The West Kelowna Warriors got better and better as the game wore on in their pre-season debut on Monday.
Trailing by a goal late in the game, 16 year-old Dennon Leibel buried a wrister on a fast break to salvage a 3-3 draw for West Kelowna.
The Warriors’ other goals came from rookies as well. Colton Thibault scored the lone goal of the first period, while Jetlan Houcher notched a powerplay marker early in the second.
Vernon’s tallies came from Bryce Eviston, Geoff Crisfield, and Nick Josephs.
Both teams shared the work between two goaltenders. Brenden Mills (1 GA on 21 shots) earned the start for West Kelowna, while Cody Porter (2 GA on 19 shots) played the second half.
“I was a little nervous at first” admits Mills of his first taste of the BCHL. “But I was ready to go all day, and I was looking forward to it.”
In a contest where the final result was much less important than the development of his team, Warriors Head Coach/GM Rylan Ferster says he was thrilled with the way his team battled and competed.
In particular, Ferster singled out some of his younger prospects, including both goaltenders and several of his younger skaters. The veteran coach says it’s something that bodes well for the club in the future, though he also admits “we’re going to have a couple of decisions to make” when naming West Kelowna’s final roster.
The Warriors host Vernon in an exhibition rematch tonight at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna