WEST KELOWNA, B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors rebranded as the Peachland Warriors and scored three 2nd period goals to help them to a 4-3 victory over the Prince George Spruce Kings on Friday night at Royal LePage Place.
The Warriors were quick on the scoresheet as just 2:45 into the opening frame, Jake Bernadet found the back of the net on the game’s first shot to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Kailus Green got the puck ahead to the blue line where a streaking Brennan Nelson took the puck and carried into the offensive zone, spinning a pass on his backhand to the front of the net as Bernadet drove to the net and chipped it past the blocker side of Spruce Kings netminder Jordan Fairlie for his 6th goal of the season for a 1-0 advantage.
Prince George also took advantage of their first shot of the game, tallying a power play marker to get the score on even terms just 8 seconds into the man advantage. Kai Greaves set up a pass for Austin Fraser, who pounded a shot past the glove side of Warriors goaltender Cayden Hamming at the 8:39 mark of the opening period and tied the game at 1-1.
Hamming had to make a great shorthanded stop on a breakaway from Ty Gagno later in the period for one of his five stops in the frame, turning aside 5 of the 6 shots thrown his way in the opening 20 minutes while Fairlie made 7 saves on 8 shots to conclude the 1st period at 1-1.
The Spruce Kings took their first lead of the game at the 7:01 mark of the middle frame as Jake Schneider was the beneficiary of a pass from John Herrington from inside of the left point as he tapped in a puck on the glove side of Hamming and Prince George gained their first lead of the game at 2-1.
As the Warriors started to gain offensive pressure as the period went on, a tic-tac-toe passing play resulted in West Kelowna tying the game courtesy of Rylee Hlusiak. Bobby May held the puck in on the left side and fired a pass to the right circle as Luke Devlin fed the slot for Hlusiak, who buried a shot past the blocker side of Fairlie for his 8th marker of the campaign and evened the score at 2-2.
A penalty from Spruce Kings captain Colton Cameron allowed the Warriors to their fourth power play of the night and Ben MacDonald made Prince George pay with his 12th goal of the season. MacDonald took a Nolan Hayes pass at the top of the left circle and slide a shot through traffic and past Fairlie with 1:16 remaining in the middle frame to push the Warriors ahead by a 3-2 score.
As the period was expiring, Luke Devlin tucked in a buzzer beater to give the Warriors a two-goal advantage. Bernadet went through his legs to put a shot on from the left circle around a Spruce King defender that Fairlie made a save on before Devlin tapped in the rebound for his 6th goal of the season and a 4-2 lead heading into the 3rd period.
The Spruce Kings brought plenty of pressure in the game’s final period, pressuring the Warriors with 15 shots on goal in the final 20 minutes and got the game within a goal at the 5:26 mark as Gagno would not be denied of a second chance in the game to push his team closer to even.
Gagno got around a Warriors defender from inside the blue line and got to the net before tucking a shot past the glove side and inside the right post past Hamming to get the Spruce Kings within a goal at 4-3.
Hamming and the Warriors bent but didn’t break in the final 10 minutes of play, killing off a penalty with just under four minutes remaining and denying the Spruce Kings of any goals while with an extra attacker in the final minute to hang on for a 4-3 victory.
Cayden Hamming stopped 27 of the 30 shots that were thrown his way in his 4th win of the season while Jordan Fairlie made 17 saves on 21 shots in his 8th loss of the season before Aidan Feddema came on in relief for the 3rd period, turning aside all 3 shots he faced.
FINAL SCORE: 4-3 Warriors
SHOTS ON GOAL: 30-24 Spruce Kings
WARRIORS PP: 1/4
WARRIORS PK: 3/4
1) Jake Bernadet (1-1-2)
2) Luke Devlin (1-1-2)
3) Ben MacDonald (1-0-1)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Rylee Hlusiak (1-0-1)
The Warriors (19-10-4-0) will embark on a trip to the Nicola Valley and conclude their weekend with a matchup against the Merritt Centennials (10-21-3-1) on Saturday night. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM from the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena with the game being broadcasted live on the Warriors Broadcast Network (mixlr.com/bchlwarriors) as well as streamed online on BCHLTV.ca.