The West Kelowna Warriors erase a three goal deficit to defeat the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 6-5 Saturday night.
The Warriors got off to another fantastic start with Air Force committed Willie Reim going to work early. It was a pass by Captain Cavin Tilsley through the legs of a Bulldogs defender to Willie Reim who beat former Warriors goaltender Cole Demers to make it 1-0. Less than a minute later the Bulldogs would answer right back with their top line capitalizing as Jackson Doucet makes no mistake to tie it up at one. The Bulldogs would continue to pressure the Warriors in their own zone and it was Brock Baier’s childhood best friend from rural Ontario Mitch Deelstra who made a nifty move to beat his former Listowel Cyclones teammate to make it 2-1. The Warriors needed a push so Geoff Grimwood elected to send out that third line of Quinton Waitzner, Cavin Tilsley, and Willie Reim, and once again it was Reim who scores to tie the game up at two heading into the first intermission.’
Wheels came off quickly for the Warriors in the second period giving up numerous scoring chances leading to a trio of goals from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. First it was Mitch Deelstra who crashed the net, Brock Baier made the save, but the puck sat in the crease uncovered allowing the young defenseman Aaron Bohlinger to stuff it in and make it 3-2. The Warriors got caught in their own zone again with former Trail Smoke Eaters forward Michael Hodge putting one past the Bear Car extending the Bulldogs lead. Hodge wasn’t done for the Bulldogs. Less than 4 minutes later Michael Hodge fed a wide open Dawson Tritt scored his 9th of the season. That would be the end of Brock Baier’s night and the Warriors would have a steep hill to climb down by 3 goals late in the second. The Warriors would provide some pressure in the Bulldogs zone late and it was Wyatt Head that fired a knuckle puck from the point scoring his 5th of the year. 3 minutes later Wyatt Head was at it again throwing the puck towards the net allowing Mike Hardman to score his 29th of the season and just like that the Warriors were only down by one goal going into the second intermission.
The Warriors started the third period with pressure in the attacking zone but couldn’t get any quality scoring chances on Cole Demers. The Warriors would later be caught with too many men on the ice putting the Bulldogs on the powerplay. Connor Hopkins was sensational between the pipes making a couple massive stops with traffic in front of him keeping it a one goal game. 5 minutes later the Warriors would pounce with a heads up lead pass from Lucas Cullen springing Bennett Norlin on a breakaway who beat Cole Demers to tie the game at 5. The crowd inside Royal LePage Place erupted at that point and all momentum was on the Warriors side. Bulldogs leading scorer Ryan Miotto would take a penalty of his own in the final 5 minutes of the game sending the Warriors on the man advantage, and it was Lucas Cullen who was fed a tic tac toe pass from Mike Hardman and Parm Dhaliwal to give the Warriors the lead for the first time since the first five minutes of the hockey game. With the help of a couple key stops late by Connor Hopkins, the Warriors would hold on to win 6-5.
Shots on goal 51-45 in favor of the Bulldogs.
- WKW D Wyatt Head (1G-1A)
- AV F Mitch Deelstra (1G-1A)
- WKW F Willie Reim (2G)