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GAME RECAP: Warriors Fall In Tight Affair To Alberni Valley By 3-1 Score

PHOTO: Damon James/Island Images

PORT ALBERNI, B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors dropped the second of their two-game Vancouver Island road trip as they fell by a 3-1 score to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Saturday night at the Alberni Valley Multiplex.

After a start that saw three goals a night ago in Nanaimo, the Warriors found themselves penalized a total of four times in the opening period but their penalty kill, along with goaltender Rorke Applebee, came through in a big spot as he turned aside each of the 8 shots he faced.

West Kelowna defended a 5-on-3 penalty kill for 1:34 to begin the game, under two minutes into the contest, along with Applebee making a big save on Hayden Stavroff at the front of the net, who tried to go through his legs and over Applebee as the Warriors goaltender gloved it down and kept the game at 0-0.

The Warriors found their legs as the period went along and ended up outshooting the Bulldogs by an 11-8 margin as the 1st period concluded with Alberni Valley goaltender Callum Tung keeping out each of the 11 shots he faced in the opening 20 minutes.

The Bulldogs came out in the 2nd period with intensity and were able to find the back of the net first in the game as Nicholas Beneteau put the home team ahead by a goal. Beneteau took a Fischer O’Brien pass on the glove side of Applebee, where the Warriors goaltender sprawled across to his left to make a phenomenal right pad save before Beneteau gathered the rebound and chipped it past the glove side at the 2:36 mark of the 2nd period for a 1-0 Alberni Valley lead.

Alberni kept the pressure on as the period wore on and doubled their advantage at the end of the frame with Stavroff beating Applebee on a partial break. Off a blocked shot in the defensive end, Stavroff raced down the left wing and drove wide before cutting to the net and sliding a backhand past the glove side of Applebee at the 18:47 mark of the middle period to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 edge.

The third period started similarly for the Bulldogs, who found the net just under two minutes into the frame to extend their advantage to 3-0. Stavroff spotted O’Brien in front of the net who one-timed a shot past the glove side of Applebee to give the Bulldogs a three-goal lead early in the final frame.

Simon Houge got West Kelowna some life and back into the game with his second goal in as many nights to cut the deficit to 3-1. Houge got the puck at the left point and sent a shot through traffic that went between the legs of Tung for his 2nd goal of the season at 2:45 of the 3rd period to make it a 3-1 game.

The Warriors could not find their way to getting any closer as the game wore on the Bulldogs finished off the two-goal win. Rorke Applebee made 29 saves on 32 shots in his 5th loss of the season while Callum Tung turned aside 32 of the 33 shots thrown his way in his 12th win of the campaign.

FINAL SCORE: 3-1 Bulldogs

SHOTS ON GOAL: 33-32 Warriors

WARRIORS PP: 0/2

WARRIORS PK: 6/6

3 STARS:

1) Fischer O’Brien (1-2-3)

2) Callum Tung (32 saves on 33 shots)

3) Nicholas Beneteau (1-1-2)

Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Grayson Badger (0-0-0)

Attendance: 1,648

The Warriors (24-8-6-0) continue on the road as they head to East Kootenays to take on the Cranbrook Bucks (16-23-2-0) on Friday night. Puck drop is slated for 6:00 PM PST from Western Financial Place with the game being broadcasted live on AM 1150 as well as streamed online on FloHockey.