SALMON ARM, B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors used seven different goal scorers to push themselves to a 7-4 preseason win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Friday night at the Shaw Centre.
The Silverbacks started the game with gusto and opened the scoring at the 4:19 mark of the first period as Grayson Constable beat Warriors netminder Cole Demers on the blocker side to put the Silverbacks ahead by a 1-0 score.
The Warriors came out with a much stronger effort after the first goal, with that showing on the scoreboard and shot clock. Willie Reim continued his hot exhibition season with his fourth goal in as many games, driving the goal as a Warrior power play was in it’s final seconds and banging home his own rebound past ‘Backs goaltender Nic Tallarico to tie the game at one at the 16:01 mark of the 1st period.
West Kelowna took their first lead of the game at just a few moments later at the 18:43 mark of the period as Stephen Kleysen was in the right place at the right time to give the Warriors a 2-1 lead. The 20-year-old defenseman fired in a loose puck on an end wall bounce off a Michael Ryan slap shot as the power play ended for a 2-1 West Kelowna lead.
The 2nd period saw two goals from each side starting with the Silverbacks tying the game at the 11:32 mark with a Tanner Campbell marker, beating Demers on his glove side after the puck hit a maze of bodies in front of the goal for a 2-2 tie.
The Warriors took their lead back at the 15:24 and stemmed off a gorgeous give-and-go with RJ Murphy and Parm Dhaliwal. Dhaliwal passed to Murphy in the middle who returned the favour back to Dhaliwal in the right face-off circle and beat a down and out Tallarico on the glove side to push the Warriors ahead by a 3-2 score.
West Kelowna extended their lead to two goals for the first time on the night with a marker at the 16:50 point of the 2nd period. Jordan Todd found a loose puck in the right face-off circle and beat Tallarico on the blocker side to give the Warriors a 4-2 lead.
Salmon Arm cut the deficit in half at the 17:47 mark of the 2nd period on a power play goal that deflected off of Noah Wakeford from a point shot of Akito Hirose that cut the Warriors lead to 4-3 after 40 minutes of action.
The Warriors continued to light the lamp in the 3rd period and didn’t waste much time doing so as just 34 seconds into the frame, on the power play, Chase Dubois wired a wrist shot over Tallarico’s blocker side for the 5-3 lead just moments into the third.
West Kelowna extended their lead to three for the first time on the night and it came courtesy of another laser, this time off the blade of RJ Murphy, firing a puck past Tallarico’s glove side at the 2:42 mark of the 3rd period to push the lead to 6-3.
Spencer Hora cut the Warriors lead to two off a power play goal from the right circle, beating a heavily screened Demers in front on the blocker side to get the game to 6-4 at the 15:47 mark of the 3rd period.
The Warriors finished off the game with an empty netter as Tyler Jutting danced through the Salmon Arm defense and feed Chase Stevenson for an empty net tally at the 17:30 mark of the 3rd period to give the visitors a 7-4 victory.
Cole Demers made 34 saves on 38 shots in the victory for the Warriors in goal while seven different goal scorers tallied for West Kelowna with Nic Tallarico stopping 39 of the 46 shots that were thrown his way.
The Warriors wrap up preseason play with the conclusion of this home-and-home set with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks at Royal LePage Place on Saturday night. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM.