Warriors drop ex. opener

The Penticton Vees scored late in regulation against the run of the play to steal a 2-1 victory from the West Kelowna Warriors Wednesday in the first BCHL pre-season game for both teams.

Tied 1-1 with less than five minutes to play, the Vees won an offensive zone faceoff and worked the puck back to the blueline. A shot deflected to Thomas Stift who rifled the game winner behind a surprised Jayden Shull in the Warriors net.

Logan Gallagher off a deflection of a Penticton power play opened the scoring before Riley Sharun got the equalizer for the Warriors in the dying moments of the second period.

As important as the score, the game Wednesday was about getting a look at a lot of young faces playing their first game in the BC Hockey League.

A few players had brief auditions as affiliated players a year ago, but the vast majority on both sides of the ice were raw rookies looking for a handful of spots on their respective rosters.

However, the Warriors dressed an older lineup, with a vast majority 17 and 18, while the Vees skewed younger.

The age difference showed, as the Warriors dominated much of the game, forcing the Vees goaltending tandem to come up big time and again.

"I thought that was the most intense we played in the last three days. I was very impressed with every guy's effort," said head coach Brandon West.

"The things we worked on in practice for the first two days, we saw some execution, and positive signs in the game."

Only two players the club has committed to, twins David and Drew Vieten, saw action Wednesday, but they saw their ice time scaled back in the second and third to give the coaches a chance to see other players who may be on the cusp of making the team.

West said some of those players have earned a second chance to impress the coaches.

"They made it difficult for us. Some guys we maybe felt we were going to let go tomorrow morning, have earned another opportunity to get back in the line up."

West expects to trim the current roster of 40 down to about 35 before the team hosts Salmon Arm Friday night.

Veterans won't get into the line up Friday, but West does expect more players the team is committed to will get their first taste of pre season action.

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