Warriors dump Cents in pre-season tilt

The Westside Warriors improved their pre-season record to 2-1 Wednesday with a convincing 5-1 victory over the visiting Merritt Centennials.

Travis Blanleil and Tyler Krause led the way for the Warriors with a goal and an assist each. Linemate Grayson Downing added a pair of assists.

Kyle Singleton, JT Osborn and Tom Kroshus on the power-play all added singles.

Kevin Boyle, making his first pre-season appearance, turned aside 16 shots in going the distance in goal for the Warriors.

The 18-year-old New Jersey product had his bid for a shutout spoiled by Jeff Jones who scored the lone Merritt goal midway through the final period.

The Warriors out shot Merritt 29-17 on the night. Westside went 1-2 with the man advantage while the Centennials were scoreless in their four opportunities.

"I thought we played pretty well. Some guys stepped up that hadn't shown us a lot and I liked their effort," says head coach Darren Yopyk.

"There's also some areas to iron out still, but that's what pre season is for."

Yopyk says some players on the bubble as far as making the team made a case to be around once the final cuts are made on the weekend.

"I think some guys stepped up like I said and other guys kind of fell through the cracks a little bit. That's kind of what happens, the cream rises to the top and I think our better players started stepping up and the ones that aren't quite there are starting to slip a little bit."

One player who doesn't have to worry about making the club is Blanleil, a 16-year-old forward who did not look out of place on a line with veterans Downing and Krause.

Yopyk says he's a very special player.

"I was a little apprehensive about a 16-year-old to be honest with you but I don't care if you're 16, 17, 18, 19 or 20 years old I'm looking for the best team. Right now he's one of my best 12 forwards."

Blanleil may have a chance to open the season on the left side on the number two line.

The Warriors close out the exhibition schedule in Merritt Friday night.

Yopyk says he hopes to trim the roster down to 25 on Saturday before the club gets ready to open up the regular season Friday, September 10 when the Penticton Vees invade Royal LePage Place.

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