by Jon Zacks
January 26, 2014, Alberni Valley (ISN) – “We’ve been coming back in some outrageous ways in the past little bit” Tyson Dallman smiled after leading the Warriors to a late victory in Alberni Valley on Saturday.
Trailing 2-0 after two periods of play, the Warriors were outshot and outchanced by the Bulldogs early in the game.
“We didn’t really establish a forecheck. Our D-zone was all over the place” Dallman thinks. “We just weren’t playing like we know we can.”
Dallman also gave credit to a plucky Bulldogs team that now trails Cowichan by two points for the final playoff spot in the Island Division. “They were playing really well for the first 40 minutes” he says.
However, the Warriors roared back in the third.
A scramble goal from Dallman got West Kelowna on the board midway through the final frame. Dallman added a second five minutes later, giving the red-hot Tribe all the momentum despite a raucus crowd at the Weyerhaeuser Arena.
Just 1:07 after Dallman’s equalizer, Liam Blackburn hooked a Taki Pantziris feed past Nathan Warren to give the Warriors the lead.
West Kelowna would add two empty-netters (Adam Plant and Jason Cotton), making the scoreline look much more lopsided than the game had seemed.
Blackburn’s goal (the 11th of his rookie season) would hold up as his 5th game winner.
The Warriors outshot their hosts 24-7 in the final period (42-30 overall), but Dallman stresses that simple and more determined hockey was the key. “Guys started working hard and doing the little things right” he says.
West Kelowna has now won six games in a row, extending a club-record unbeaten streak to 11 games.
Five of those results have come thanks to exciting late comebacks, thought Dallman knows his team is tempting fate by leaving things till the dying minutes.
“You don’t want to make a habit of getting behind in games” Dallman agrees. The 20 year-old knows that late comebacks are exciting for the players and the fans, but a dangerous proposition late in the season. “When it comes to the playoffs, it’s even tougher.”
The Warriors complete their coastal road trip Sunday afternoon (5pm) in Chilliwack.
Shag more Warriors coverage at The General’s Report.