MERRITT B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors fall to the Merritt Centennials 8-4 in what was their first of 6 meetings this season. The game was made of crazy bounces, special teams, and ejections for the Warriors.
1st Period: The first was loaded with scoring starting with Cents veteran Brad Cocca getting on the board early at the 18:01 mark of the first period. Within a minute later, Warriors forward Mike Hardman fired a wrist shot right circle to tie the game up at one. Then with momentum on their side Warriors leading scorer Willie Reim was able to score two goals to give the Warriors a 3-1 lead with 7:53 to go. The Centennials had other plans, capitalizing on three unanswered goals heading to the locker room with a 4-3 lead with goals scored by Brady Ziemer, Brendan Schneider, and Matt Kopperud. Shots on goal after one was 14 to 11 in favor of Merritt.
2nd Period: The Warriors found themselves penalty trouble in the second period leading to yet another Centennials goal by Mathieu Gosselin giving the Cents a 5-3 lead. That’s when emotions started boiling over with not only the players but the coaches. Warriors head coach Geoff Grimwood was called for a bench minor and then immediately thrown out of the hockey game. Taurean White and Matt Miller took over the duties hoping to give their team a spark, and they did. Tyler Pang scored the first power play goal after 20 failed attempts getting the Warriors within one goal going into the third. Shots on goal in the 2nd 17-11 for the Cents.
3rd Period: The final frame didn’t start the way the Warriors wanted giving up a Brad Cocca power play goal in the first two minutes of the period. Down by two goals the Warriors needed some help, nothing was working offensively in those tiny zones of the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, and with defenseman pinching, The Centennials scored that seventh goal on an odd man rush. The game started to get out of hand with the Warriors taking numerous penalties late, The Cents added one more on the two man advantage giving them the 8-4 lead which would end up being the final. Shots on goal at the end of the game 48-33 in favor of Merritt.
Story of the game has to be the ice surface. The Warriors were not prepared for the small zones and the Cents capitalized on it. Look for Geoff Grimwood to sit down with his club watching closely at the game film from tonight’s game. West Kelowna will head to Merritt again November 11th.
- MER Matthew Gosselin (1G-2A)
- MER Brad Cocca (2G-1A)
- MER Brendan Schneider (1G-2A)