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GAME RECAP: Four Goal 1st Period Aids Warriors In Victory Over Silverbacks

PHOTO: Tami Quan

WEST KELOWNA, BC. – Four 1st period goals and an Isaiah Norlin marker in the final period helped the West Kelowna Warriors earn their 25th win of the season in a 5-4 triumph over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Friday night at Royal LePage Place.

It was the first game back on home ice for West Kelowna since January 27th, a span of 19 days and four road games that the team worked their way back in front of their home fans and entertained the 1,174 patrons with a four-goal 1st period that featured a pair of markers from Michael Salandra.

After Salandra capped off a nice passing play to open the scoring at the 5:18 mark of the opening period, he was called upon to take a penalty shot drawn from the hard work of Cal Hughes driving the net and getting hauled down. Salandra stepped in and made a beautiful move to the backhand on the blocker side of Silverbacks goaltender Eli Pulver for his second goal of the period and 21st of the season, giving the home side a 2-0 lead 8:47 into the game.

Salmon Arm battled their way back into the game with a power play goal at the 10:25 mark from newcomer Tanner Walos to make it a one-goal before three goals in 47 seconds commenced on the final part of the period.

Felix Caron gave the Warriors a 3-1 lead with his 25th goal of the season and third while shorthanded before, on the same power play, Reid Varkonyi capitalized 40 seconds later and cut the deficit to one goal again before it took only seven seconds off the centre ice face-off following the Salmon Arm strike for Hughes to step into the left face-off circle and wired a shot over the glove of Pulver to give the Warriors a 4-2 lead to head into the 2nd period with.

The game slowed significantly from an offensive stand point and featured just three markers throughout the remainder of the game including Cole Cooksey pushing the game to within a goal at 11:23 of the 2nd period with a drive wide on the right wing and finished on his forehand on the glove side of Warriors goaltender Rorke Applebee.

The big insurance marker in the game for West Kelowna came early in the 3rd period and 2:48 into the final frame, Isaiah Norlin provided that as he had his shot from the right side of the ice go off a Silverback defender in front and past Pulver to count for his 11th goal of the season and gave the Warriors a 5-3 lead.

After a stretch of over 10 minutes of continuous play to stretch the 3rd period, Tristan Allen and the ‘Backs just did not go away as his left point shot had eyes for the back of the net through traffic over the glove shoulder of Applebee and made it a one-goal game once more with just under three minutes to play.

Salmon Arm emptied their net and held a 6-on-5 for the game’s final 1:37 but the Warriors were stout defensively and held off the attack to earn a 5-4 victory and conclude their season set against the Silverbacks with wins in 5 of the 6 games played between the two sides.

Rorke Applebee did not see much rubber in the Warriors net, making 14 saves on 18 shots in his 18th win of the season while Eli Pulver was busier in the Silverbacks crease, turning aside 27 of the 33 shots thrown his way as he suffer his 11th loss of the season.

FINAL SCORE: 5-4 Warriors

SHOTS ON GOAL: 33-18 Warriors




1) Michael Salandra (2-0-2)

2) Tristan Allen (1-1-2)

3) Cal Hughes (1-0-1)

Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Dylan Brooks (0-0-0)


West Kelowna (25-9-7-0) will make the short trek to the South on Saturday night as they take on the Penticton Vees (29-7-2-2) for the fourth time this season. Puck drop is slated for 6:00 PM from the South Okanagan Events Centre with the game being broadcasted live on as well as streamed online on FloHockey.