October 05, 2014 - 9:43 AM
WEST KELOWNA - Jake Clifford scored a shorthanded goal with just 0.8 seconds left in the second period leading the visiting Merritt Centennials to a 2-1 victory over the West Kelowna Warriors Saturday at Royal LePage Place.
With the game tied 1-1, Clifford outworked Jason Cotton for the puck on the left boards, cut hard to the net and tucked the puck past Andy Desautels just as time was about to expire in the middle frame.
The Centennials were able to kill off four third period penalties to hang on for the victory.
It was an entertaining game for the nearly 1,000 fans in attendance - fast, rigged, hard hitting and nasty.
"You have two teams who obviously dislike each other and have played lots over the last couple of years. It was probably a good game from a fan standpoint," says Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster. "We had a lot of chances on the power-play and we wanted to be individuals and not basically do as we're told. Then we have a real lacklustre effort on a shorthanded goal by a veteran hockey player that is unacceptable."
Jonathon Desbiens opened the scoring with his fourth of the season on a power-play late in the opening period.
Desbiens beat Centennials netminder Anthony Pupplo after an initial shot hit a leg in front of the net and bounced right to Desbiens who was in the right place at the right time.
The Warriors wouldn't beat Pupplo the rest of the night despite some quality chances from Desbiens and Kyler Hope.
Merritt tied it early in the second when Rhett Willcox grabbed a loose puck, circled behind the net and beat Desautels on a wrap-around.
On bright note was the play of first year defenceman Kristian Blumenschein who logged big time minutes on both the power-play and penalty kill as well as taking a regular turn on the blue line.
"For sure I like it. It gets me into the game and gets my feet moving. I like it a lot," says Blumenschein of the ice time.
The Warriors were just 1-8 with the man advantage Saturday while holding the Centennials off the scoresheet on their four opportunities.
West Kelowna, 4-2 on the year, are winless in two starts at Royal LePage Place after winning all four starts away from home.
The Warriors won't have long to look for that first home ice win.
They'll take on the Cowichan Valley Capitals Sunday at 2:30.
The Capitals will be looking to salvage a win from their interior road swing that has seen them fall in Trail and Vernon.
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