WEST KELOWNA, B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors came out flat in their home opener and fell by a 4-0 score to the Trail Smoke Eaters on Saturday night at Royal LePage Place.
The Warriors did have a chance early on to open the scoring and came off the stick of rookie forward Max Bulawka, who was sprung on a breakaway from the blue line in on his very first BCHL shift but was denied by the pad of Trail goaltender Brandon Wells to keep the score even early on in the game.
Just like what was the case one night before in Trail, the visiting team opened the scoring as the Smoke Eaters hit the score sheet in 4-on-4 action. Seth Barton shoveled a puck down low and from the blocker side of Warriors netminder Nik Amundrud, Andre Ghantous centered to an open Levi Glasman at the top of the crease for his 2nd goal of the season and gave the Smokies a 1-0 advantage at the 8:16 mark.
The 2nd period did not see much in the way of chances for the home side and the Smoke Eaters added to their lead late in the frame as Ghantous finished off a passing play from Ross Armour and Carter Jones that saw him all alone in the left face-off circle to finish off the power play goal and put the visitors ahead by a 2-0 score.
The Smoke Eaters put the game on ice at the 8:23 mark of the 3rd period as after a Warrior power play, Kale Howarth touched the puck for a rushing Ghantous for an odd-man rush and snuck the puck backdoor to spot an open Armour who made no mistake and gave Trail a 3-0 cushion.
Braeden Tuck added an empty net goal at the 16-minute mark of the 3rd period as he fired from centre ice into the empty goal and gave Trail a 4-0 lead, which would hold up and be the eventual final score.
Nik Amundrud started in goal for the Warriors, turning aside 23 of the 26 shots he faced before leaving the game late in the 3rd period with an apparent injury. Cole Demers played the final 4:47 of the period and made two saves. Brandon Wells stopped all 21 shots he faced on the night and picked up his first BCHL win which was also his first BCHL shutout.
FINAL SCORE: 4-0 Smoke Eaters
FINAL SHOTS ON GOAL: 27-21 Smoke Eaters
Warriors PP: 0/5
Warriors PK: 5/6
1) Andre Ghantous (1-2-3)
2) Brandon Wells (21 saves on 21 shots)
3) Ross Armour (1-1-2)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Stephen Kleysen (0-0-0)
The Warriors will look to rebound after the loss with a week off before hosting the Merritt Centennials on Saturday, September 16th at Royal LePage Place for a 7:00 PM puck drop.