With four players out of the lineup due to suspension and two more on the shelf because of injuries, the Warriors earned a massive victory in Salmon Arm on Friday.
Marcus Basara led the way with two goals, including the game-winner. Basara also had an assist on Seb Lloyd’s marker 25 seconds into the game, earning him first-star honours.
West Kelowna netminder Tyler Briggs was named the second star for his 31-save performance, while Seb Lloyd’s goal and two assists saw him receive the third star.
The Warriors’ third line of Reid Simmonds, Brennan Clark, and Brent Lashuk also contributed, posting two insurance goals (Lashuk and Clark) as it battled to protect West Kelowna’s lead late in the game.
The visitors also played the game with just five defencemen including Matt Anholt, who was moved back to the blue-line because of West K’s roster woes.
“Credit to all the guys” Brennan Clark grinned after the game. “We keep persevering and we get through all the obstacles we’re faced with and we keep coming up with good wins.
Clark’s empty-net tally improved his total to 15 goals on the season – good for third in team goal scoring. The 17 year-old forward says he’s always looking to contribute physically and on the scoreboard, though he knows there’s a little more pressure to step up in the face of a dwindling roster.
“It’s up to the younger guys to step up here” Clark says, “I hope I can keep doing that.” However, Clark insists his teammates are also all digging deep.
“Everyone’s stepping up right now, and we’re having good efforts.”
The Warriors are now 2-0 since being served a slew of suspensions stemming from a Jan. 26th donnybrook in Penticton. West Kelowna is also 8-1-1-1 so far in 2013.
With the victory, the Warriors are now 5 points ahead of Salmon Arm in the race for third in the division. West Kelowna still trails second-place Merritt by 4 points.
The Warriors continue the road trip with another divisional matchup Saturday in Vernon.