January 09, 2016 - 9:05 AM
WEST KELOWNA - The West Kelowna Warriors needed a big third period to come back against the Merritt Centennials, but it was Cole Kehler who one-upped them in the Merritt net, making 44 saves to earn his team a 4-2 victory over the Warriors on Friday night, Jan. 8, at Royal LePage Place.
West Kelowna got off on the right foot in the opening period, as friendly giant Scott Allan snapped one upstairs on Kehler to open the scoring. It was a nifty pass and smart play from Connor Sodergren to set up the goal, while Kylar Hope drew the other assist.
The Centennials tied the game up a mere three minutes later, as Mitch Lipon poked a puck over the goal line under a sprawled Matthew Greenfield. The whistle went just as the puck came free over the goal line, but a good goal got the Cents even.
An odd power-play goal from Nick Fiorentino opened up a 2-1 lead for Merritt, as his shot from the point rang off the bar. Or so everyone thought. The referee on the goal line determined that it hit the back bar of the net and came out, and a few fans with a closer look at it agreed with the official.
It would get to 3-1 early in the second period off a defensive miscue, as Lipon was able to score his second of the night with a shot that Greenfield just couldn't get enough of.
Kristian Blumenschein got the Warriors within one goal as his seeing-eye wrister flipped past Kehler's blocker and into the Centennials net with just over two minutes to go in the second period.
The Warriors controlled the puck for most of the third period, firing an impressive 21 shots at the Merritt net, but Kehler was equal to all of them, slamming the door and holding down the fort.
Greenfield also made key saves in the third period, one of them on a two-on-one, and another on a breakaway to give his team a chance.
Colin Grannary hit the open net in the final minute to seal the deal.
Newly acquired Bryan Basilico was named the third star of the night.
West Kelowna is back in action Tuesday when they host Vernon at Royal Lepage Place at 7 p.m.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016