The West Kelowna Warriors (2-0-0-0) kick-off their home schedule for the 2022/23 regular season with a pair of home games taking place on Friday, September 30th against the Wenatchee Wild and Saturday, October 1st against the Penticton Vees at Royal LePage Place.
REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE vs. WENATCHEE
Friday, September 30th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Friday, October 14th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Friday, October 21st @ Town Toyota Center (7:05 PM)
Saturday, November 12th @ Town Toyota Center (6:05 PM)
Saturday, December 11th @ Town Toyota Center (6:05 PM)
REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE vs. PENTICTON
Saturday, October 1st @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Friday, October 28th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Friday, November 18th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)
Friday, December 3rd @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)
Saturday, December 17th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Friday, December 30th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)
Friday, February 17th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (7:00 PM)
West Kelowna comes into their home opening weekend following a perfect 2-0 road trip on Vancouver Island with wins over the Cowichan Valley Capitals and Victoria Grizzlies, defeating the Grizz by a 5-1 score last Saturday night at The Q Centre. A pair of multi-goal efforts came from Kailus Green and Brennan Nelson while Jake Bernadet also added his first BC Hockey League marker in the winning cause. Justin Katz made his second consecutive start, turning aside 21 of the 22 shots thrown his way in the Warrior net for his 2nd win of the season.
The Warriors and Wild played a six-game season series throughout the course of the 2021/22 campaign, with West Kelowna earning four wins in the six-game set. Two of the four wins for the Warriors came at RLP while two more happened south of the border.
A six-game series between the Warriors and Vees went West Kelowna’s way last season, with the Warriors defeating Penticton four times in the six contests, including four wins in their last five head-to-head matchups of the year. The two teams also met in the playoffs during the Interior Conference Final with the Vees taking the series in four games.
Warriors Leading Scorers:
Michael Salandra (0-4-4)
Kailus Green (2-1-3)
Brennan Nelson (2-1-3)
Matt Fusco (2-0-2)
Rylee Hlusiak (2-0-2)
The first two goals of the BCHL career of Kailus Green stood to open the scoring and provide the eventual game winning marker on Saturday night in the win for the Warriors in the provincial capital of Victoria. The Kelowna, BC native is in his first full season with the team following four affiliate games played with West Kelowna last season. Green, who captained the Okanagan Rockets Under-18 team last season, garnered one assist in his AP games with the club last season.
The home opening weekend for the Warriors is a big one as two large nights have been planned, including for the home opener taking place on Friday night at RLP against the Wenatchee Wild. West Kelowna will be paying homage Residential School Survivors by wearing special orange “Every Child Matters” jerseys, which will be made available through a silent auction taking place during the game with proceeds from the auction will go towards the Residential School Survivors Society.
Saturday night will renew the rivalry of Highway 97 as the Warriors will take on the Penticton Vees for the first of seven times this season and provide a rematch of the Interior Conference Final from a season ago. West Kelowna will be remembering a fallen member of their alumni as former forward Parm Dhaliwal tragically passed away this summer and the Warriors will be paying tribute to him. The Surrey, BC native played 145 career games with West Kelowna, scoring 36 goals and adding 80 assists for 96 points during his three-year tenure from 2016-2018.
The Wenatchee Wild come into the weekend slate of games after opening the season last Saturday with a back-and-forth contest against the Surrey Eagles, eventually falling in a shootout by a 5-4 score. Travis Bohnet, Cade Littler, Christian Kim and Michael Valdez each found the back of the net with Andy Vlaha making 11 saves on 15 shots in the start, being relieved by Owen Millward, who made 11 saves on 11 shots before surrendering two goals on two shooters in the shootout.
Wild Leading Scorers:
Jason Stefanek (0-3-3)
Travis Bohnet (1-1-2)
Cade Littler (1-1-2)
Michael Valdez (1-1-2)
Christian Kim (1-0-1)
Wenatchee comes back with eight players returning from their 2021/22 roster, including captain Cade Littler, who was selected by the Calgary Flames in the NHL Entry Draft in Montreal in the 7th round. Forwards Parker Murray and Ean Somoza join him up front while Mario Gaspirini, David Hedjuk, Travis Bohnet and Connor Overson return on the blue line and Andy Vlaha is back between the pipes.
The Penticton Vees returned to the ice on the new season with a pair of 7-1 victories on home ice, defeating the Trail Smoke Eaters and Cranbrook Bucks on back-to-back nights. Satrday’s game against the Bucks saw seven different goal scorers come together in Dovar Tinling, Thomas Pichette, Ben Brunette, Billy Norcross, Josh Nadeau, Hiroki Gojsic and Bradly Nadeau each finding the back of the net. Luca Di Pasquo turned aside 16 of the 17 shots thrown his way in his 2nd win of the season.
Vees Leading Scorers:
Bradly Nadeau (1-4-5)
Josh Nadeau (2-2-4)
Josh Niedermayer (0-4-4)
Brett Moravec (2-1-3)
Dovar Tinling (2-1-3)
The Vees return 15 players from their Fred Page Cup championship team a season ago, including captain Frank Djurasevic on the blue line. Defenders Ryan Hopkins, Mason Poolman, Josh Niedermayer and Owen Simpson are back as well while Thomas Pichette, Beanie Richter, Aydar Suniev, Josh Nadeau, Jackson Nieweundyk, Brett Moravec, Spencer Smith, Ethan Mann and Bradly Nadaeu all making their way back up front.
The Warriors will tangle with the Wild on Friday night in the team’s home opener and recognizing Truth and Reconciliation Day while Saturday will see the Vees come to town for the first of a seven-game season series between the two rivals and honour the life of Parm Dhaliwal. Tickets are available for purchase at westkelownawarriors.com.