In one of the most entertaining and hard-fought games of the year, the Warriors fell 3-2 in Vernon on Saturday night.
After dispatching the Vipers 7-1 on home ice the previous night, the Warriors knew Vernon would produce a stronger effort in the rematch.
Making matters worse, three Warriors forwards (David Pope, Brennan Clark, and Reid Simmonds) joined Max French and Brett McKinnon on the injured list – leaving West Kelowna with a seriously depleted forward group.
Things looked grim early, with the Vipers controlling play for the early stages of the opening period and claiming a 1-0 lead on a Braeden Russell marker.
However the Warriors would find another gear, and after forcing the play for the latter stages of the first period they were rewarded with an equalizer from Seb Lloyd.
Lloyd would add his second of the night (and fifth of the weekend) on a powerplay midway through the second, however Logan Mick would soon tally for Vernon, setting up a thrilling third period.
However, despite outshooting their hosts 20-15 in the final frame (and 41-26 overall) and earning four powerplays, the Warriors couldn’t retake the lead.
Finally, with 8 and a half minutes remaining in regulation time, Viper Liam Board pounced on a Tyler Briggs rebound and outmaneuvered the West Kelowna netminder for the game-winner.
“It’s always tough to feel good after a loss” says Jetlan Houcher of the outcome. Still, the Warriors felt good about their performance, with Houcher adding “we did work hard, and we did everything we could. It was just one of those nights.”
The Warriors will return home to host the Vipers for a third straight matchup next Friday (Dec. 7th) at Royal LePage Place.
The game also features Pastor Don’s 2nd annual “Stuff the Rink” Turkey Drive. fans coming to the game are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food or cash donation to help provide Christmas dinners for local families in need.