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GAME RECAP: Warriors Surrender Two Goal Lead In Loss To Bulldogs

PHOTO: Tami Quan

WEST KELOWNA, B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors got out to a 2-0 1st period advantage but were unable to hold the lead and eventually fell to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs by a 4-2 score on Saturday night at Royal LePage Place.

West Kelowna had the game opening power play opportunity and used that to gain momentum in the game, taking a 14-1 shot advantage and opened the scoring in the contest courtesy of a Chris Duclair goal.

Bulldogs goaltender Hobie Hedquist made a strong stop on the blocker side on Warriors defender Aiden Reeves at the front of the goal before Reeves was able to pry the puck free from the blocker side and feed a pass to the slot that bounced off of Luke Devlin where Duclair found the loose puck and slid it into the open goal for his 6th marker of the season and pushed West Kelowna to a 1-0 lead at the 6:25 mark of the opening period.

1:18 later, another man advantage helped the Warriors take a 2-0 lead in the game with third year forward Riley Sharun putting his team ahead by two-goal margin. A shot from the blue line by Isaiah Norlin deflected off a body at the front of the net in Brennan Nelson that bounced to the slot where Sharun pounced on the puck and beat Hedqiust on the blocker side for his 1st goal of the season and made the score a 2-0 advantage for West Kelowna at the 8:43 mark of the opening frame.

A special teams filled 1st period continued with the Bulldogs earning their first power play of the game and converted on the chance with Nicholas Beneteau tipping in a shot from the left point to cut the deficit to one goal. Caden Tremblay threw the puck on goal that was tipped in on the glove side of Warriors goaltender Angelo Zol at the 12:24 mark of the opening frame to make it a 2-1 West Kelowna lead.

Just 1:15 after that marker, the Bulldogs got the game on even terms with Matt Kursonis adding another deflection on a shot from the point to even the score. Mason Croucher let a shot fly from the left point that was identically deflected in past Zol from the stick of Kursonis to tie the game at 2-2 in an opening period that featured 33 total shots between the two teams.

After a 1st period filled with energy and chances, the 2nd and final period of play tightened up defensively between the two sides, featuring just 29 shots on goal between the two teams for the remainder of the contest and saw the Bulldogs take a 3-2 advantage in the middle frame at the 7:16 mark.

Alberni Valley dumped the puck into the West Kelowna zone as they worked it free from the corner and Dakota MacIntosh spotted an open Cam VanSickle in front of the net as he took the puck from his forehand to his backhand and flipped it past the glove side of Zol and just under halfway through the 2nd period, the Bulldogs carried their first lead of the game at 3-2.

Both teams registered 7 shots on goal in another tight defensive period of hockey that featured a big stop from Angelo Zol, who slid across on the blocker side and made a huge backdoor stop halfway through the 3rd period to give the Warriors a boost of energy into the final part of the frame.

The Warriors pressed to get the game on even terms but it was the Bulldogs and Hedquist who stood tall before MacIntosh fired the puck into the empty net from just beyond the blue line to ice the game for Alberni Valley to finish with a 4-2 final.

Angelo Zol was solid in between the pipes for the Warriors in his third game of the season, turning aside 25 of the 28 shots thrown his way in his 1st loss of the season while Hobie Hedquist made 31 saves on 33 shots in his 7th victory of the season.

FINAL SCORE: 4-2 Bulldogs

SHOTS ON GOAL: 33-30 Warriors

WARRIORS PP: 2/7

WARRIORS PK: 2/3

3 STARS:

1) Hobie Hedquist (31 saves on 33 shots)

2) Matt Kursonis (1-1-2)

3) Riley Sharun (1-0-1)

Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Chris Duclair (1-0-1)

Attendance: 1,238

The Warriors (12-5-2-0) head north for a weekend set in Prince George as they get set to take on the Spruce Kings (12-6-1-1) for the first time this season on Friday night. The game will be broadcasted live on AM 1150 as well as streamed online on BCHLTV.ca from the Kopar Memorial Arena with a 7:00 PM puck drop.