French turns trick in Warriors mauling

Max French didn't take long to assert himself during his final season of junior hockey.

The West Kelowna captain registered his first career BCHL hat trick Saturday leading the Warriors to a 6-0 thumping of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

The game was the first of two contests for both teams as they open up the regular season at the Showcase event in Chilliwack.

"That was a ton of fun. We've been waiting for this all summer and it's a good way to start off the year," says French.

"It's always nice to get a first right off the start but I have to give credit to my linemates tonight. They were flying out there and I couldn't have done it without them.

French skated between Brett McKinnon and Reid Simmonds.

While Simmonds was kept off the scoresheet McKinnon chipped in with a trio of points scoring once and adding a pair of assists.

The Warriors got things going just 84 seconds into the game when defenceman Adam Plant took a nifty cross-ice pass from Seb Lloyd and snapped a wrist shot top shelf from the bottom of the left faceoff circle.

The goal came just 13 seconds into a man advantage.

"It was nice to get that one because our power-play last year struggled a bit," says Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster.

"We have some pretty skilled guys out there that can zip it around pretty good and you couldn't draw it up any better. Seb Lloyd perfect back door pass and it goes in so it was nice to see."

While the power-play connected on just one of six chances it controlled the puck all night long, especially when Lloyd, David Pope and Marcus Basara were on the ice.

French made it 2-0 beating a beleaguered Colin Dzijacky from a sharp angle down low. McKinnon did all the work along the boards before feeding French.

McKinnon got one of his own late in the first with a wrist shot from about 20 feet out.

French early in the second and Basara in the final minute upped the lead to 5-0 before French capped the hat trick just 13 seconds into the final frame.

Plant had an assist to go along with his goal while Lloyd had a pair of helpers.

Despite handling 23 shots Tyler Briggs didn't face too many tough chances in registering his first career BCHL shutout.

He had four goose eggs while being named top goaltender in the AJHL a season ago.

Ferster expects Briggs to get the start again Sunday when the Warriors take on Surrey to conclude the Showcase event.

Ferster says there wasn't much not to like following the clubs first effort of the season.

"I think we played hard in all three zones and competed hard and that's one of the cornerstones of what we want to do here this year," says Ferster.

"It's a credit to our veterans Shaun Hochhausen, Max French, Josh Monk, Brett McKinnon, just go down the list. When you have leaders like that it's a nice thing to see.

The Warriors will open the home portion of their 2012-2013 season Friday night when they entertain the defending RBC Cup champion Penticton Vees.

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