December 1, 2013, Kelowna (ISN) – The West Kelowna Warriors dominated from the opening faceoff to the final whistle, easily handling the Mainland Division-leading Langley Rivermen 5-1 Saturday at Royal LePage Place.
The Warriors, who struggled throughout November, put forth their most complete effort of the month by far and arguably their best 60 minute effort of the season.
“I think this was our, start to finish, never gave up, best performance for sure,” says associate coach Brent Gough who put the game plan together in the absence of Rylan Ferster who was away on a scouting trip.
Jason Cotton, Jordon Masters, Matt Anholt, Seb Lloyd and Reid Simmonds all scored for the Warriors while Andy Desautels handled 20 shots for the win.
After going just 2-6-1 over their previous nine games in November the coaches decided it was time for a change and mixed up all four lines.
The new ingredients made for a perfect recipe.
“I think there is a time and a place for it and I definitely think that was the time to do it,” says Anholt.
“We’ve had the same lines for quite a while through the year and every once in a while you have to mix it up if the offence isn’t coming. Obviously it worked because some of the lines worked well tonight.”
One pair that wasn’t split up was Anholt and Simmonds, who have been together since Simmonds rejoined the team late in October.
The duo were dynamite, especially on the Warriors third goal, a shorthanded marker made possible entirely by the forechecking of Simmonds who chased down a loose puck in the offensive corner, outworked three Rivermen defenders and found a wide open Anholt who beat former Warrior Steve Myland for his eighth of the season.
“As soon as he came to me off the huddle after the goal I said to him ‘Simmer that was your goal, I did nothing for you,” says Anholt. “I think he sucked three guys to him. That was a hell of a play.”
Jason Cotton opened the scoring with a gorgeous individual effort.
He sped down the left wing, cut across the end line toward the net, took a step to his right and slid the puck past Myland to the far corner.
Masters’ 13th made it 2-0 late in the first when he grabbed a rebound and beat Myland high to the short side.
After Anholt’s shorthanded goal made it 3-0 in the second Lloyd scored his 7th with a shot from the left circle on a Warriors power-play early in the third.
Simmonds rounded out the scoring when he converted a pretty three-way passing play with Anholt and Mike Winnitoy who was called up from the KIJHL’s Summerland Steam to replace injured Ryan Ivey.
Jakob Reichert ruined Desautels’ shutout bid on a Langley powerplay midway through the third.
The Warriors were without Ivey, Ambrose Firkus and Brennan Clark for the contest.
Gough says Clark should be ready to go once he gets into a few more practices while Firkus is suffering through a nagging upper body injury and Ivey is day-to-day with a lower body injury.
The Warriors can now turn their attention to a new month with four of seven games remaining prior to the Christmas break at home.
The Surrey Eagles will provide the opposition next Friday night at Royal LePage Place.
Get more colour on the win at The General’s Report.
Four Warriors will also be on hand on Sunday afternoon as part of a West Kelowna Minor Hockey Skills Competition. The events are part of the annual Winterfest at the Mount Boucherie Community Complex. View a full schedule of events here.