It’s a 5th straight win for the Warriors, and I’d say their best performance yet.
West Kelowna was defensively responsible, outstanding on special teams, and dangerous on attack in a 4-2 victory in Salmon Arm on Saturday.
Looking to maintain their perfect record on home ice, the Silverbacks dictated play for the first 10 minutes or so of play in this one. The ‘Backs got lots of pucks deep, and took the lead when (former Warriors ‘AP’) Colton Thibault fired one past Andy Desautels from the slot ten minutes in.
However, after a somewhat slow start, the Warriors soon took play over and really forced the issue for the second half of the frame. Jordan Masters got the Tribe on the board when he converted an Ambrose Firkus feed for a PPG late in the 1st.
1-1 after 20, I think the Warriors earned the win in the second period. The primary achievement was good D – with Salmon Arm held to only 1 or 2 shots in the first ten minutes of the second (and six overall in the frame) and no shots on an early powerplay. The Anholt/Dallman/Mennear line of course led the way in this department, as they held the Gillies/Anderson/Smith line to just one goal all night. But of course, the Warriors didn’t have last change, so everyone had to play a role. And to respond to what I said yesterday, I did think Salmon Arm had a better team effort all around. The Warriors, meanwhile, had just five D all night (thanks to an injury to Mac Ferner on Friday), though you could barely tell.
Of course, the Anholt/Dallman/Mennear line also chipped in offensively. Matt Anholt gave the Warriors their first lead when he tipped a Brett Mennear centring feed under Angus Redmond six minutes into the second. Tyson Dallman scored what would hold up as the winner late in the frame, when he slid one inside the post to finish off a shift of impetuous pressure.
Ben Tegtmeyer would notch his first of the season on another powerplay early in the third, on one of his patented wristers through traffic. The Apes would strike back 14 seconds later when Evan Anderson rolled an awkward one Andy Desautels, but there wouldn’t be much more threat from there, and the Warriors coasted to the win.
Special teams were obviously a factor in this game, and it’s rewarding for this team to get some strong results and numbers on both sides. 2/4 on the PP is the difference in the game, and WK didn’t have much trouble killing off both SAS powerplays. Of course, taking just two time penalties is also a noteworthy achievement.
In goal, I thought Andy Desautels had his best performance to date as well. He will want the Anderson goal back, but Desautels looked solid back there and made a couple of unreal saves as well. His stick save in the second period may be the save of the season at this point, but it also kept his team in charge of the game.
But while there are a few individual showings to single out, I think the Warriors had an excellent team performance on Saturday. I do think it’s their best outing of the year. Moreover, it’s a great 60-minute effort, especially for this time of year. The previous few wins were deserved, but this one was more polished and more pronounced.
Listen to my post-game interview with Tyson Dallman here.