photo: Garrett James

Warriors fall to Vipers after controversial call

The West Kelowna Warriors fell to the Vipers for the fifth time this season

The Vernon Vipers defeat the West Kelowna Warriors for the fifth time this season by a score of 7-5.

You couldn’t have scripted a better start for the Warriors. First Vernon Vipers announced two scratches due to injury – Lane Zablocki and Josh Latta. Then the Vipers would flip their starting goaltender from Aiden Porter to Bradley Cooper. This would lead to a quick pair of goals for the Warriors. First it was a shot from Lucas Bahn at the point which would be tipped by Max Bulawka just as the Vipers penalty expired to make it 1-0. Then only 38 seconds later the Warriors 4th line would forced a turnover in the attacking zone allowing Quinton Waitzner to feed a wide open Brandon Dent to score his 5th of the season to make it 2-0.

The Vipers would start off the second period on the penalty kill. After a couple great stops from Porter the Vipers would move the puck well in the attacking zone with relentless pressure. After three chances to clear the puck out of their zone, the Warriors found themselves in a vulnerable position leading to an Elan Bar Lev Wise goal to give the Vipers a 3-2 lead.

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The Warriors needed a push in the third period and they got it from two of their goal scorers. First it was Mike Hardman who rushed end to end and roofed one top corner to tie the game at four. Then with seven minutes remaining in the third Quinton Waitzner was able to feed Max Bulawka behind the net in the attacking zone which led to Bulawka feeding Willie Reim to make it 5-4. Then with under five minutes to go Lucas Cullen would be called for hooking putting the Vipers on the powerplay. This is where one of the more controversial calls of the season came. During the Vipers man advantage, Warriors defender Anthony Bishop lost his helmet, but the Vipers would take advantage and tie the game at five. After the goal there was a conference between the officials.

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The officials penalized Bishop for playing without his helmet on which put the Vipers on another powerplay. What the officials didn’t do was just blow the whistle and place the Vipers on a two man advantage. Instead the officials credited the goal and then placed the Vipers on another powerplay where the Vipers made it 6-5. Forward Teddy Wooding would add another goal late to make it 7-5 and eventually would put the game out of reach.

Shots on goal 45-28 in favor of the Vipers.

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