Another second period surge was enough to give Penticton a 2-0 series lead in the Interior Conference finals.
After a tight-checking and very exciting opening period, the Vees struck three times in the middle frame. That onslaught gave Penticton a 4-1 lead heading to the final stanza, as the hosts would slow things down and cruise to the finish line.
After a narrow loss in game one, the Warriors weren’t able to overcome some of the same issues that cost them in game one – such as suspect goaltending and discipline.
“It’s disheartening” Warriors Associate Coach Brent Gough conceded after the game. “We took costly penalties at costly times and that’s what killed us,” adding “We need to find a way to score.”
The Warriors also ran into some bad luck – such as a Louie Nanne goal 22 seconds into the second period. The Warriors claimed that the pivotal 2-0 goal shouldn’t have counted, as Penticton’s Jedd Soleway was lying in West Kelowna’s crease and preventing Tyler Briggs from making the save.
The Warriors bench contends that while no penalty should have been called to Soleway, the goal should have been waived off. The Nanne marker would prove the beginning of the end.
Still, Warriors defenceman Josh Monk has no excuses for to the outcome.
“We were pretty undisciplined” Monk admitted afterwards, adding “We didn’t really stick to our game plan.”
Monk set up the lone Warriors goal late in the second period when his point shot bounced off Reid Simmonds and past Chad Katunar.
Ryan Gropp, Louie Nanne, Jedd Soleway, Brad McClure, and James De Haas tallied for the Vees.
Three of Penticton’s five goals came on the powerplay (3/7) while the Warriors were held at bay on their four opportunities.
Shots counted 25-25 after 60 minutes, though Monk knows his team didn’t get to the net enough to trouble Katunar or the Vees.
“We had shifts on and off where we played well” Monk suggests, “But overall we weren’t able to continue the pressure shift after shift like we have been in some other games this post-season.”
The Warriors now head back to Royal LePage Place for games three and four. “We’ve got to clear this game and last game out of our minds now, and focus on Monday” Monk says.
The Alternate Captain also insists his teammates remain confident. “We haven’t lost at home yet in the playoffs” Monk points out. “If we come out and win Monday it’s a whole new series.”
Games three and four of the series are set for Monday and Tuesday at Royal LePage Place. The puck drops at 7pm both nights.