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GAME PREVIEW: Warriors, Vipers Renew Hostilities At Kal Tire Place

PHOTO: Lisa Mazurek/Lisa Mazurek Photography

The West Kelowna Warriors return to Kal Tire Place for the second time in seven days as they search for back-to-back wins when they take on the Vernon Vipers on Saturday night.

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Warriors vs. Vipers 2017/18 Schedule:

Saturday, October 28th @ Kal Tire Place (5-2 Vipers) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, November 4th @ Kal Tire Place (6:00 PM)

Wednesday, November 15th @ Kal Tire Place (7:00 PM)

Saturday, November 25th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Tuesday, January 16th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

Friday, January 26th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

The Warriors come into Saturday night’s matchup against Vernon after a big win on Friday night at Royal LePage Place as the Warriors picked up their 12th win of the season in a 4-3 victory over the Penticton Vees. Newcomer Lucas Cullen scored a pair of goals while Jordan Todd also found the back of the net for the first time this season. Mike Lombardi scored the eventual game winning goal towards the end of the 3rd period. Cole Demers turned aside 29 of the 32 shots he faced in the game for his 6th win of the season.

The Warriors and Vipers will not need much of an introduction to one and other as the two teams just saw each other seven days ago with the Vipers taking a 5-2 win on their home ice. Brett Stapley scored a pair of goals in the win for Vernon while Willie Reim had two goals himself to temporarily tie the game in the 2nd period before three unanswered Viper goals ended the game. Nik Amundrud got the start in the Warriors crease where he made 34 saves on 39 shots.

Warriors Leading Scorers:
Jared Marino (6-9-15)

Michael Ryan (1-12-13)

Cavin Tilsley (3-9-12)

Chase Dubois (6-5-11)

RJ Murphy (5-6-11)

The newest additions to the Warriors lineup proved their worth in last night’s victory over the Vees, the first for the Warriors in the regular season since December 18th, 2015. Lucas Cullen had two goals and fit in seamlessly in the Warriors lineup while Barrington, Rhode Island native Michael Lombardi has benefited from the change of scenery from Chilliwack to West Kelowna as he has two goals and an assist in five games since joining the Warriors.

As is the usual case in these types of games, special teams could be a big factor and certainly was in the win for the Warriors a night ago. West Kelowna killed off a four-minute double minor penalty late in the game to preserve their one-goal advantage and will need more of the same from their PK tonight as Vernon boasts the top ranked power play in the BCHL, operating at 24.8%. The Warriors penalty kill enters the evening working at 85.9%, good for 3rd best in the league.

With Nik Amundrud still nursing an injury, Cole Demers will get the start between the pipes for the third straight game and will face his former team in the Vipers tonight. Demers picked up his 6th win of the season in the victory a night ago and remains at the top of the goaltending leaders in the BCHL. The Kelowna native sits tied for 7th in wins (6), 3rd in GAA (2.12) and 1st in save percentage (.939) heading into tonight’s game.

The Vernon Vipers come into Saturday with a 13-4-3-0 playing their third game in four nights with a 4-4 tie in Chilliwack on Wednesday against the Chiefs before, most recently, picking up a 6-3 victory over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Friday night at Kal Tire Place. Jordan Sandhu scored twice while Keyvan Mokhtari, Jagger Williamson, Brett Stapley and Jesse Lansdell added singles in the win. Ty Taylor stopped 27 of the 29 shots he faced in the game to earn his 8th win of the season.

Vipers Leading Scorers:

Brett Stapley (13-16-29)

Jimmy Lambert (9-20-29)

Michael Ufberg (4-16-20)

Jagger Williamson (9-8-17)

Jordan Sandhu (5-9-14)

The Vipers have one of the most prolific offences in the BCHL, sitting at 78 goals for which is good for 2nd in the league (just two behind the Trail Smoke Eaters for the league lead). Vernon has a pair of forwards, Brett Stapley and Jimmy Lambert, who are tied for the BCHL lead in points with 29 and they both did damage just a week ago against the Warriors with Stapley scoring twice and adding an assist while Lambert tallied a goal and an assist in the Viper win.

More on Stapley and Lambert, along with line mate Jordan Sandhu, have been on a tear recently. Stapley possess an 8-game point streak that sees him with 7 goals and 15 points over the stretch while Lambert also has an equally long stretch of games with a point as he has 4 goals and 15 points over that same 8-game stretch. Adding to that is more players with points in consecutive games as Jagger Williamson has points in 9 straight games (6-6-12), Jordan Sandhu holds a 5-game point streak (3-5-8) and Jesse Lansdell also has points in his last 5 games (1-6-7).

The one area that Vernon has been troubled by this season is in the penalty department. The Vipers have 311 penalty minutes this season, which ranks them 5th in the BCHL in that category, as the Warriors were able to score twice on the power play in their last meeting. The Vipers are aggressive on the PK, however, and lead the league with 9 shorthanded goals this season, including one in the victory last night.

The Warriors and Vipers drop the puck from Kal Tire Place with the earlier start time of 6:00 PM and the pre-game show coming at 5:45 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com with the voice of the Warriors, Trevor Miller.

The Warriors will be paying their respects to the fallen soldiers who fight to protect our country every day on Wednesday, November 8th when the Warriors take on the Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 7:00 PM. West Kelowna will be wearing commemorative jerseys for the night that will be available for auction after the game on the Warriors website. For tickets and more info, head to the Warriors office or call (250) 769-7051.