FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 7th, 2018
PORT ALBERNI, B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors finished off their three-game Island road trip with a 4-3 victory over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon from the Weyerhaeuser Arena.
After a strong opening push by the Warriors, the Bulldogs would be the team to open the scoring at the 8:10 mark on a power play. Paul Selleck worked the puck in on the right-wing and passed across for Cole Poliziani as he snapped a shot to the top of the net to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
Just 33 seconds after Alberni’s opening goal, the Warriors tied the score at one off a nicely designed face-off play. The draw was won back Michael Ryan who dropped the puck for Jake Harrison and his pass to the slot was redirected through the legs of Bulldogs netminder John Hawthorne by Max Bulawka for his 4th goal of the season and a 1-1 tie at the 8:43 mark of the 1st period.
That would be all the scoring for 20 minutes of play but not without some good pressure by the Warriors, who outshot the Bulldogs by a 19-6 margin in the opening frame but John Hawthorne was very good in the opening 20 minutes with 18 saves while Nik Amundrud turned aside 5 of the 6 shots he faced in the 1st period.
The Warriors scored the lone goal in the 2nd period and it came early in the frame at the 3:29 mark off a breakaway. Spencer Hora spotted RJ Murphy alone at the Alberni Valley blue line and Murphy made no mistake on his breakaway try as he beat Hawthorne through the legs with a wrist shot from the top of the crease to put the Warriors ahead for the first time in the game at a 2-1 score.
There wasn’t much in the way of offence outside of the Murphy tally with the Warriors putting 10 shots toward the Bulldogs net with Hawthorne turning away 9 of those shots he faced and 27 of the 29 he faced in the opening 40 minutes while Amundrud stopped all of the 7 2nd period shots thrown his way and 12 of 13 on the night through two periods.
The 3rd period saw a pair of goals by each side with Alberni Valley tying the game once more at the 1:21 mark of the frame on a 2-on-1 play with Tyler Vanuden and Keaton Mastrodonato. Vanuden passed to the right-wing for Mastrodonato before he slid a pass back to Vanuden on the blocker side of Amundrud and slid the puck in for a 2-2 tie early into the 3rd period.
The Warriors had an answer at the 5:04 mark of the 3rd period as the Bulldogs turned over a puck deep in their zone. Wyatt Head was the beneficiary of that turnover as he moved from the left face-off circle from his forehand to his backhand in front of the net and finished up and over the glove side of Hawthorne for his 2nd goal of the season and a 3-2 Warriors advantage.
The Bulldogs are a scrappy bunch and clawed their way back to an even tie at the 12:55 mark of the 3rd period as Vanuden scored for the second time in the period. Ryan Steele shot from the slot with Amundrud making the save but the rebound bounced to Vanuden and he buried it past the glove side of the Warriors netminder for a 3-3 tie.
As was the case all afternoon, the Warriors had an answer and took the lead for the third time in the game at the 14:53 mark with Cavin Tilsley scoring in back-to-back games. Tilsley wristed a puck on from the left point where Hawthorne made the save but fumbled the puck in his pads and fell behind him across the goal line for Tilsley’s 7th goal of the season and a 4-3 Warriors lead.
The game took a bit of an ugly turn late in the contest as at the 17:42 mark, James Orban was given a five-minute blow to the head major penalty and a game misconduct after he checked Michael Lombardi in the neutral zone and caused a stir on the ice but the Warriors would ride out the final moments of the game and pick up a 4-3 win.
Nik Amundrud earned his 9th win of the season with 22 saves on 25 shots, including a big right pad stop early in the 3rd period to keep the game tied while John Hawthorne turned aside 39 of the 43 shots he faced in the game for his 15th loss of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 4-3 Warriors
FINAL SHOTS ON GOAL: 43-25 Warriors
Warriors PP: 0/5
Warriors PK: 2/4
1) Nik Amundrud (22 saves on 25 shots)
2) Tyler Vanuden (2-0-2)
3) Cavin Tilsley (1-0-1)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Christian Simeone (0-0-0)
The Warriors (20-18-1-1) have the week off before another road trip takes place on Friday night when West Kelowna travels down south to Washington to face-off against the Wenatchee Wild (25-12-1-2) at the Town Toyota Center for a pair of games in the United States. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 PM with the pre-game getting underway at 6:45 PM on the Warriors internet Network and HockeyTV.com with the voice of the Warriors, Trevor Miller.
West Kelowna returns home on Tuesday, January 16th to face-off against the Vernon Vipers in the 5th meeting of their 6-game season series and will be broadcasted live on Shaw TV Okanagan. Tickets are available online at wkw.goticketpro.com, at the Warriors office, by calling (250) 769-7051 or at the box office one hour ahead of the opening puck drop.