Cole Demers backstopped the West Kelowna Warriors to victory Saturday in Prince George with a 29-save effort. -Image: Prince George Spruce Kings

Warriors end seven-game road slide with win in P.G.

West Kelowna bounces back from lopsided loss to the Vees a night earlier with victory over Kings

On the heels of their worst loss of the BCHL season, the West Kelowna Warriors rebounded nicely on Saturday night in Prince George.

The Warriors used a three-goal third period and a 29-save performance from Cole Demers to earn a hard-fought 4-2 victory over the Spruce Kings from Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.

The previous night at Royal LePage Place, the Warriors were drubbed 11-3 by the Penticton Vees.

On Saturday, the Warriors got four different goal scorers into the act with Michael Ryan, RJ Murphy, Willie Reim and Jared Marino all finding the back of the goal as the Warriors snapped a seven-game winless stretch on the road.

The first period of the game was drawn to a scoreless tie as both teams played well defensively and got strong goaltending in the opening twenty minutes of action. Cole Demers turned aside 13 shots in the first period in the Warriors crease, his busiest of the night, while Spruce Kings netminder Evan DeBrouwer stopped all 8 shots he faced.

It took well into the latter point of the 2nd period before the game got its first goal and came courtesy of a scramble that was capitalized by the Warriors. A 2-on-1 saw Chase Dubois and Willie Reim unable to connect with the puck going off of the end boards off of Reim’s stick and bounced to the right face-off circle for Michael Ryan to slap in for his 3rd goal of the season at the 17:29 mark of the frame and give the Warriors a 1-0 lead heading into the 3rd period.

The Warriors didn’t take long to add to their lead as just 29 seconds into the 3rd frame, RJ Murphy scored his second goal in as many nights and his 7th goal of the season. A point shot from Jake Harrison went behind the net for an awaiting Murphy who wrapped the puck around on the glove side of DeBrouwer for a 2-0 Warriors lead.

West Kelowna added to their advantage just 1:29 after the Murphy goal with Willie Reim joining the scoring on another scramble at the goalmouth. Reim was standing at the top of the crease and banged in a rebound for his second goal in as many nights and his sixth goal of the season at the 1:58 mark on the power play pushed the Warriors lead to 3-0.

Warriors captain Jared Marino capped off an impressive start to the 3rd period for the visitors with a goal at the 3:58 mark of the frame to extend the lead to 4-0. Marino buried in a pass from the left side for his 8th goal of the season just as a power play came to an end to get the Warriors ahead by four goals.

The Spruce Kings scored a pair of goals to round out the scoring in the 3rd period, starting with a Dustin Manz goal at the 7:44 mark of the period as a nice pass from behind the goal line from Ethan de Jong was received by Manz and put by Demers on the power play to cut the lead to 4-1.

Prince George added one more goal at the end of the game with just 21 seconds remaining as a scramble to the blocker side of Demers that looked like the Warriors goaltender had covered the puck up but the officials thought otherwise as Kyle Johnson got the last touch on the puck and closed out the scoring in a 4-2 Warriors victory.

Cole Demers turned aside 29 of the 31 shots he faced in the game for his eighth victory of the season in the Warriors crease while Evan DeBrouwer stopped 29 of the 33 shots he faced in the game in the losing effort.

The Warriors (15-10-0-1) return to Royal LePage Place to begin a two-game weekend and kick off Parents Weekend as they host the Merritt Centennials on Friday night in a 7 p.m. face-off.

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