West Kelowna Warriors’ Eric Olson eyes the puck in front of the opponent’s net. Photo: Julie Pringle/Snap Photography

West Kelowna Warriors’ Eric Olson eyes the puck in front of the opponent’s net. Photo: Julie Pringle/Snap Photography

West Kelowna Warriors look to rebound against Trail

The Warriors lost a close one in Vernon Friday, aim for first win of 2019 Saturday on home ice

The West Kelowna Warriors will look to bounce back after a tight 4-3 loss to the Vipers Friday night in Vernon. The game seemed like a carbon copy of the Warriors December 22nd game versus the Penticton Vees, where they started off slow but dominated late. The Warriors host the Trail Smoke Eaters on home ice Saturday.

Warriors assistant coach Matt Miller expects better from his players come Saturday.

“We just need to be better defensively and that’s not all on our defenseman, we need to defend as a unit and protect our goaltender better,” said Miller. “We can’t give up 20 grade A scoring chances and expect to win. It wasn’t good enough, simple as that.”

The Warriors will try and continue to climb the ranks in the BCHL’s interior division standings Saturday night against the Smoke Eaters. The Warriors and Smoke Eaters were last in action in Trail on October 20 with the Warriors silencing the 1800 fans in Cominco after the Smoke Eaters blew a 2-0 first period lead picking up a 4-3 victory. It was one of the many games Warriors goaltending was strong with Connor Hopkins stopping 33 shots with the Smoke Eaters out shooting the Warriors 36-23.

This is a different looking Smoke Eaters club from the Warriors’ victory in October. They have added some muscle on the back end, and added former Warriors’ forward Chase Stevenson up front. Stevenson is currently averaging a point a game since joining the Smoke Eaters.

The race to the playoffs tightens up as the Warriors will battle for every available point as the playoffs kick off in just over eight weeks.

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