Warriors return to winning ways in Nanaimo


October 6, 2013, NANAIMO, BC. – A night after a disappointing OT loss in Powell River, the Warriors began what they hope will be another winning streak with a 4-2 triumph in Nanaimo. 

Tied 2-2 after 40 minutes, West Kelowna outshot the Clippers 19-6 in the final frame to earn the victory.

Liam Blackburn buried the winner eight minutes into the third, and a David Pope blast put the game away two minutes later.

Tyson Dallman and Ambrose Firkus also found the back of the net in the opening period, while Anthony Sabitsky and Korey Morgan replied for Nanaimo.

The Clippers fought back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game up, thanks to a strong surge late in the second period. Warrior Liam Blackburn admits his team was under pressure for a 5-10 minute stretch late in the middle frame.

“Nanaimo was outworking us in the corners” Blackburn suggests. “We weren’t winning the puck battles, and we got a little lazy.”

The rookie forward thinks harder and smarter play allowed his team to pull away in the third. “We worked hard and got the right calls.”

Things took a nasty turn late in the game, as the Clippers took a few undisciplined penalties, including Jacob Hanlon’s venomous hit-from-behind on Adam Plant with five minutes remaining.

Hanlon was assessed a major and game misconduct on the play, while West Kelowna’s Seb Lloyd got two minutes and a misconduct for his response.

Despite the fact the Lloyd is West K’s top centre, Blackburn says he likes his teammate’s reaction. “We’ve to protect our own guys” Blackburn insists. “Especially a guy like [Plant] – he’s our top defenceman, so we’ve got to make sure we protect him out there.

On the whole however, Blackburn believes his team had the right approach to Nanaimo’s physicality. “Our team kept it pretty cool” he thinks, adding “We knew coming in they would be a feisty team, and we prepared ourselves properly for that.”

After being held scoreless on nine powerplay opportunities the night before, West Kelowna struck twice on seven powerplay chances in Nanaimo. The Clippers, meanwhile, were held off the board on their four man-advantages.

Making his eighth straight start, Andy Desautels earned his 7th win of the season, making 28 saves overall. Jayson Argue had played brilliantly when Nanaimo beat West Kelowna on Sept. 7th, but was helpless on all four Warriors goals in the defeat.

The Warriors wrap up the road trip Sunday (2pm) in Cowichan Valley.