December 14, 2014 - 12:46 PM
WEST KELOWNA - Pucks and teddy bears — both seemingly by the hundreds, were flying at Royal LePage Place Saturday.
On a night when hundreds of stuffed animals were raised for the West Kelowna Food Bank, the Warriors played their most complete game on home ice in weeks in a convincing 5-1 win over the visiting Coquitlam Express.
The final score flattered the visitors as the Warriors buzzed around the Express net from the opening whistle and, if not for the play of netminder Chris Tai, the Warriors may have hit double digits.
Jason Cotton scored twice and added an assist for the Warriors. Liam Blackburn, Andrew Johnson and Jordon Masters added singles.
Brett Mennear chipped in with a pair of assists.
After Masters, Mennear and Brayden Gelsinger had glorious chances to open the scoring it was Blackburn who finally got the Warriors on the board.
Blackburn snapped a short side wrist shot from the right circle on the Warriors third power-play opportunity of the first.
Johnson doubled the lead five minutes into the second. Michael Buonincontri did most of the work driving the net with the puck but was unable to get a good shot away.
He stayed with the puck, gathered it up behind the net and fed it in front where Johnson one timed a shot from the low slot.
Coquitlam had a couple of chances to get on the board after Johnson's goal but rang a pair of shots off the goalpost.
Masters gave the Warriors some breathing room eight minutes into the third with his eighth of the season off a faceoff in the Express end.
Coquitlam ended Scott Patton's shutout bid 14 seconds later and gave the Express some jump.
Jason Cotton ended any thought of a Coquitlam comeback with a pair of late goals.
The Warriors, who won the night before in double overtime in Trail, had been challenged by the coaching staff to be more involved physically, especially early in the game.
The coaches also challenged the veteran players to step up and Blackburn says players are starting to follow the lead of veterans like Masters and Cotton who have played really well the past number of games.
The Warriors came into Saturday's game without the services of starting netminder Andy Desautels who will be out a couple of weeks after he underwent an emergency appendectomy Saturday.
The Warriors, winners of two in a row and three of their last four play host to Trail Tuesday before closing out the pre-Christmas portion of the schedule with a home and home set with the Vees Friday in Penticton and Saturday back at Royal LePage Place.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014