Matthew Greenfield was the story on Friday night as the West Kelowna Warriors opened up the BCHL Fred Page Cup Finals with a 2-0 win over the Chilliwack Chiefs at the Prospera Centre. After a slow start from the Warriors saw Greenfield need to make 12 saves in the first 10+ minutes of the game, the Warriors finally saw an opportunity to go the other way.
|Matthew Greenfield was at his best in the first period, making 16 saves and keeping the Warriors in it|
|Hope is in here somewhere...as Warriors take 1-0 lead|
In the second period, it looked like a different Warriors squad who started to get the opportunities and create off the rush against the Chiefs. Aidan Pelino had to make some big saves to keep it a 1-0 score, and the Chilliwack defense cleared some key rebounds as well.
As the Warriors began to get some sustained pressure, Bryan Basilico got the puck out front and back-handed one off the post, but it ended up on Kyle Marino's stick as he slammed it home to double the lead.
|Oh Captain, My Captain! Marino makes it 2-0|
The final buzzer of the second period saw the first instance of some fireworks, as Kylar Hope was hit high and hard into the end wall by Rylan Bechtel. Hope had tried to get the puck and ended up slashing the stick out of Aidan Pelino's hand, before taking the check. Hope stayed down on the ice for some time before heading off. He would return in the third, but his teammates went looking to defend him as the period ended, but nothing would come of it.
The third period once again saw the Chiefs get some pressure back on the Warriors as Jason Tatarnic shortened his bench throughout the frame, double shifting players and utilizing 7-8 forwards only. Matthew Greenfield not only had to stop pucks in the third period, but bodies as well. He took a check behind the net from Ryan Forbes in the period, but no penalty was called, and the Warriors didn't get a man advantage in the hockey game until late.
The only power play the Warriors did have was when Vimal Sukumaran slashed Kyle Marino and then they scrummed on the side boards. Gloves were off and some punches thrown, but only ten minute misconducts were called plus a slashing penalty to Sukumaran.
The Warriors third power play unit spent the 1:09 of man advantage time ragging the puck back in their own end and watching the clock run out on a big Game 1 win behind Greenfield's 37 save performance.
|37 Saves from Matthew Greenfield earned him 1st star honours|
- Matthew Greenfield might have won the game for West Kelowna in the first period when the Warriors weren't sharp. He made a bunch of big stops before the first media timeout, and the Warriors finally responded with a goal and then a much better second.
- The animosity increased with the hit by Bechtel on Hope at the end of period two, and boiled over with Kyle Marino and Vimal Sukumaran with 1:09 to go. Also in that scrum, Connor Sodergren had Jordan Kawaguchi in a headlock, probably reminding him to be careful with headshots in the neutral zone against the Warriors top players like last Sunday's hit on Blackburn.
- The Warriors will look for a big second win to head home up 2-0 on Saturday night, and will focus on their start of the game as a key point that needs to improve in the series.