WARRIORS CLOSE OUT PRELIMINARY ROUND WITH WIN OVER CANADIANS
JASON LA ROSE
LLOYDMINSTER, Alta./Sask. – Jonathan Desbiens had a goal and an assist to pace the offence, and the West Kelowna Warriors closed out their preliminary round schedule at the 2016 RBC Cup with a 4-1 win over the Carleton Place Canadians on Wednesday afternoon.
The win moves the Warriors into first place with a 2-1-0-1 record in the round robin; they will wait for the results of Thursday’s games to find out who and when they will play in the semifinals on Saturday.
Quin Foreman, Liam Blackburn and Bryan Basilico had the other goals for West Kelowna, which held Carleton Place to just nine shots on goal through the first 40 minutes in a dominating defensive performance.
Matthew Greenfield finished with 19 saves in his first start of the tournament in the Warriors goal.
Owen Grant was the lone goal-scorer for Carleton Place, which remained winless.
Foreman got the Warriors going early, moving up the right wing before letting go a wrist shot that found its way through Canadians netminder Colton Point on the short side just 1:45 after the puck dropped.
That was it for offence in the first period, despite West Kelowna holding a 10-3 advantage in shots on goal.
Desbiens doubled the lead just shy of the 15-minute mark of the second, going to the net and knocking in the rebound of a Brett Mennear shot, but Grant pulled the Canadians back within a goal at 18:27, pinching in off the point to tap a perfect cross-crease feed from Nicolas Carrier past Greenfield on the power play.
Carleton Place seemed to finally find its offensive stride in the final 20 minutes, outshooting West Kelowna 11-9, but it couldn’t find a way past Greenfield, who made his first appearance since May 1 after suffering an injury during the Warriors’ run to the Western Canada Cup.
Blackburn walked off the side-boards and got a shot up and over Point to make it 3-1 at 9:12, and Basilico hit the empty net with 4:05 remaining to clinch the three points for the BCHL champions.
While the Warriors will be spectators on Thursday, the Canadians will play with their season on the line, facing the Brooks Bandits (3:30 p.m. MT).
A loss ends the year for Carleton Place, while a win means they will need a Lloydminster loss in the preliminary-round finale to clinch a semifinal spot for the third year in a row.