Royal LePage Place was energized on Saturday, as West Kelowna skated to a 5-3 win over Surrey.
After a wide-open 3-3 tie on the South Surrey Arena’s Olympic sized-ice surface on Friday, it seemed unlikely that Saturday’s rematch would bring more drama.
However, the rematch proved even more breathtaking.
It was a wide-open affair, but thanks to showstopping goaltending at both ends the game remained close and intense throughout.
Crowd favourite Dustin Cave got himself a date with William Clark and I’d say a happy ending after a spirited affair.
And there were three lead changes, with the home side prevailing in the end.
Surrey opened the scoring when a great Adam Tambellini chance bounced for an even better Devon Toews chance, with the star defenceman unloading a bomb past Tyler Briggs from in close.
The Warriors had a great first period in Surrey on Friday, but the Warriors were on their heels for the first few minutes on Saturday.
Soon however, the Eagles got in penalty trouble, with Toews in box when Ben Tegtmeyer tied things up, and Craig Wyszomirski just leaving when Max French scored. Tegtmeyer’s goal came from another seeing eye wrister from him, while French showed some sick hands when he faked the shot and deked around Michael Santaguida from in tight.
And as the game wore on, it turned into a wonderfully compelling affair. Surrey tied things up not long after the French goal with their first powerplay marker of the weekend. It came off a lovely Trevor Cameron tip on an Adam Tambellini point shot.
Dustin Cave and William Clark indulged everyone when they flipped the mitts – and it was a great fight, with Cave taking the decision on some stiff rights.
Surrey got another PPG early in the second courtesy Michael Stenerson.
Late in the second, the game swung for the home team. First, Brennan Clark fanned on a shot but turned it into a great fake as he followed the puck past Santaguida and buried from a sharp angle. Within a minute, Tyler Briggs made a critical poke check on a William Clark breakaway, with Seb Lloyd batting in Marcus Basara’s rebound on the ensuing counter-attack. Surrey had been up 3-2, and had another great chance. Instead, the Warriors took the lead in the span of 57 seconds.
There was only one goal in the third, fired home by Josh Monk after some great Warriors pressure. But the game didn’t lack chances. Briggs sizzled, making 18 saves in the third, including a whole bunch of tough ones. Briggs allowed 8 goals on 116 shots this week, and was simply sensational in all three games. Wayne Moore’s game story talked about it too. He’s really starting to look deadly.
But despite an admirable surge from the Eagles in the third, and some dangerous Warriors counter-attacks to boot, things were decided when Brady Shaw took a goalie interference minor with a minute remaining and the Warriors holding a two-goal cushion.
I think the Warriors really made a big statement to the league this week. Wednesday’s win in Merritt was a massive 4-pointer against the team the Warriors are most concerned with (or at least should be). Surrey is a serious contender for the Coastal Conf. crown this year, and for the Warriors to take a win and a tie from the Eagles is even more impressive.
The Warriors also earned three of a possible four points on the road and then made RLP entertaining for the fans and daunting for the Eagles.
And of course, West K continued to build momentum and gained ground in the standings thanks to three team-wide efforts.
It’s not party time yet. The Tribe have two biggies next week (Merritt and Penticton). But they’re trending…