PHOTO: Julie Pringle/Snap Photography
The West Kelowna Warriors begin a weekend on home ice as they host their annual Parent’s Weekend and take on the Merritt Centennials on Friday night at Royal LePage Place.
Warriors vs. Centennials 2017/18 Schedule:
Saturday, September 16th @ Royal LePage Place (3-1 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)
Sunday, October 29th @ Nicola Valley Memorial Arena (5-1 Centennials) (BOXSCORE)
Friday, November 24th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Friday, December 1st @ Nicola Valley Memorial Arena (7:00 PM)
Saturday, February 3rd @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Friday, February 23rd @ Nicola Valley Memorial Arena (7:00 PM)
The Warriors and Centennials each have a win on their home ice this season with Merritt earning a 5-1 victory in their most recent meeting coming just under a month ago. Garrett Ewert scored his first BCHL goal in the loss for the Warriors while Cole Demers made 55 saves on 60 shots in the defeat. Matt Kowalski, Jared Marino and Chase Stevenson all tallied in the first game of this season series, which was a 3-1 victory for the Warriors at RLP in mid-September.
West Kelowna comes into their Friday night showdown against the Cents after an impressive 4-2 victory against the Prince George Spruce Kings at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena in Prince George. Michael Ryan, RJ Murphy, Willie Reim and Jared Marino scored in the game that saw the Warriors travel almost 24 hours roundtrip for the victory. Cole Demers turned aside 29 of the 31 shots he faced to pick up his 8th win of the season.
Warriors Leading Scorers:
Jared Marino (8-12-20)
Chase Dubois (9-10-19)
Michael Ryan (3-16-19)
Parm Dhaliwal (5-13-18)
Michael Lombardi (6-10-16)
A member of the Warriors was recognized at by Hockey Canada this week as forward Chase Stevenson was one of the 60 players invited to Team Canada West selection camp that will take place in Calgary, Alberta beginning December 2nd ahead of the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge that will be held in Truro, Nova Scotia on December 10th. The camp will run until December 5th with practices and scrimmages to determine the final roster.
Michael Lombardi has enjoyed his time in West Kelowna as he has gotten points in seven of his last eight games and has 11 points in 12 games with the Warriors. The Barrington, Rhode Island native has three goals and ten points in those eight games and, along with line mates Willie Reim and RJ Murphy, have been scoring catalysts for the Warriors over the last three games.
In lineup news, Nik Amundrud returns to the crease after missing nine games with an upper body injury, having not played since October 28th in Vernon against the Vipers. The Melfort, Saskatchewan native has played to a 6-6 record in 12 games played thus far this season to go along with a 2.87 GAA and a .913 SV%. Because of Amundrud’s return, the Warriors have traded goaltender Cody Porter to the Amherst Ramblers of the Maritime Hockey League (MHL) in exchange for future considerations.
The Merritt Centennials enter play on Friday night with 9-12-1-2 record and sit in 7th place in the Interior Division but are coming off of a 4-1 victory over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena in Merritt. Zach Court, Chase Bell, Joey Berkopec and Sam Miller each scored first period goals en route to the win while Jacob Berger backstopped the Cents with his 8th win of the season, turning aside 26 of the 27 shots he faced on the night.
Centennials Leading Scorers:
Zach Zorn (8-12-20)
Henry Cleghorn (8-11-19)
Nicholas Wicks (6-13-19)
Tyrell Buckley (5-11-16)
Zach Court (5-9-14)
The scoring for the Centennials has been led by their veteran players with four of the top five scorers for the Cents being 20-year-olds. The Centennials leading scorer, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories native Zach Zorn has been on a hot streak recently, with points in 6 of his last 7 games. The 3rd-year BCHL veteran has tallied 3 goals and 6 assists for 9 points in that span and leading Merritt to a 4-1-1-0 record in those games in which he collected points.
The Centennials have rebounded after a rough start to the season and that success has split over to their special teams, where Merritt ranks 3rd in the BCHL with a 22.1% power play, being led in power play goals by Henry Cleghorn with four. The Cents also own the 6th-best penalty kill in the league, operating at 82.6% through 24 games this season.
Since these two teams last met just under one month ago, Merritt has added a couple of players that have added plenty to their roster. Forward Bradley Cocca has 3 goals and 9 points in 13 games with the Cents, recently seeing a 6-game point streak come to an end while goaltender Austin Roden was added from the Nanaimo Clippers to ease the workload of veteran goaltender Jacob Berger and has posted a .938 SV% in two games with Merritt thus far.
The Warriors and Centennials drop the puck on their third game of the season series at 7:00 PM on Friday night from Royal LePage Place. Tickets are available online at wkw.goticketpro.com, at the Warriors office, by calling (250) 769-7051 or at the box office ahead of the opening face-off. The Warriors close out their weekend of play back at RLP against the Vernon Vipers.