by Jon Zacks
December 31, 2013, Trail (ISN) – David Pope struck twice in the final two minutes to set up West Kelowna’s 4-3 overtime triumph on Monday.
Fresh off the Christmas break, the Warriors staked themselves a 1-0 first period thanks to a Tyson Dallman tally midway through the opening frame.
West Kelowna had more pressure and plenty of opportunities to extend the lead early in the second, but couldn’t seem to beat Trail goalie Adam Todd.
Playing in front of their biggest crowd of the year and desperate to halt a 12-game losing streak, the Smoke Eaters fought back with three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 advantage into the third.
Bryan Basilico provided two of Trail’s goals, while ‘AP’ Braden Fuller also tallied for the hosts.
However, the Warriors would fire 22 shots on goal in the third and eventually broke through.
With 1:33 remaining and Andy Desautels on the bench for the extra attacker, David Pope notched his 9th of the year to get the Tribe within one.
30 seconds later Pope buried another, knotting the score and giving the visitors momentum with time still remaining in regulation.
West Kelowna came close to winning in regulation time and then earned the extra point when Liam Blackburn buried his eight goal of the year (and 4th game-winner) four minutes into the first overtime stanza and moments after Jason Cotton had stung the crossbar.
“I think we showed great will to come back” David Pope smiled after the game.
The forward admits his team had a sluggish start to the game, saying the Warriors were “losing puck races and puck battles” all over the ice.
Still, the 19 year-old feels his team can take solace in their determined effort in the third, flagging his team’s experience (as well as Trail’s youth) as key factors. “They were sitting on their heels I thought” Pope says, “and we took advantage of that.”
West Kelowna has now won three games in a row, and six of the past seven. Monday’s win in Trail pushes the Warriors past Salmon Arm and back into third in the Interior Division.
The Warriors return home for dates against Trail (Sat) and Nanaimo (Sun) this weekend.
The General’s Report offers more in-depth coverage of the West Kelowna Warriors.