West Kelowna erase 2-0 deficit in come-from-behind win in Surrey Friday

Warriors blow by top dogs

Courtesy of Trevor Miller

The West Kelowna Warriors fought back from a two-goal 1st period deficit and knocked off the top ranked team in the BC Hockey League, picking up a 5-3 victory over the Surrey Eagles on Friday night at the South Surrey Arena.

Despite the better of the opportunities in the opening period, including a good look from Michael Salandra at the front of the net where he just lost the puck going from his forehand to his backhand, the Eagles worked against the flow of play to take the lead on a scramble play the front of the Warriors goal.

Caden Cranston threw a puck from the slot that Trent Wilson made a save on in the crease before the scramble led to Aaron Schwartz gathering the puck in the right face-off circle and he sent a backhand past a down and out Rorke Applebee in the Warriors net to give Surrey a 1-0 lead at the 13:12 mark of the 1st period.

Schwartz added his second of the period at the 17:59 mark of the opening period, taking a terrific pass from the right wing corner from Micah Berger at the front of the net in transition as he went to his backhand and beat Applebee in tight on the blocker side for a 2-0 advantage with Eagles netminder Ajeet Gundarah doing excellent work in the Surrey net, turning aside each of the 12 shots he faced in the opening 20 minutes.

A penalty from Jovan Brar with just over 12 minutes remaining in the 2nd period changed the complexion of the middle frame as the Warriors power play gave them some momentum to get on the scoresheet courtesy of the BCHL’s leader in goals in Felix Caron.

Michael Salandra bumped the puck to the left face-off circle from the slot where Caron rocketed a one-timer past the blocker shoulder of Gundarah for his 8th power play goal of the season and 27th overall to give the Warriors their first goal of the game at the 8:52 mark.

Cal Hughes tied the game with his 19th goal of the campaign at the 14:27 mark of the middle period after a strong forecheck helped the Warriors keep the puck in the offensive zone. Sean Keohane moved in with a shot from the left point that kicked off the left pad of Gundarah with Hughes burying from the right circle to tie the game at 2-2.

The Warriors earned their first lead of the game to cap off a three-goal 2nd period as Jack Pridham snuck behind the defense and took a Brennan Nelson to cruise into the offensive end and pick his spot low to the blocker side of Gundarah for his 17th goal of the season and gave the Warriors a 3-2 lead.

Keeping the pressure on in the 3rd period, the Warriors scored their fourth unanswered goal of the game as Owen Drury tallied his 2nd goal of the season and his first since September 23rd. Drury settled a bouncing puck in the offensive zone before flipping a shot over the glove side of Gundarah to push the Warriors advantage to 4-2 at the 3:25 mark of the 3rd period.

Ryden Evers cut the deficit to a goal with his tally at 11:39 on a shot from the left face-off circle that zipped by the blocker side of Applebee as the Eagles pushed to try and get the game on even terms.

With the Surrey net empty, the Warriors put the icing on a road victory as Jackson Kyrkostas buried his 19th goal of the season into the empty cage as the Warriors knocked off the Eagles by a 5-3 score and handed them just their third loss on home ice this season.

Rorke Applebee picked up his 20th win of the season, turning aside 20 of the 23 shots thrown his way while Ajeet Gundarah pushed away 21 of the 25 shots he faced in his 5th loss of the season.

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