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BCHL  

Cranbrook rode out of Royal LePage Place with a 2-1 win over Warriors

Warriors fall on home ice

Royal LePage Place has suddenly become inhospitable to the West Kelowna Warriors.

After reeling off five straight on home ice to open the season, the Warriors have suddenly lost two in a row.

The latest, a 2-1 setback at the hands of the visiting Cranbrook Bucks.

It was the second win for the franchise playing its first full season in the BCHL against the Warriors in four meetings.

After a scoreless first period, Kellen Hjartarson got the Bucks on the board early in the second. Warriors netminder Justin Katz made two stops during a wild scramble around the goal crease, but was unable to corral the rebound which Hjartarson banged home to open the scoring.

Tyson Dyck doubled the lead three minutes later with a wrist shot from the right circle just as a Warriors penalty had expired.

Alexi Van Houtte-Cachero got one back before the end of the second. Elan Bar Lev Wise powered the puck to the front of the net, and Van Houtte-Cachero eventually jammed the puck past Nathan Airey who was unable to find the loose puck.

Airey stoned the Warriors the rest of the way. His best stop was a shorthanded breakaway by Tyson Jugnauth with just 24 seconds left in regulation and Katz on the ice for an extra attacker.

Jugnauth stickhandled through the defence and tried to go five-hole, but Airey was equal to the task to preserve the victory.

The Warriors finished the game without the services of forwards Chase Dasfoe and Tyler Cristall.

Dafoe was handed a game misconduct for a blow-to-the-head penalty late in the first period while Cristall was sent off with a match penalty for kicking with just two-and-a-half minutes left in regulation.

Cristall argued the call on the ice, and assistant coach Ayrton Nikkel took up the cause post-game.

He didn't see the incident from the bench, but did get a glimpse of the video after the game.

"I watched the video on it and I didn't see anything," said Nikkel.

"Tyler says he didn't do it, and I stand with my player."

The Warriors had chances throughout the game but, on some of their better chances, either Airey came up big, or they just missed the target.

"I thought we had some good offensive shifts, but I thought their goaltender played really well.

"We had a couple of back doors that we missed and a couple of open nets that we missed. Sometimes the puck just rolls off the stick."

The Warriors were 0-2 with the man advantage while the Bucks went scoreless on their four opportunities, including the two five-minutes majors.

Both Dafoe and Cristall could face additional discipline from the league. Dafoe has already been suspended this season, a two-game suspension for a hit from behind.

During the first period intermission, long-time Warrior season ticket holder Jim Peck and Radka Malyk were married at centre ice.

The date marked the anniversary of the couple's first date and, or course, coincided with a Warriors home game.

The ceremony was presided over by Warriors chaplain, pastor Don Richmond.

The Warriors head to Vernon Wednesday before hosting Salmon Arm Friday for pastor Don's annual Christmas hamper drive.



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