PHOTO: Lisa Mazurek
VERNON, B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors came up short in Game #6 of their Interior Conference Quarter Finals series against the Vernon Vipers by a 3-0 score and saw their season come to a close on Sunday night at Kal Tire Place.
It was a nervous energy in the opening moments of the first elimination game of the series as both teams had a timid start to the game before the media timeout came about halfway through the opening frame and the Vipers began to pour on the pressure, including a big sequence in front of the net that Cayden Hamming had to be strong on and kept the game scoreless.
Hank Cleaves got the puck at the front of the net and tried to outwait Hamming, dragging the puck in front of the crease and sending a shot to the net as Hamming sprawled to get a piece of with his glove and keep the game 0-0, one of his 10 opening period saves as the Warriors threw 5 shots on the Vipers net and Ethan David turned aside each of those in a scoreless opening frame.
A power play that carried over into the 2nd period allowed the Vipers to get chances in the opening part of the middle frame and with just one second remaining on the man advantage, Thomas Tien gave the Vipers a 1-0 lead. After Hamming made a save on the blocker side, the puck was loose at the front of the goal as Tien poked it through the legs of Hamming just 1:24 into the 2nd period to give Vernon the game’s opening goal.
Just over a minute later, Julian Facchinelli put Vernon ahead by a pair of markers with his first goal of the series coming at the 2:30 mark. Facchinelli made his way over the blue line and cut to the high slot off the rush before sending a shot over the blocker shoulder of Hamming and into the back of the net to push the home side ahead by a 2-0 margin.
Vernon extended their lead to three goals around the midway point of the middle period as Reagan Millburn put his team ahead by a 3-0 margin. Dylan Compton took a shot from the right point that clipped the stick of Millburn on its way to the goal as it got past the blocker side of Hamming as Vernon jumped ahead by three at the 7:04 mark of the middle frame and outshot West Kelowna by a 15-2 margin heading into the 3rd period.
The 3rd period saw West Kelowna throw 7 shots on goal but couldn’t find their way past David as he turned aside each of the 14 shots thrown his way in his 2nd shutout of the season while Cayden Hamming was strong in goal for the Warriors as he pushed away 35 of the 38 shots thrown his way to finish the series.
FINAL SCORE: 3-0 Vipers
SHOTS ON GOAL: 38-14 Vipers
WARRIORS PP: 0/1
WARRIORS PK: 3/4
1) Thomas Tien (1-0-1)
2) Dylan Compton (0-2-2)
3) Ethan David (14-save shutout)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Reagan Millburn (1-0-1)