PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Four unanswered goals helped the West Kelowna Warriors earn their 10th victory of the season in a 4-1 triumph over the Prince George Spruce Kings on Saturday night at Kopar Memorial Arena.
A special teams filled opening period saw each team find the back of the net with the man advantage beginning with the Spruce Kings at the 4:18 mark of the opening period as Luca Primerano gave the home side an early lead in the game.
Primerano took a pass from JR Perdion in the left face-off circle and fired a one-time shot past the glove side of Warriors goaltender Rorke Applebee to give the Spruce Kings a 1-0 advantage on the power play.
The Warriors kicked their play into gear after that and drew the game’s next four power plays, converting on a marker at the 15:41 point of the period courtesy of a 4-on-3 man advantage as the team’s leading scorer struck for his 11th goal of the season.
Felix Caron took a pass in the left face-off circle from Isaiah Norlin and blasted a one-timer through the glove side of Spruce Kings netminder Ryan Sanborn for his team leading 11th strike of the season and got the Warriors to an even 1-1 tie out of the 1st period.
After outshooting Prince George by a 12-5 margin in the opening 20 minutes, the Warriors continued that trend in the second period, forcing 13 shots to the net of Ryan Sanborn and as the pressure mounted, were able to take the lead late in the period with Jackson Kyrkostas giving his side a 2-1 advantage.
With a steady shift inside of the offensive zone, Viggo Nordström got the puck just inside the blue line and threw a high shot to the front of the net where Sanborn knocked the puck down with Norlin collecting to try a wraparound that sprung tio the front of the net where Kyrkostas punched a backhand shot over the blocker side for his 8th goal of the season at the 18:44 mark of the period to give the Warriors a 2-1 lead into the 3rd period.
The Spruce Kings put a charge on in the 3rd period to try and tie the game but Rorke Applebee and the Warriors stood tall before Cal Hughes extended the Warriors advantage to 3-1 off a gorgeous feed from Jack Pridham.
Pridham took the puck away in neutral ice and carried down the right wing side where he deked past one Spruce King defender and cut through another in the face-off circle before setting up Hughes to finish the play for his 5th goal of the season at the 12:25 mark of the 3rd period to give the Warriors a 3-1 lead.
In an attempt tio get back in the game, the Spruce Kings pulled their goaltender with just under 4 minutes remaining in the game and Landen Hilditch took advantage with his 1st BCHL goal, backhanding a puck down ice from the neutral zone into the empty net at the 16:39 mark of the final period to give the Warriors a 4-1 lead, one they would hold on to.
Rorke Applebee turned aside 21 of the 22 shots thrown his way for his 6th win of the season while Ryan Sanborn made 28 saves on 31 shots in his 3rd loss of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 4-1 Warriors
SHOTS ON GOAL: 32-22 Warriors
WARRIORS PP: 1/3
WARRIORS PK: 4/5
1) Jackson Kyrkostas (1-0-1)
2) Luca Primerano (1-0-1)
3) Isaiah Norlin (0-2-2)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: JR Perdion (0-1-1)
The Warriors (10-5-2-0) head back to Royal LePage Place for a sell-out crowd on Tuesday night as they will host the Merritt Centennials (6-9-1-1) in Total Tuesday. Total Restoration has bought out the house with standing room tickets only available for the game, for free, for the game. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM from RLP with tickets available at the Warriors website as well as in-person at the Box Office.