The West Kelowna Warriors showed what kind of team they can be when they play a complete 60-minute game.
Just 24 hours after their most crushing defeat of the season the Warriors put together a masterful display in a convincing 5-0 win over the visiting Merritt Centennials Saturday at Royal LePage Place.
The Warriors did it all in front of a nervous Jordan Reynolds, making his first BC Hockey League start as the Warriors continue to piece-meal together a goaltending tandem while waiting for Andy Desautels (appendectomy) and Scott Patton (lower body) to return to active duty.
“At the beginning I was pretty shaky I thought. I didn’t think I was playing too good,” admitted Reynolds after the game. “I almost got scored on but then I picked it up from there.”
Reynolds stopped all 31 shots he faced, none bigger than a penalty shot off the stick of Colin Grannery late in the second period.
With the Warriors up 2-0 with three minutes to go in the middle frame, Grannery was impeded by Warriors defenceman Rylan Yaremko, resulting in the penalty shot.
Reynolds says all that was going through his mind at the time was stop the puck.
“I wanted to make him make the first move,” says Reynolds who went with the deke and swallowed Grannery’s forehand with his glove.
Offensively, captain Andrew Johnson led the way with a pair of goals and an assist.
Kristian Blumenschein, Jason Cotton and Tanner Campbell with his first BC Hockey League goal also scored for the Warriors.
Newly acquired defenceman Tyler Kunz had a pair of helpers as the Warriors dormant power-play came to life with four goals in five opportunities.
“I thought we came out of the gates flying. We get the power-play goal when our power-play hasn’t been very effective lately and I thought our PK (penalty kill) was fantastic too,” says assistant coach Brent Gough. “When we needed to shut the door those guys were there. That was probably our best performance at home all season.”
Johnson got the ball rolling for the Warriors just 90 seconds in when he banged home a rebound from a Yaremko point shot.
Blumenschein doubled the lead before the end of the period when his wrist shot somehow squirted between the pads of Merritt goaltender Anthony Pupplo and trickled over the goal line.
The Warriors put it away with three power-play markers in an eventful third period which saw four misconducts handed out and plenty of rough before and after the whistle.
Saturday’s win moves the Warriors three points up on Merritt and within four of second place Vernon in the Interior Division standings.
The Warriors have played two more games than both.
West Kelowna gets the week off before returning to action Friday when they host the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
Reynolds, a member of the BC Major Midget League Okanagan Rockets won’t be available for the team next weekend as his club prepares to defend its title at the Kelowna International Elite Midget Hockey Tournament.