January 19, 2014, Kelowna (ISN) – The West Kelowna Warriors established a pair of club records in a 5-3 dismantling of the visiting Alberni Valley Bulldogs Sunday at Royal LePage Place.
The Warriors set franchise marks by running their home unbeaten streak to eight games and overall unbeaten streak to nine.
They also pulled to within four points of Interior Division-leading Penticton with two games in hand.
The game started 15 minutes late after the Bulldogs team bus was involved in a collision on Highway 97 a couple hours before game time.
Once it did begin the Warriors jumped all over the weary Bulldogs who were playing their third game in as many days.
They scored twice in a span of 27 seconds midway through the first and cruised from there, building up a 5-0 lead before surrendering three late goals.
Jason Cotton led the Warriors with two goals while Carl Hesler, Tyson Dallman and Ben Tegtmeyer added singles.
Tegtmeyer had a pair of assists to go along with his goal while captain Matt Anholt also chipped in with a couple of helpers.
“I thought we played really well in the first 40,” says Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster.
“It’s unfortunate we had to give up three there in the third period but we don’t want to critique this too much.”
Ferster says the two points was all that mattered. “We’re happy to obviously get the two points at this time of the year,” he says.
“It’s tough to get two points and obviously the way the division is and the way things are going we’ll take them any way we can get them.”
Cotton got the Warriors on the board eight minutes into the game when he banged home a rebound on the Warriors third poke at the puck from in close.
Hesler doubled the lead just 27 second later when he jumped on a rebound and deposited the puck high over a sprawled out Connor LaCouvee in the Bulldogs net.
Dallman increased the lead with the first of three straight power-play goals when he deflected home Anholt’s shot from in-close. Tegtmeyer closed out the second period with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that beat LaCouvee on the short side on a five-on-three advantage.
Cotton capped the Warriors scoring when he blasted a one-timer from the left circle on another power-play five minutes into the third.
The Warriors allowed the Bulldogs to get back into the game with three late goals, however, they were unable to mount a serious challenge in the games dying moments with LaCouvee on the bench for an extra attacker.
The final score flattered the Bulldogs who offered up the Warriors numerous grade ‘A’ chances throughout the game. Had it not been for the spectacular netminding of LaCouvee the Warriors could have easily hit double digits.
The Warriors peppered LaCouvee with 51 shots including 23 in a lopsided first 20 minutes.
Cody Porter, starting for the first time since Jan 4. faced just 21 shots in improving his record to 4-3.
The Warriors went 3/6 with the man advantage while holding the Bulldogs to just two shots on their three power-play chances.
Ferster downplayed the significance of the new team records but did acknowledge at least some satisfaction in the home streak.
“It’s nice to, I don’t know if you want to say tough to play against at home, or just able to get some success at home again. Like I say we’ll take them any way we can get them.”
The Warriors (26-12-2-2) solidified their tenuous hold on second spot in the tight Interior Division.
They moved two points up on the third place Vernon Vipers who fell 3-2 in Salmon Arm in overtime in other Sunday action. West Kelowna holds three games in hand on the Vipers.
West K. is also just four back of division-leading Penticton.
The Warriors will try to close the gap on the division leaders when they hit the road for their final lengthy road trip of the season.
West Kelowna plays in Victoria Friday, Alberni Saturday and Chiliwack Sunday.
More on the win at The General’s Report.