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GAME RECAP: Nelson’s Four Point Afternoon Helps Warriors To 7-1 Victory

WEST KELOWNA, B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors used a pair of goals from Chris Duclair and four points from Brennan Nelson to earn their fourth consecutive victory in a 7-1 triumph over the Merritt Centennials on Sunday afternoon.

For the third consecutive game, Warriors forward Chris Duclair found the back of the net and it kickstarted a Sunday matinee for West Kelowna to give them a 1-0 lead. Brennan Nelson made a strong play in the middle of the ice as he took the puck off of a Centennials defender in neutral ice and got it ahead for Duclair, who got to the left face-off circle and centered a pass that went off of a Merritt player and past affiliate goaltender Nathan Preston for his 10th goal of the season and 2:25 into the game, the Warriors got ahead by a 1-0 score.

On their first shot of the game, the Centennials evened the score courtesy of leading scorer Jaxson Murray. The Warriors turned the puck over inside of their own end and Maddix McCagherty spotted Murray in the slot as he sent a shot past the blocker side of Warriors netminder Cayden Hamming to get the game tied at 1-1 at the 10:57 mark.

The game would not remain tied for long as just 23 seconds later, Nic Porchetta buried his 10th of the season to give West Kelowna a 2-1 lead. Luke Devlin drove down the right side and cut to the net as Preston made the initial save before the rebound was pushed in by Porchetta at the 11:20 mark of the opening period and gave the Warriors their one-goal lead back at 2-1 while firing 19 shots on goal in the opening frame.

Nathan Preston kept his team in the game, including a big breakaway save on Riley Sharun in the second period to keep the Warriors lead at a goal before West Kelowna started to gain momentum and goals came in quick succession team, scoring 3 goals in 2:11 to get ahead in the game.

At the end of a power play as the man advantage expired, Brennan Nelson added his 10th goal of the season to give the Warriors a 3-1 lead. Sharun sent a pass to the slot from the right face-off circle as Nelson got a deflection on the puck and pushed it past Preston as the Warriors jumped ahead by a 3-1 score.

Just under two minutes later at the 16:04 mark, Ben MacDonald gave West Kelowna a three-goal lead with his 19th marker of the season. Jaiden Moriello bumped the puck ahead on the left side as MacDonald tracked down the loose puck and raced down the wing before lifting a shot over the blocker shoulder of Preston for a 4-1 Warriors lead.

14 seconds after that, Michael Salandra added his 15th goal of the campaign to give the Warriors a 5-1 edge. Taking advantage of a turnover, Nelson centered a pass to the middle of the ice where Salandra gathered and dragged a shot over the blocker shoulder of Preston to push West Kelowna ahead by a 5-1 score at the 16:18 mark of the 2nd period.

Rylee Hlusiak pushed the Warriors to a five-goal lead at 6-1 in the 3rd period with a power play goal at the 11:10 mark of the final period. Hlusiak snapped a shot from the right face-off circle past the blocker of Preston for his 15th marker of the season before Duclair added his 2nd goal of the afternoon 31 seconds later that capped off the scoring in a 7-1 Warriors win.

Cayden Hamming was not tested much on the afternoon, turning away 13 of the 14 shots he faced in his 7th win of the season while affiliate goaltender Nathan Preston made 42 saves on 49 shots in his first career BC Hockey League start.

FINAL SCORE: 7-1 Warriors

SHOTS ON GOAL: 49-14 Warriors




1) Brennan Nelson (1-3-4)

2) Chris Duclair (2-1-3)

3) Ben MacDonald (1-1-2)

Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Nic Porchetta (1-0-1)

Attendance: 935

The Warriors (26-16-4-0) will conclude a stretch of five consecutive games on home ice as they host the Cranbrook Bucks (30-13-1-2) on Friday night. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM from Royal LePage Place with tickets available for purchase at the Warriors website or in-person at the Warriors Office as well as at the Box Office at RLP before game time.

Playoff ticket packages are now available for purchase ahead of the 2023 Warriors playoffs! Packages are priced at $128/adult, $104/seniors & students and $64/child and based on an eight-game basis. Get yours today by completing this form! Packages are available until Friday, March 10th.