The West Kelowna Warriors great defensive play late leads to a 5-3 victory over the Merritt Centennials Saturday night.
The Warriors got off to a hot start with a Max Bulawka power play goal scoring his team leading 13th of the year with a wrist shot from the left circle making it 1-0 Warriors. The Centennials would answer back scoring a quick goal off an Austin Chorney turnover with Matt Osadick scoring his 3rd of the year to tie it up. Only 31 seconds later the Centennials would get the go ahead goal from Hunor Torszok who was able to tuck the puck through a tiny opening on Brock Baier’s left side to give the Centennials a 2-1 lead. The Centennials would get themselves into penalty trouble late in the period placing the Warriors on a two man advantage but the Warriors still were having trouble with Centennials goaltending Ryan Winter who stopped a total of 20 shots in the first period alone.
The Warriors started the second period on the two man advantage and found a way to score just as it became 5 on 4. Max Bulawka pushed the puck toward Deegan Mofford, and Mofford’s cross ice pass that was intended for Lucas Cullen would go off Centennials defender Olson Werenka and in to tie the game up at two. The Centennials would tie the game up after the Warriors would take a trio of penalties. On the third Centennials powerplay Christian Buono would fire a rocket of a shot past Brock Baier to restore the lead for the Cents making it 3-2. The Cents lead was short lived after Lucas Cullen and Max Bulawka would head out on a 2 on 1 with Bulawka scoring his second of the game and 14th of the season to tie it up at three only 42 seconds later. The Warriors and Centennials appeared to go into the dressing room tied up at three, but Olson Werenka would lose the puck behind his net allowing Tyler Cristall to steal and place the puck past Ryan Winter to give the Warriors their first lead in the game since the midway mark of period one. Shots on goal 31-20 in favor of the Warriors after two periods of play.
With a one goal lead in the third period, the Warriors needed to be cautious of the Centennials that were known for third period comebacks. Great defensive play by the entire back end for the Warriors made sure Brock Baier didn’t need to face a single grade A scoring chances in the third. The Centennials would take a penalty in the final 1:31 of the third allowing Tyler Cristall to score the empty net goal and his second of the night to give the Warriors a much-needed 5-3 victory.
Final shots on goal: 43-30 in favor of the Warriors.
- WKW F Max Bulawka (2G-1A)
- WKW F Lucas Cullen (2A)
- MER F Hunor Torszok (1G)