PHOTO: Chris Fowler/Pure Life Photography
The West Kelowna Warriors used a 41-save performance from Gabriel Morency as they picked up a 4-3 victory over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Wednesday night at the Shaw Centre.
The Warriors power play was buzzing in the opening period and it converted for a goal at the 10:38 mark right off the face-off. Braiden Epp won the draw to the left face-off circle to find Quin Foreman and his shot got past Silverbacks netminder Nic Tallarico and helped across the goal line by Logan Mostat as the Salmon Arm native picked up his 18th goal of the season coming on the power play and giving the Warriors a 1-0 advantage.
West Kelowna’s power play was back at it again later in the period as Quin Foreman was fed on a beautiful cross ice pass by Connor Sodergren and Foreman’s backhand-forehand deke beat Tallarico on the blocker side for his 24th goal of the season and a 2-0 Warrior lead at the 12:08 mark of the opening period.
The Silverbacks weren’t down by two goals for long as just 10 seconds after the Foreman tally, Marcus Mitchell buried on a glove side rebound from Warriors goaltender Gabriel Morency and the Silverbacks cut the deficit to one as the Warriors took a 2-1 lead to the dressing room after one period of play.
The Warriors started the 2nd period with a flurry as they fired 10 shots toward Salmon Arm goal to start the period but it was the Silverbacks that tied the game on a 5-on-3 power play. Elijiah Barriga fired a shot over the blocker shoulder for the 2-2 tie at the 14:07 mark of the 2nd period.
The game was not tied for long as just 1:51 later at the 15:58 mark as just out of a penalty kill, Cavin Tilsley floated a pass for Chase Stevenson behind the defense and went forehand-backhand for the goal past Tallarico’s glove side for his 7th goal of the season and a 3-2 Warriors lead.
Warriors goaltender Gabriel Morency made 17 saves on 18 shots in the 2nd period for 26 saves on 27 shots through 40 minutes of play. Silverbacks netminder Nic Tallarico stopped 15 of the 16 shots he faced in the 2nd period and 26 of the 28 shots he had thrown his way through two periods of play.
The third period was a defensive game from the Warriors with the Silverbacks pressing with 17 shots total in the game’s final period of play trying to find the equalizer. The Warriors got the eventual game winning goal at the 18:28 mark as Chase Stevenson found the empty net from centre ice for his second goal of the game and his 8th of the season pushing the lead to 4-2 in favour of the Warriors.
Salmon Arm tallied a late goal with just 19 seconds left to pull within one as Marcus Mitchell found the back of the net on the glove side off a rebound but it would be too little, too late as the Warriors skated away with their 26th win of the season and a 4-2 victory in Salmon Arm.
West Kelowna netminder Gabriel Morency picked up his 4th win of the season with a 41 save performance on 44 shots while Silverback goaltender Nic Tallarico turned aside 29 of the 32 shots he faced on the night in his 8th loss of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 4-3 Warriors
SHOTS ON GOAL: 44-33 Silverbacks
PP: Warriors (2/6) Silverbacks (1/4)
1) Gabriel Morency (41 saves on 44 shots)
2) Carson Bolduc (0-2-2)
3) Marcus Mitchell (2-0-2)
The Warriors (26-25-0-2) complete their four-game stretch away from Royal LePage Place as they head to the South Okanagan Events Centre for the final time this regular season as they take on the Penticton Vees (37-12-1-2) for the 6th time this season. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with the pre-game show getting underway at 6:50 PM with free audio available on the Warriors Internet Network and pay-per-view video on www.hockeytv.com. The Warriors return to RLP on Saturday night as they host the Victoria Grizzlies.