by Jon Zacks
February 5, 2014, Salmon Arm (ISN) – West Kelowna pulled into a first-place tie with Penticton thanks to a 5-2 victory in Salmon Arm on Tuesday.
Facing a Silverbacks club that had won its previous five outings, the Warriors jumped on their hosts early and quickly pulled away.
Liam Blackburn kick-started West Kelowna’s offence when he fired a face-off scrum past Angus Redmond just three minutes in.
Matt Anholt doubled the lead late in the period, while blue-liners Taki Pantziris and Ben Tegtmeyer both found the back of the net before Salmon Arm could get on the board.
The ‘Backs did attempt to make a game of it, with Taylor Maruya scoring midway through the second and Nick Josephs then drawing Salmon Arm to within a pair with six minutes remaining.
However, with Matt Anholt in the penalty box for a high-sticking double minor, Seb Lloyd converted a short-handed breakaway to seal the win.
Admitting his team was slightly off its ‘A-game’ in losses last weekend to Merritt and Vernon, Liam Blackburn thinks the Warriors were back on form on Tuesday.
“We were really solid offensively and defensively” Blackburn says, also giving tribute to Cody Porter, who made 24 saves to earned his 4th win of the season in place of the injured Andy Desautels. “He made sure there were no rebounds” Blackburn stresses, adding “he made it easy on the D-men”
Also missing their #1 netminder, the Silverbacks tandem of Angus Redmond and ‘AP’ Kyle Michalovsky made 36 saves on 21 shots. Redmond was pulled after Ben Tegtmeyer scored West Kelowna’s fourth goal during a second period powerplay.
At 1/3 on the man advantage, Blackburn thinks the Warriors powerplay moved the puck better than it had been doing as of late. “Both units were getting a lot of chances” he says, suggesting that the different tactics employed by each unit benefitted one another.
West Kelowna’s parity with Penticton atop the Interior Division could be short-lived, with the Vees set to host Trail on Wednesday.
However, the Warriors will hold a game in hand heading into a weekend road trip to Merritt and Prince George.
It’s expected that a couple of Tuesday’s scratches (who were Andy Desautels, Braden Pears, Ryan Ivey, and Jordan Masters) will be back by the weekend.
Discover more at The General’s Report.