Masters paces Warriors win

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west k

(ISN) – Jordan Masters scored three times and the West Kelowna Warriors held
Trail off the scoresheet the final 50 minutes in a dramatic 5-3
come-from-behind win over the Smokies Tuesday at Royal LePage Place.

The Smokies jumped all over the Warriors in the opening few minutes and
staked themselves to an early 2-0 lead on goals from Charlie Zuccarini
27 seconds apart.

They led 3-1 before the game was 10 minutes old but were unable to
muster anything else on 20-year-old Brett Huber, making his BCHL debut.

Huber, a three year veteran of the KIJHL Summerland Steam, filled in
while Andy Desautels and Scott Patton recover from various ailments.

“That wasn’t really the start we were looking for we really didn’t help
him out the first 10 minutes but after that we re-collected ourselves
and for the next 50 minutes we turned it around and really helped him
out,” says Masters.

Despite the slow start in the defensive end the Warriors continued to
push forward offensively and were rewarded when Masters tipped home his
first of the night on a pretty pass from Michael Bounincontri on a
two-on-one.

Just 21 seconds after the Smokies re-established the two goal lead
Masters grabbed Anthony Bishop’s shot off the end boards and tucked it
past Trail netminder Brett Clark from a sharp angle to again cut the
deficit to one.

The score stayed that way until late in the second. Jason Cotton found
his own rebound and tucked it past Clark on a power-play to even the
count at 3-3 then Masters scored what proved to be the game winner with
one-tenth of a second left in the middle frame.

Masters gloved down a loose puck just outside the Trail blueline,
streaked in all alone and beat Clark just before the buzzer sounded.

“I actually thought as soon as I tipped it I thought that was it,”
recalled Masters.

“I tipped it through his legs and past the next defender and thought
there was no way there was still any time left. I just tried to get the
shot off quick and it (buzzer) rung right after that.”

Masters says he didn’t really look for an opening – he just shot in
hopes of beating the clock.

Bounincontri sealed it 10 minutes into the third when he grabbed a long
pass just seconds after stepping out of the penalty box. He broke in
alone on the right wing and beat Clark with a wrist shot from the right
faceoff circle.

Along with his three goals Masters was also in the face of the Smoke
Eaters all night long.

“Cory Cross came down between the second and third periods and said when
that kid is playing like when he’s an agitator, getting in guys face and
not taking any penalties he’s effective,” says assistant coach Brent Gough.

“Tonight you saw that. Three goals and he had a great game and that goal
at the end of the period I don’t know if it was a back breaker for them
but it always takes life out of your sails.”

Masters, battling injuries the last few weeks, says he’s healthy and
ready to play this way the rest of the season.

“Right now it’s probably the best I’ve felt in a long time and I think
for the next half of the season this is what you are going to get out of
me.”

Despite their early game problems the Warriors still managed to outshoot
the visitors 37-25 including a 16-3 edge in the second period when West
Kelowna dominated in every facet except on the scoresheet.

Gough says Desautels (appendectomy) and Patton (lower body) are still
day-to-day.

It’s questionable whether either could be ready this weekend when the
Warriors play in Salmon Arm Friday and host the Merritt Centennials
Saturday.

Points will be precious as the third place Warriors try to hold off
Merritt (three points back) and Salmon Arm (nine back). Both teams have
three games in hand on the Warriors.

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