The West Kelowna Warriors used a two-goal 3rd period from Lucas Cullen and 43 saves from Cole Demers to power them to a 4-3 victory over the Nanaimo Clippers on Saturday night at Frank Crane Arena.
The opening period saw some great pace and a strong opening push from the visiting Warriors but it would be the Clippers finding the scoresheet first with a power play marker. David Melaragni rushed down the right-wing side and centered a pass to the slot as Preston Brodziak one-timed the puck past Warriors goaltender Cole Demers blocker side for a 1-0 Clippers lead at the 14:51 mark of the 1st period.
The Warriors came back with a big push just 49 seconds after the Brodziak marker, Michael Lombardi tied the game. RJ Murphy started the play with a heavy fore-check below the goal line and forced the puck free for Lombardi, who wheeled out to the slot and slid the puck through the legs of Nanaimo netminder Noah Featherstonhaugh Gowe for his 12th goal of the season and a 1-1 tie game at the 15:30 mark of the period.
West Kelowna took their first lead of the game at the 18:24 mark of the opening frame as a power play redirection. Cavin Tilsley tipped in Michael Ryan’s point shot on the blocker side of Featherstonhaugh Gowe for his 6th goal of the season and a 2-1 Warriors lead heading into the 2nd period.
Nanaimo scored the lone goal in the 2nd period while ramping up the pressure with 16 shots in the frame and scored in the first two minutes of the period. Lucas Vanroboys converted a rebound from the bottom of the right face-off circle over the shoulder of Demers for a 2-2 tie at the 1:41 mark of the 2nd frame.
The Warriors goaltender was terrific in the 2nd period with 15 saves on 16 shots and would be even better in the 3rd frame as the Warriors surrendered 21 shots in the final frame but their goaltender was outstanding.
Lucas Cullen gave the Warriors another one-goal lead off the hard working fore-check of Murphy as he took his man off the puck with Lombardi digging it free and centering for Cullen and he buried past Featherstonhaugh Gowe on the glove side for his 6th goal of the game and a 3-2 lead at the 5:29 mark of the 3rd period.
Just after the media timeout, off the ensuing face-off, Brady Lynn’s shot was stopped by Demers from the left hash marks but the rebound was smacked in by Parker Colley and the score was tied once more at 3-3 at the 10:51 mark.
It didn’t take long for the Warriors to get the lead back as just 1:01 after the Colley goal, Cullen struck again to give the Warriors a 4-3 advantage. Stephen Kleysen’s shot hit the mask of Featherstonhaugh Gowe with the rebound coming to the slot for Cullen and his second of the game put the Warriors up by a goal.
The Clippers brought some big pressure late in the game including a power play late in regulation but Demers and the Warriors stood tall for the win. Demers turned aside 44 of the 47 shots he faced in the game for his 10th win of the season while Noah Featherstonhaugh Gowe made 20 saves on the 24 shots he faced in his 5th loss of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 4-3 Warriors