Photo Credit: Tami Quan Photography
West Kelowna, B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors kick off the 2021 Pod Season in Vernon Saturday night.
The Warriors injuries caught up to them quickly during the Okanagan Cup. After a stellar round robin they suffered a 2-0 loss in the OK Cup Semi Finals over the Vernon Vipers. Since that early November game the Warriors lost and gained 10 players from their roster. Numerous steps have been taken to make sure some of the young and upcoming stars of the Warriors have developed even though no games have been played all winter. Going into the Vernon Pod the Warriors should be able to flex their muscle between the pipes with both Johnny Derrick and Zach Bennett returning. The Warriors also gained some quality depth on the back end with Maine commit Bryden Sinclair and rookie Dylan Brooks joining their roster. This Vernon Pod is expected to be a showcase of great defense and great goaltending, the question is, who will be the difference offensively?
Saturday April 3rd VS Salmon Arm Silverbacks: 6:00pm
The Warriors came out of the Okanagan Cup going 3-1 versus the Salmon Arm Silverbacks but this time around will see a much different Warriors roster. During the games against the Silverbacks last Fall, the Warriors got production from forwards John Evans, Felix Trudeau, Matt Stienburg and Charles Alexis Legault. All of these players either got called up to their respective NCAA colleges or were offered ice time in other leagues. So now the question is, who steps up? The Warriors have had a handful of players improve physically and mentally during the break. Names to look out for include new Captain Elan Bar Lev Wise and forward Marus Joughin, who is still looking for his first BCHL goal.
Sunday April 4th VS Vernon Vipers: 4:00pm
Sunday the Warriors will play the host Vernon Vipers.The Warriors have swept the Vipers in Okanagan Cup round robin play but their matchup except for the elimination game where the Vipers shut out the Warriors 2-0 in the Okanagan Cup semi-final. It was a game where the Vipers solved the Warriors fire power up front using one of the top back ends in the BCHL. The Vipers didn’t lose much over the break other than Josh Prokop and goaltender Koen MacInnis returning to the Western Hockey League and Will Arquiett staying in the United States. This Vipers team also gained a couple new pieces including goaltender James Porter Jr from the Spokane Chiefs and Seth Bafaro from the Vancouver Giants. This Warriors team needs to do their absolute best to generate offense against one of the best defensive clubs in the BCHL.
Puck drop for the Warriors on Saturday will be 6:00pm versus the Silverbacks and Sunday at 4:00pm versus the Vipers. Catch broadcasts on BCHL TV (formally HockeyTV) or tune into the Warriors MixIr radio station.