The West Kelowna Warriors close out their pre-Christmas schedule against the Island Division leading Powell River Kings on Sunday afternoon at Royal LePage Place in the Stuff The Bus game.
Warriors vs. Kings 2017/18 schedule:
Sunday, December 17th @ Royal LePage Place (2:30 PM)
Saturday, February 10th @ Hap Parker Arena (7:15 PM)
The Warriors and Kings play in the first of their two-game season series with both teams earning a victory on their home ice from a season ago. The Warriors picked up a 6-1 win over the Kings at Royal LePage Place in mid-December last year on West Kelowna’s Teddy Bear Toss Night while the Kings returned the favour in late January with a 7-2 win over the Warriors to even the season series at one win a piece.
West Kelowna enters Sunday’s matinee after a big win on home ice coming on Friday night in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Penticton Vees. Chase Dubois opened the scoring with the Teddy Bear Toss goal while Michael Lombardi scored a 2nd period goal to get the Warriors ahead by a goal. The Vees tied the game in the 3rd period forcing overtime where RJ Murphy acted as the hero with just 0.3 seconds remaining to cap off a thrilling win for the Warriors. Cole Demers played a strong game through his 64:59 of action, posting 34 saves on 36 shots for his 9th win of the season.
Warriors Leading Scorers:
Jared Marino (12-19-31)
Chase Dubois (13-14-27)
Michael Ryan (3-21-24)
Parm Dhaliwal (6-14-20)
RJ Murphy (10-9-19)
Captain Jared Marino has been pacing the Warriors offence so far this season with 31 points and has been on a surge as of late with points in each of his last five games heading into Sunday afternoon. The Niagara Falls, Ontario native has registered two goals and seven points during his five-game point streak and has points in eight of his last nine games while forward Michael Lombardi has goals in back-to-back games.
The final game of the pre-Christmas schedule also marks the first time in eight games that the Warriors see an opponent outside of the Interior Division. West Kelowna owns a record of 3-5-0-0 in those 8 games but have been their best when playing outside of their division, including a 10-1-0-0 record when playing outside of the Interior Division and a 3-0-0-0 record against the Island Division this season.
With the thrilling home ice win on Friday against the Vees, the Warriors sit tied for 2nd in the BCHL with 13 wins at home this season, trailing just the Prince George Spruce Kings for the league lead at 14 wins. West Kelowna has scored 64 goals at Royal LePage Place compared to the 51 they have surrendered and own the 2nd best home penalty kill in the league with an 89.4% PK and have allowed just 7 power play goals against at RLP this season.
The Powell River Kings enter Sunday afternoon with an 18-10-2-3 record and sit in a tie for 1st place in the Island Division and are looking for their first win of their three-game road trip with an 8-4 loss to the Surrey Eagles on Friday night before dropping a 2-1 decision in overtime to the Coquitlam Express on Saturday on the Lower Mainland. Hunter Findlater scored the lone goal for the Kings while Matteo Paler-Chow turned aside 21 of the 23 shots he faced in his 7th loss of the season.
Kings Leading Scorers:
Ben Berard (17-19-36)
Carter Turnbull (18-13-31)
Jonny Evans (7-21-28)
Kevin Obssuth (15-12-27)
Gavin Rauser (9-18-27)
Powell River is a veteran-laden group with 12 returnees including captain and forwards Gavin Rauser, Carter Turnbull, Josh Coblenz, Jonny Evans, Ben Berard and Hunter Findlater while defensemen Carmine Buono, Jack Long, Callum Volpe, Andy Stevens and Ben Raffler return on the back end and Mitch Adamyk is back with the Kings in the crease although both Adamyk and Turnbull will be out of the lineup after winning gold with Team Canada West in the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Truro, Nova Scotia.
The month of December has not been too kind to the Kings as they hold a 2-5-0-1 record in the month and have not won in their last four games and remain in the thick of the tightly contested Island Division standings. Powell River is in a three-way tie with the Nanaimo Clippers and Victoria Grizzlies with 41 points at the top of the BCHL’s Island Division.
The Kings have a high-powered offence and sit in 4th in the BCHL with 130 goals for on the season with Carter Turnbull sitting tied for 3rd in the league with 18 goals and teammate Ben Berard not far behind as his 17 markers rank him in a tie for 6th. It’s not just the goals that makes the Kings dangerous but they have had a strong defensive season with just 95 goals against on the year which sees them in 5th among the BCHL.
Sunday afternoon marks the first annual Stuff The Bus game for the Warriors against the Kings as fans are encouraged to bring a nonperishable food item and be entered to win a family pass for the 2018/19 season with the final Skate with the Warriors of 2017 will take place immediately after the final buzzer. Tickets are available at 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, which is slated for 2:30 PM.