By Jon Zacks
October 11, 2013, KELOWNA BC (ISN) – The Warriors continue to flourish on home ice, earning a 3-1 victory over Merritt on Friday.
West Kelowna struck once in each period to earn the win, much to the delight of around 1,000 boisterous fans at Royal LePage Place.
Spectators wore their best Halloween and retro regalia – anything to enjoy the spirit of the team’s second annual ’80s night’.
Warriors netminder Andy Desautels earned the biggest cheer of the night when he robbed Sebastien Pare on a Merritt powerplay late in the first period.
The 19 year-old was rock-solid throughout the evening, stopping all but one of the 36 shots he faced in a first-star performance – likely his best to date as a Warrior.
“I’m always nervous before games” Desautels smiled afterwards, while admitting that he had a little extra emotion on Friday because of the lively crowd.
“He made the timely saves” Warriors Head Coach Rylan Ferster also stressed. Ferster identified special teams as the difference in the game, singling out Desautels as his team’s best penalty killer when called upon. The Warriors clicked at 2/4 on the powerplay, while Merritt went 0/6.
Seb Lloyd led West Kelowna’s attack on Friday, notching powerplay goals on rebounds in both the first and third periods.
Lloyd was also standing next to Liam Blackburn when the rookie shovelled home the eventual game-winner on a Centennials’ turnover early in the second.
“He was also an important penalty killer for us” Rylan Ferster points out, adding that Lloyd had been steadily developing into a “real 200-foot player.”
Gavin Gould tallied the lone Merritt goal on a nice solo-effort late in the second period. The Centennials would outshoot their hosts 14-5 in the third period (and 37-26 overall) without ever really managing to penetrate West Kelowna’s defence.
The win pushes West Kelowna’s record on home ice to 4-0, and also sees the Tribe extend the current winning streak to three games.
West Kelowna continues to lead the Interior Division, with the Prince George Spruce Kings heading to RLP on Saturday.
Liam Blackburn scoring the winner, courtesy Greystoke Photography