This is getting crazy.
The Warriors pulled off another remarkable comeback in Alberni Valley on Saturday, to extend the unbeaten streak to 11 games.
West Kelowna relied on wonderful skill and some good luck to squeak past a plucky Bulldogs team that came so close to pulling off a terrific upset.
And the excitement continues…
Alberni Valley really did play well in this game, particularly in the first 40 minutes of the game. The Dogs did an awesome job of slowing the Warriors down on transition, while also getting lots of pucks deep and keeping them there.
The Dogs also earned a couple of nice goals, with Zak Bowles converting a wraparound 15 minutes into play and Tryg Strand banging in a Hunter Stewart feed after some good pressure midway through the second.
And I certainly wouldn’t accuse the Dogs of collapsing in the third. They got a couple of unlucky bounces and probably had a legit complaint when the equalizer was scored on a hasty puck drop. Nathan Warren was especially good, and showed great composure for a guy playing his third BCHL game.
However, the Warriors also deserve credit for an impressive third period onslaught. The Tribe fired 24 shots on net in the third and started to look like a freight train charging mercilessly down the track.
The Anholt/Dallman/Simmonds unit was particularly impressive, and lit the fire that sparked the rest of the team. Matt Anholt did a great job, and rang the bar on one bomb. Adam Plant was simply brilliant. Tyson Dallman finally broke the 9:40 in on a mad scramble around the AV net. Dallman got a second when he spun a quick shot underneath Warren five minutes later (Warren may not have been set for the play – something that happened to Andy Desautels earlier this year in Nanaimo).
The Dogs have played a ton of hockey lately, and their fans did everything they could to keep Alberni spirits high. However, just 67 seconds after Dallman’s equalizer, Liam Blackburn hooked home his 11th goal of the year – on what held up as his 5th game winner.
Alberni Valley tried to mount a comeback, and you had to feel for a team that was 10 minutes away from beating (and even shutting out) such a skilled team. However, a lovely empty netter from Adam Plant and another late one from Jason Cotton sealed the win and made the scoreline way more lopsided than it seemed.
Given some of the out of town results, the two points earned seem even more meaningful.
The Warriors are now 11 points clear of 5th place Merritt and remain four back of 1st place Penticton.
The road trip concludes Sunday at 5pm in Chilliwack.
Listen to my post-game chat with Tyson Dallman right here.
* Adam Osczevski was a late addition to the roster, after the coaching staff discovered just before the game that Mac Ferner was suspended (nice communication BCHL). That left WK with 13 forwards and 5 D for the game. I would imagine Ferner will be back on Sunday.