West Kelowna Warriors outlasted visiting Wenatchee 7-4 Saturday

Warriors survive late push

The West Kelowna Warriors built up a big lead, then held on to beat the visiting Wenatchee Wild 7-4 before 750 fans Saturday at Royal LePage Place.

The Warriors raced out to a 5-0 lead past the 13 minute mark of the second period, but a lack of focus and some untimely penalties gave the visitors an opening to make a game of it the rest of the way.

Felix Trudeau and Chase Defoe each scored twice for the Warriors in the hard hitting contest. Tyler Cristall, Damon Jugnauth and Nick Roukounakis with his first since opening night, also scored for the Warriors.

Parker Murphy, acquired at the trade deadline, scored three of Wenatchee's four goals.

Head coach Simon Ferguson had some harsh words for his team following Wednesday's 7-1 win in Merritt, saying they cheated too much and gave up too much after building a big lead.

He thought they were better Saturday, but eventually got away from their game.

"It's an immature group, younger in mind. When you go up 5-0 you start to feel that swagger, you think you can do things, you take longer shifts and start to take penalties,"said Ferguson.

He pointed to the Edmonton Oilers, a team with all the skill in the world but, if you play the wrong way, the puck ends up in your net.

"To me, you can play hockey, you can do skill training, but learning to win is a whole different skill. It's January, and we're still learning to win.

"It's a new group and we're learning how to win. It takes time."

Trailing 5-0, Wenatchee scored goals less than two minutes apart to cut the deficit to three before the end of the second.

A power play goal three minutes into the third brought them to within two and a ninth power play moments later gave the Wild a chance to pull to within a goal,but a stout penalty kill allowed the Warriors to right the ship.

Trudeau's second of the night and team leading 24th on a backdoor one-timer off a feed from newly acquired Christophe Farmer extended the lead back to three.

Despite Murphy's hat trick goal minutes later, the Warriors were able to weather the storm, and sealed it when Dafoe hit the empty net in the final minute.

Assistant coach Ayrton Nikkel was ejected near the end of the second period for vociferously arguing a blow to the head penalty handed out to Dafoe near the end of the second.

The extra minor put the Warriors down two men for an extended period, but they were able to skate away unscathed.

Saturday's game also marked the BCHL debut of 17-year-old forward Tomis Marinkovic who committed to the team earlier this year.

Marinkovic has been playing this season with Vancouver in the BC Elite Hockey League.

He didn't look out of place.

"I thought he came in for his first game...coming out of U-18 is always tough, but he played physical, played with composure, handled the puck well,"said Ferguson.

"He was a great asset for our lineup tonight."

The Warriors have a quick turnaround before hosting Cranbrook Sunday afternoon at 2:30.

It will be the Bucks third game in four days after dropping a pair of 3-2 decisions in Wenatchee Thursday and Friday.

Sunday's game is the second annual Hockey Day in West K., with youngsters 18 and under gaining entry free if they are wearing a hockey jersey.

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