The West Kelowna Warriors are back in action this weekend when they take on the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
Last week, the Warriors played the star-studded Penticton Vees in back-to-back games only to come away with a single point. Great goaltending and a strong effort still weren’t enough with the Vees coming up with a 3-2 victory Friday night and a 3-2 shootout victory Saturday night.
Assistant coach Ayrton Nikkel said his team played really well, especially with two of their best players in Wyllum Deveaux and Matthew Stienberg out of the lineup on Saturday night.
“The guys scratched and clawed and Bennett kept us in there giving us a chance to win,” said Nikkel.
“I think our team showed a lot of resilience and I’m happy with that.”
Some positive news coming out of last weekend was the play of Warriors forward John Evans who potted two goals, including the Warriors’ first powerplay goal of the Okanagan Cup.
Tonight the Warriors will face off against a very well-rested Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The Silverbacks are coming off a very tough opening weekend of the Okanagan Cup, surrendering a total of 15 goals in only two games played.
The coaching staff of the Silverbacks publicly came out after those two games and said their team simply wasn’t ready for competitive play. With a weekend off the Silverbacks have had a lengthy break to adjust and watch a lot of game film from the Warriors including their most recent weekend against the Penticton Vees.
The issue for the Silverbacks is, which Warriors team will come out this weekend? Warriors Head Coach Simon Ferguson has made it clear he wants everyone on his roster to get playing time and each game has seen a different roster with different lines. Ferguson still wants to shuffle the lineup a bit more and be very conscious of his player’s health and fatigue with some members getting limited ice time before the opening weekend of the Okanagan Cup.
Silverbacks coaching staff will need to be mindful to focus on their own game rather than follow what Simon Ferguson and his Warriors team end up doing. Another interesting night will be Saturday’s game in Salmon Arm. The Warriors haven’t been able to win a game inside the Shaw Centre since the 2016-17 season. Warriors players in previous seasons have complained about arena lighting being poor and it being one of the toughest rinks to play in the BCHL.
This evening’s game will be broadcast on both HockeyTV and the Warriors Mixlr Network. Puck drop at 7 p.m. from Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna. Saturday’s game will be a 6:30 p.m. puck drop from the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm.