Warriors return home, dominate Trail in 5-2 win

Warriors happy to be home

There's something about playing in front of the home crowd that suits the West Kelowna Warriors.

Coming off a stretch of seven straight on the road in which they came away with just one win, were outscored 31-15 and held the lead for a combined 54 minutes and five seconds, they returned home Saturday and dominated the Trail Smoke Eaters from puck drop to final whistle.

The 5-2 win before 1,362 on Faith Night flattered the visitors who needed a heroic effort from goaltender Teagan Kendrick over the first 40 minutes to prevent from being blown right out of the rink.

"It's nice to be home is the old adage. Beyond that, I think we finally achieved that 60 minutes or as close as you can get at least," said head coach Simon Ferguson.

"Everyone really bought in and that's a credit to them."

Home sweet home indeed! The Warriors are 13-4 on their home sheet, and three of those losses have come at the hands of one team - the Penticton Vees.

"You have to give this crowd credit, and Don Richmond for bringing them in and bringing that energy.

"The guys feed off it and from there it's the details of the game and not just kind of flying all over the place. I thought our details were much better tonight and another building block in moving in the right direction."

Riley Sharun and Michael Salandra each scored twice in the win while Brennan Nelson and Jaiden Moriello each chipped in with a pair of helpers as all four lines contributed in one for or another.

The Warriors led 2-1 after one and 3-1 after 40 minutes but could have had at least a half dozen more had it not been for Kendrick who made several point blank saves. Many of those came in the opening 12 minutes when the Warriors were all over the Smokies but had nothing to show for it.

Sharun finally broke the ice with his fifth of the season 13:39 in with a shot from the right circle that squeezed through Kendrick and trickled over the goal line.

Salandra doubled the lead four minutes later on a power play. Settling into the bumper spot, Salandra snapped home a one-timer from the slot after taking a touch pass from Nelson on the goal line.

The Smokies got one back on a late first period power play but, despite having a bit more of the play in the second were only dangerous in small spurts.

Sharun tapped home his second of the night off a smooth backhand pass from Moriello late in the second before Kailus Green tipped home his ninth nearly seven minutes into the third.

After the Smokies cur the deficit to two, Salandra sealed it when he tapped home a loose puck with under seven minutes left.

The win snapped the Warriors four-game losing streak and kicked off a five-game homestand in style.

In fact, nine of their final 11 games heading into the post season will be on home ice.

Next up, a Family Day matinee with the Merritt Centennials Monday afternoon at 2:30. All children 12 and under get into the game free. Fans will have a chance to skate with the team following the game.

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