PHOTO: Garrett James

The West Kelowna Warriors used a combination of five different goal scorers and 28 saves from Justin Katz helped the Warriors to a Monday morning victory by a 5-3 score over the Victoria Grizzlies at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack.


The Warriors registered three shots on goal in the opening period of play but the final one in the frame counted as the Chilliwack kid Dylan Brooks found the back of the net in his hometown to give West Kelowna a 1-0 lead.


Brennan Nelson took a Brooks pass in the slot as he let a shot go that went off the blocker of Ansel Holt and high in the air before the puck was batted in by Brooks standing at the glove side post as he earned his first goal of the season and gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead at the 16:45 mark of the opening period.


Justin Katz was very strong in the Warriors net and was a big reason why the Warriors were able to carry a 1-0 lead into the middle frame. The Warrior netminder turned aside each of the 12 shots thrown his way in the opening period while Ansel Holt made 2 saves on the 3 shots he faced in the opening 20 minutes of play as the Warriors carried a one-goal lead into the 2nd period.


West Kelowna showed their quick strike offense again as Michael Salandra gave the Warriors a 2-0 advantage just 38 seconds into the 2nd period. Nolan Hayes set up the play, getting around a Victoria defender and sliding a pass to the backdoor on the blocker side of Holt as Salandra tapped in the puck for his 4th goal of the season and pushed the Warriors ahead by a 2-0 margin.


Jake Bernadet added to the lead in the 2nd period at the 11:45 mark with his 3rd goal of the season to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead over halfway through the game. Hayes sent a pass to the right wing as Bernadet got to the puck and rifled a shot over the glove side of Holt and pushed the Warriors to a three-goal advantage.


The Grizzlies did not go away and pressed to get bsck into the game and got themselves on the scoreboard at the 15:56 mark of the middle frame as Owen Bohn laced a great shot of his own over the glove side of Katz from the left face-off circle and got the Grizzlies on the board to make it a 3-1 game.


With just 38 seconds remaining in the middle frame, Olivier Picard got Victoria within a goal as the 2nd period was coming to an end. Jack Gorton worked his way past a defender on the right side and slid a pass to the left side as Picard slid the puck past Katz at the front of the net to make it a one-goal game heading into the 3rd period.


The 3rd period saw not many chances for each side as the Warriors worked to protect their lead and did so successfully to get back ahead by a pair of goals at the 15:35 mark of the 3rd period as Felix Caron tallied his 3rd goal of the season. Bobby May had his point shot stopped by Holt before Caron collected the rebound and beat the Victoria netminder on the glove side to give West Kelowna a two-goal lead once more in the final period.


Victoria took a penalty late in the game but remained dangerous and cut the deficit to one again as Picard notched his second of the morning. The Victoria forward gathered a loose puck at centre ice for a shorthanded breakaway, delaying to the backhand and beating Katz on his blocker side at the 17:08 mark to get the Grizzlies back within a marker.


The Warriors kept the lead in tact with Ben MacDonald added some insurance on the power play to conclude the scoring, taking a pass from Brennan Nelson and shooting from the left point into the empty net for his 2nd goal of the season to secure a 5-3 victory for the Warriors.


Justin Katz was solid in goal for the Warriors, making 28 saves on 31 shots for his 5th win of the season while Ansel Holt turned aside 12 of the 16 shots thrown his way in his 2nd loss of the season.