WEST KELOWNA, B.C. – RJ Murphy played hero as the West Kelowna Warriors snapped a three-game losing skid with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Wenatchee Wild on Saturday night at Royal LePage Place.
The Warriors opened the scoring in the game for the first time in three contests as West Kelowna struck on a delayed penalty coming to the Wild. Jake Harrison threw the puck at the front of the goal from the left face-off circle and was tipped by Wenatchee netminder Austin Park by Lucas Cullen for his 4th goal of the season and a 1-0 Warriors advantage at the 11:11 mark of theo opening period.
Just 59 seconds after the Warriors opened the scoring, the Wild had an answer as they tied the game at the 12:10 mark coming courtesy of Jared Christy. After a West Kelowna turnover in their own zone, Jackson Wozniak centered from behind the net for an open Christy in front, who went from his forehand to his backhand and by Warriors starter Nik Amundrud for the 1-1 tie.
West Kelowna would take the lead into the dressing room, however, as with 1:43 to go in the 1st period, the Warriors power play struck to get the home side back on top. Jared Marino had his shot from the high slot stopped by the right pad of Park but the rebound was collected by Willie Reim on the blocker side and he made no mistake, roofing a backhanded try over Park for his 8th goal of the season and a 2-1 Warriors lead after 20 minutes.
The 2nd period saw the Wild start the frame with plenty of jump, seeing Amundrud having to make many stellar stops to keep the Warriors lead intact and West Kelowna repaid their goaltender with a marker at the 10:56 mark of the 2nd frame. The puck worked it’s way back to Tyler Jutting at the right point as his shot looked to deflect off a Wild defender and past Park for his 1st goal of the season and a 3-1 Warriors lead.
The Wild had an answer once more as Jasper Weatherby tallied his 5th goal of the season against the Warriors and got Wenatchee to within one. Weatherby scooped in a rebound off of a shot from AJ Vanderbeck from the slot to cut the Warriors lead to 3-2 at the 10:56 mark of the 2nd period.
The 3rd period started much like the second frame for the Warriors that saw Wenatchee pressing to try and tie the game but Amundrud again was standing tall in the Warriors crease. The Wild did tie the game in the final regulation period as AJ Vanderbeck had his shot bank off of a Warriors defender and through the legs of Amundrud for the shorthanded goal at the 10:11 mark of the 3rd period and forced a 3-3 tie heading into overtime.
The game did not take very long to end in the first overtime as RJ Murphy got the loose puck on a Wenatchee turnover inside their own zone with Murphy outwaiting Park and finding some daylight on the blocker side for his 9th goal of the season and a 4-3 Warriors win in overtime.
Nik Amundrud was outstanding in the Warriors crease on the night, turning aside 45 of the 48 shots he faced in a first star performance and his 8th win of the season while Austin Park made 37 saves on 41 shots while suffering his 5th loss of the season.