The Westside Warriors’ 2011-12 season won’t end with a playoff spot, but at least the BCHL club was able to bid a positive farewell to its hometown fans.
And they played a spoiler’s role in the process.
In their last game of the campaign at Royal LePage Place, the Warriors downed Vernon 3-1, pretty much ending the post-season aspirations of the defending champion Vipers.
Dru Morrison ripped a wrist shot past Kirby Halcrow from about 30 feet out five minutes into the second period for what proved to be the game winner on Saturday night as the goal broke a 1-1 tie.
Connor Dempsey, with his team leading 24th, and Brett McKinnon rounded out the scoring for Westside.
Warriors captain Max French says it was a great way to end the home portion of what has been a disappointing season.
“We’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. We were coming up against the Vernon Vipers who ended our playoff last year,” said French. “It was definitely a big one for us. Our last home game. We’ve got some great players that won’t be coming back next year.”
French said the Warriors wanted the win particulalry for Peter McIntosh and Dwayne Rodrigue who both graduate at the end of the season.
For Rodrigue, who stopped 28 shots in the win, it was an emotional night.
“I like to play here, it’s a perfect place to play,” says Rodrigue who was acquired in a trade part way through the season.
“I feel like I was here for the whole year. We have a great bunch of guys and the fans were awesome. It was a nice experience for me.”
The Warriors (21-28-2-7) final two games of the regular season will be on the road, Friday in Surrey and Saturday in Chilliwack.
French commits to Bentley
Max French is on his way to the NCAA.
The Westside Warriors’ captain has committed to attend university and play Division I hockey at Bentley University starting in the fall of 2013.
“I’m very excited to be able to go down to Bentley in the 2013 year and join a couple of past Warriors,” says the 19 year-old forward. “It’s going to be a great opportunity.”
At Bentley, French will join former Warriors Alex Grieve and Matt Maher, who are both currently in their rookie seasons stateside, as well as Tyler Krause (now with AJHL Okotoks) who begins his freshman season this coming fall.
“They have a very prestigious business program down there” French says, “and after hearing what the guys had to say about it, I just figured that was the right fit for me and my family.”
The West Kelowna native will play his 20 -year-old season in the BCHL, and says he’s still eager to lead the Warriors into the 2012-13 campaign.
“I think the number one goal is to come back here and win a championship with the Warriors,” French stresses, adding: “I think we’ve got a great team coming back and I think it’s going to be an outstanding year.”