Warriors’ Max Bulawka takes on shot against the Langley Rivermen. Photo: Julie Pringle/Snap Photography

West Kelowna Warriors earn well-fought win without coach

The Warriors beat the Langley Rivermen 4-3 without some top players.

It was a back and forth game Tuesday night, but the West Kelowna Warriors defended home ice against the Langley Rivermen with a 4-3 victory.

In the Warriors’ loss against the Wenatchee Wild on Nov. 24, head coach Geoff Grimwood was handed a suspension by Warriors ownership after the results from the Warriors and Wild game breaking into fights. Warriors assistant coach Matt Miller helped run things from the Warriors bench along side assistant coach Taurean White.

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The Warriors were missing two of their top line players, Parm Daliwal is out with injury and Lucas Cullen serving a three game suspension, so line shuffling was a necessity. Miller said the Warriors’ lines struggled to find consistency in the first period.

“Our second period, I thought, was our best period, It was a good team effort,” said Miller. “We came out strong in that second period, we were OK in the third, but willed out a win. Our guys knew we were going to win, with Brock back there we were solid. When they made it 4-3, it was the re-group and from top to bottom pushing back against them so they couldn’t find that tying goal; that was how we won this game.”

The Warriors were out-shot by the Rivermen 42-32, but Warriors goalie Brock Baier made some great saves to not allow the Rivermen a chance to tie it up. Solid play from Warriors’ forwards Mike Hardman and Willie Reim lead to the 4-3 victory, but assistant coach Miller said Baier was the glue.

“Every shot that came in, there was no rebound, he was solid back there which helps our defence which helps our forwards. When your goalie plays like that, its easy to win hockey games.”

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The Warriors have a few days off before travelling to the Island for a three game road trip that gets started on Nov.30 in Nanaimo against the Clippers. They return home on Dec. 7 when they host the Merritt Centennials.

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