PHOTO: Julie Pringle/Snap Photography
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 6th, 2018
WEST KELOWNA, B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors had their season come to an end on Tuesday night with a 6-3 loss to the Trail Smoke Eaters, falling 4-0 in the Interior Division Quarter Final at Royal LePage Place.
The shorthanded Warriors, playing without the likes of defensemen Jake Harrison, Tyler Jutting and Stephen Kleysen along with forwards Ryan Steele and Willie Reim started the game with the first few shots on goal before it was the Smoke Eaters, for the third game in a row, that found the back of the net first.
Jeremy Lucchini chipped the puck out of his zone and found Tyler Ghirardosi at the Warriors blue line as he moved into the left-wing face-off circle before sending a pass to the slot for Ryan Murphy as he settled the loose puck and tucked it between the legs of Warriors goaltender Nik Amundrud for a 1-0 Trail lead at the 2:39 mark of the opening period of the game.
The Warriors worked hard and tied the game at the 6:19 mark of the 1st period as Michael Ryan capped off a gorgeous tic-tac-toe passing play. Chase Dubois stated the play, stopping inside of the Smoke Eaters zone before getting a pass across for Parm Dhaliwal in the left-wing face-off circle and got it back in front for Ryan in the slot as he went from his forehand-backhand past the blocker side of Smoke Eaters netminder Adam Marcoux for his first goal of the series and a tie game.
Michael Lombardi gave the Warriors their first lead of the game (and their first lead of the series since Game #1) at the 8:56 mark of the opening frame. Right off of an offensive zone face-off, Lombardi got the puck in the slot and let go of a wrist shot that glanced off of a Smoke Eaters stick and past the glove side of Marcoux for his 2nd goal of the series to give the Warriors a one-goal lead.
Just after the Warriors grabbed the lead, Matt Kowalski was given a five-minute major penalty for a blow to the head penalty and a game misconduct and the Smoke Eaters made them pay just eight seconds into the man advantage.
Off of an offensive zone face-off win, Lucchini walked down the left wing and let a shot go from the face-off circle where Amundrud made the save but a whack from Ghirardosi dislodged the puck from the Warriors goaltender and behind him. After a brief discussion, the referees deemed the play was legal and a good goal to tie the game at the 10:13 mark.
The remainder of the penalty was killed off, along with a few other infractions by each side thrown into the mix, and the Warriors and Smoke Eaters went to the dressing room after a period of play all tied at 2-2 before the Warriors got the lead back at the 11:01 mark of the 2nd frame.
Jared Marino made a nice pass from the left half boards as he centered to the slot for Dubois, who drifted to the right side and at the right hash marks sent a pass to the blocker side where Chase Stevenson tapped it in on the blocker side for his 1st goal of the series and regained the Warriors lead at 3-2.
The lead did not last long, however, as Levi Glasman scored the first of what would be two goals in the game as he struck with a chip play on the blocker side at the 12:14 mark of the middle stanza. Glasman took a Lucchini pass from the slot to the blocker side of Amundrud as he beat the down and out goaltender to tie the score at 3-3.
Glasman was at it again just before the period came to a close coming courtesy of a power play with just 1:17 remaining in the period. Connor Welsh set the play up from the left point with a shot that was very nicely redirected out of the air off the stick of Glasman for his second goal of the period and a 4-3 Trail lead heading to the 3rd period.
The Smoke Eaters got the all elusive fifth goal of the game at the 5:05 mark of the period as Ghirardosi cut through the Warriors defense and beat Amundrud for the 5-3 lead before the Warriors pulled their goaltender with just over four minutes to play in the game.
Not too many chances came about with the net empty for the Warriors and it was Ghirardosi that got behind the Warriors defense and completed his hat trick and gave the Smoke Eaters the sweep over the Warriors in the opening round of the BCHL playoffs with a 6-3 win.
Nik Amundrud turned aside 33 of the 38 shots he faced in the game in his 4th loss of the series and his final game of his Junior hockey career. Adam Marcoux stopped 30 of the 33 shots thrown his way for his 4th win of the series.
FINAL SCORE: 6-3 Smoke Eaters
FINAL SHOTS ON GOAL: 39-33 Smoke Eaters
Warriors PP: 1/4
Warriors PK: 2/4
1) Jared Marino (0-1-1)
2) Michael Ryan (1-0-1)
3) Nik Amundrud (33 saves on 38 shots)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Chase Dubois (0-3-3)
The Warriors would like to thank all the volunteers, management and of course the fans for being the best in the BC Hockey League! The Warriors will be back on the ice for Spring Camp which will take place in late April.