Warriors remain perfect in pre season, blank visiting Vernon Vipers

Warriors blank Vipers

It's only pre season, but the West Kelowna Warriors looked pretty good in their first game in front of the home fans.

First year netminder Rorke Applebee turned away 24 shots in his first action of the pre season leading the Warriors to a 3-0 win over the visiting Vernon Vipers.

The win was the third straight for the Warriors who will close out the exhibition season Saturday night in Vernon.

Veteran Michael Salandra, one of six regulars returning from a year ago scored the only goal the Warriors would need on the evening.

Midway through the first on an odd man rush, Norwegian import Johannes Løkkeberg fed a cross ice pass to Salandra streaking down the left wing. Salandra, on his off wing beat Vernon goaltender Dylan Adams to the far side just inside the post.

It looked as if that would stand up as the lone goal of the night until later in the final period when the Warriors power play, silent in four previous tries, finally connected.

Felix Caron, another returning forward, took a backdoor pass from linemate Viggo Nordström at the left point and connected on a one-timer to double the advantage.

Caden Kemkaran-Humble banged home a rebound in the final minute on another power play to put the game away.

The Warriors finished the night two for six with the man advantage while holding the Vipers off the scoreboard on their five chances.

Warriors head coach Simon Ferguson singled out Applebee who was solid in earning the shutout. His best save came in the opening moments when he stopped the Vipers on a clear cut breakaway from the blueline in.

While he was pleased with the win, Ferguson says the Warriors still have some details to work on with the start of the regular season just a week away.

"There are a lot of little habits and details the guys have come here with and they need to be ready to jump to the next level," said Ferguson.

"For me, it's learning our game the way we want to play. Chip in and chip out. You can see where there's moments out there where we are not doing that.

Structure is not as important as details and making the right plays in the right way."

Ferguson says you can't get too excited about the score considering the Vipers dressed a younger lineup than the Warriors.

"They will probably have a little closer to their lineup tomorrow so we'll have a better gauge as to where we're at."

The Warriors open up the 2023-2024 regular season, and the first for the BCHL since breaking away from Hockey Canada, next Friday when they host the reigning league champion Penticton Vees.

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