With their top two goaltenders on the shelf, the Christmas respite couldn’t have come at a much better time for the West Kelowna Warriors.
The BCHL club closed out its pre-holiday schedule with a pair of losses over the weekend against the Interior-Division leading Penticton Vees.
On Friday, the Vees prevailed 4-2 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
With No. 1 netminder Andy Desautels sidelined from an appendectomy, backup Scott Patton was forced out of Friday’s game in the third period with a recurring lower body injury. Okanagan Rockets goalie Jordan Reynolds finished up and was steady, making five saves.
On Saturday at Royal LePage, Mike Lenko was back between the pipes as the Warriors lost 7-2 to the Vees.
With Desautels and Patton both sidelined, Lenko, from the KIJHL’s Revelstoke Grizzlies, was also pressed into service last Tuesday and recorded a win over Trail.
The Warriors head into the break with a 18-12-0-5 record, six points back of Vernon for second spot in the Interior and one ahead of Merritt.
With key injuries mounting, West Kelowna head coach and GM Rylan Ferster welcomes the time off.
“It will be nice to get away and recharge,” said Ferster. “I think some of the guys need that.”
With just 23 games remaining on the schedule after the break, Ferster
expects it all come down to the wire for second through sixth place in the Interior Division.
“I’ve said before you can take those five teams, chuck them in a hat and
pull them out and I don’t think anyone will be surprised where you would
finish,” said Ferster. “It’s going to be a battle. If the first 30-odd games were any indication it will probably be a battle right down to game 58.”
The Warriors return to action Dec. 28 in Trail against the Smoke Eaters.