Party time

The Warriors wrote the perfect script – following Friday’s momentous win in Penticton with a 4-0 beating of their arch-rivals on Saturday.

Winners of five of the past six games, West Kelowna heads into a short Christmas break having allowed six goals against in those six and having climbed a couple of spots in the standings.

And the crowd couldn’t have been happier!

After an average performance on Friday, you had to expect the Vees to come out much hungrier on Saturday, and they certainly showed plenty of intensity early on.  Both teams were flying actually, and their first period in particular had an awesome energy and pace.  In fact, it was a wonderfully rambunctious game, with speed, physicality, and structure on display throughout.

It may have been that the Vees were a little too exuberant early on though, with Penticton taking a pair of penalties in the first few minutes.

West Kelowna got the dream start when Tyson Dallman buried a Ben Tegtmeyer rebound for a powerplay goal less than two minutes in.  The Warriors kept pouring it on for the first half of the period before an excellent push from Penticton in the back half of the frame.

The exciting rally continued until late in the second period when Taki Pantziris earned a quality shot on goal and Seb Lloyd fished the rebound out of Olivier Mantha and stuffed it in to double the lead.

With another two-goal lead heading to the third, West Kelowna retreated once again into a stingy defensive shell, chipping pucks out and making sure the Vees had to earn every inch of ice.

The backbreaker came with eight minutes remaining when Mantha whiffed on a Reid Simmonds dump-in from the neutral zone.  Certainly not something Pen could afford, the Vees pulled Mantha for a 6-on-4 powerplay advantage with four minutes remaining.  However, West Kelowna would strike again, when Simmonds rumbled up the middle and nudged a Carl Hesler bid home. (WK PP 1/3 – PEN PP 0/5)

The most impressive feat at all may have been the attention to detail until the very end of the game, as the Warriors stood up at their blue line and earned Andy Desautels his second BCHL shutout, and the first-ever West Kelowna shutout of Penticton.

Could anyone have imagined a better way to head into the break?

* Taylor Graham was a factor all night long.  Playing his 200th junior game, the 20 year-old also won a terrific fight with Jack Ramsey early in the third period.  He and Zane Schartz really did play well this weekend.

* Andy Desautels was actually battling a case of food poisoning this weekend, despite holding the mighty Vees to one goal (on a 5-on-3) in 120 minutes.  I hope he can keep some turkey down – the kid’s earned it.

* Of course, there was some sad news as Brennan Clark joined me on the broadcast to announce his retirement from the BCHL.  ‘Clarky’ has been dealing with a blood clot in his eye and had to make the tough decision to walk away from the game he loves.  We’ll have a little more in the next couple of days, but I’d like to thank Brennan for sharing his story tonight.  I know readers all join me in wishing him the very best down the road.

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