, who had the much better of the chances over the final 40 minutes.

"I thought we he hung in there against a really good hockey team. Our goalie might have stolen that one a little bit, but you've got to have that," said head coach Geoff Grimwood.

"We've said all along we've got two good goalies, and they've both done that for us this year."

For Baier, he credited the team for his play.

"It started with everyone tonight. We had a really good warmup before the game. Everyone was dialed in as we say, and it was just a team effort tonight," he said.

"Every guy in front of me played really well. They played their positions the way they are supposed to...it was a really good team win."

The Warriors got off to a great start as Chase Dubois buried his fifth of the season just 69 seconds in. Penticton netminder Jack LaFontaine played the puck behind the net, but fell on his way back, allowing Dubois to tap the puck into the wide open cage.

The Vees dominated the rest of the first half of the period, and were rewarded when Eric Linell scored goals 1:33 apart to put the Vees up 2-1.

They outshot the Warriors 11-2 over the first half of the period but, after the media time out, the Warriors took over.

Mike Hardman notched his seventh just moments after the time out. Tyler Pang's shot from the left point bounced off the backboards right to Hardman who made no mistake.

Dubois closed out the scoring late in the first on a West Kelowna power play.

Just after a two-man advantage had expired, Dubois took the puck along the right boards, curled into the right circle, and beat LaFontaine to the short side with a wrist shot.

It stood up as the game winner.

Baier made several spectacular saves to keep the Vees at bay, but one stood out for him.

"Period two when the guy came across the corner an d passed it out in front of me and I had to make a nice blocker save. I knew then we were going to win the game to be honest.

"I felt really in the zone at that point and everyone was really dialed in."

There was also a spectacular right pad save off Cole Shepard with about five minutes to go in the third that had the crowd buzzing.

"I didn't even know there was a guy back door. I just pushed as hard as I could and I was lucky to get a pad on it."

The Warriors penalty killers, who have had a hard time of late also came up big, killing off five straight penalties over the final 40 minutes.

"Our assistant coach Taurean White has really taken control of the penalty kill for us," said Grimwood.

"I think he's done a phenomenal job there."

Tempers flared briefly along the boards after the whistle. Four misconducts were handed lout, including a gross misconduct to Penticton's Kenny Johnson.

A suspension could follow.

The Warriors hit the road for Trail Saturday. They don't play again at home until next Friday when the Salmon Arm Silverbacks come to town.

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