The West Kelowna Warriors came from behind from a two-goal 3rd period deficit and scored five times in the final period to cap off a 6-3 victory against the Victoria Grizzlies on Faith Night at Royal LePage Place on Saturday night.
West Kelowna started the game with great jump but Grizzlies netminder Zach Rose stood tall to keep the puck out of the goal and helped his team to a 1-0 lead at the 6:10 mark of the opening period. Jamie Rome made a terrific pass from the left wing and spotted Ethan Nother behind the Warriors defense where he skated in and wristed a shot by the glove side of Warriors goaltender Nik Amundrud for the opening goal and a 1-0 Victoria lead.
The Grizzlies opened up a 2-0 advantage at the 16:05 mark of the 1st period with Shawn O’Malley finding the back of the net. Off of a Victoria face-off win, Matthew Doran shot from the midpoint with a rebound jetting to the blocker side of Amundrud and whacked in by O’Malley for the two-goal lead in favour of the Grizzlies.
Before the period was out, a power play helped the Warriors to cut the deficit to one goal as Parm Dhaliwal netted his 14th goal of the season. Some swift puck movement by the Warriors in the offensive zone resulted in Ryan Steele passing to the left-wing corner for Chase Dubois and his centering pass was tipped in by Dhaliwal past Rose at the top of the crease for the power play strike with 1:07 remaining in the period and cutting the Grizzlies lead to 2-1.
The Grizzlies were the only team to find the scoresheet in the 2nd period with Marty Westhaver finding the back of the net for the fourth time in the last two games. The Victoria forward had his first shot from the bottom of the left-wing circle that was blocked but got the rebound and slid the puck through the legs of Amundrud for a 3-1 Victoria lead at the 12:48 mark of the middle stanza.
Cue the comeback.
Chase Dubois got the Warriors within a goal once more with a power play marker that spurred the avalanche of West Kelowna offense. Dubois shoveled a loose puck on the blocker side past Rose for another power play marker and the 20th goal of the season for Dubois to cut the deficit to one again at a 3-2 Grizzlies lead.
Just under four minutes later, RJ Murphy tore the roof off of RLP (for the first time) as he tied the game at the 11:51 mark of the 3rd period with his 20th goal of the season. Murphy got a loose puck behind the goal and wrapped it around on the glove side of Rose with his second effort jamming the puck through to get the game at an even 3-3 tie.
Murphy erupted the large crowd once more and gave the Warriors their first lead of the night at the 16:32 mark of the final period with his second goal in a span of just under five minutes. Wyatt Head tossed a gorgeous pass for Murphy on the right wing as he made his way into the Victoria zone before making a move in the right face-off circle to open up Rose and shot the puck past his blocker side for his 21st goal of the season and gave the Warriors a 4-3 advantage.
The Warriors extended their lead to two goals at the 18:34 mark of the final frame again stemming off of a strong play from Head in his own zone. He took a big hit to get the puck up for Cavin Tilsley while in 4-on-4 play before Tilsley got into the zone and passed across for a one-timer by Chase Stevenson on the odd man rush as he snapped it past the glove side of Rose for his 11th goal of the season and a 5-3 Warriors lead.
Ryan Steele, who extended his season-long point streak to 10 games, scored into the empty net with 39 seconds remaining for his 17th goal of the season and capped off a five-goal 3rd period for the Warriors and give West Kelowna a 6-3 victory.
Nik Amundrud started in goal for the Warriors where he made 29 saves on 32 shots for his 16th win of the season while Zach Rose turned aside 45 of the 50 shots thrown his way in his 13th loss of the season.