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West Kelowna loses its fifth straight 6-3 to the Cranbrook Bucks

Warriors slide continues

Starts are killing the West Kelowna Warriors.

It was same old story for the Warriors Friday night, falling behind 2-0 early, climbing back into it, then watching the opposition skate away to a victory - this time a 6-3 defeat at the hands of the visiting Cranbrook Bucks at Royal LePage Place.

Over the course of their five game losing streak, the Warriors have fallen behind by at least two goals in the opening period while being outscored 12-1 in the opening frame.

"We've changed things up, we've talked about it, we've looked at it and I thought we had a pretty good first period except for two catastrophic plays," said head coach Simon Ferguson.

Oh, those catastrophic plays, two giveaways that resulted in two point blank chances and a 2-0 deficit.

Noah Quinn was the recipient of the first just 32 seconds into the game. An attempted clearing pass went off a skate and deflected right to Quinn all alone in front of goaltender Angelo Zol.

He made no mistake to open the scoring.

Then, midway through the period Julian Frias stole the puck behind the Warriors net and centered for brother Donovan who made no mistake to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.

Between those, the Warriors had numerous chances to get on the board but Nathan Airey was air-tight in the Bucks net.

Brennan Nelson appeared to have half a net to shoot at when a puck found him at the edge of the crease but either a stick or Airey's arm got in the way.

The Bucks netmidner then got a toe on a close in chance from defenceman Landon Hilditch then stopped Nelson again on a wraparound chance.

The Warriors did get back into it with goals 51 seconds apart before the second period was two minutes old.

Taking advantage of a power play that carried over from the first, Isaiah Norlin sent a wrist shot from the mid point past a screened Airey to cut the deficit before Chris Duclair was the recipient of a turnover in the slot.

His quick shot beat Airey five hole to tie it.

But, as has been the case the last three games when the Warriors have clawed their way back to tie a game after a multi-goal deficit, they were unable to find the go ahead goal.

"I almost called a time out after we scored the goal to tie it up," said Ferguson.

"I don't know if any coach would do that but maybe I should have. You tie it up and you call a time out to reset so everyone get back to where they were.

"It seemed like we scored a goal and we're good again and we can do whatever we want and succeed. Then they pot four."

Luke Pfoh got the "here we go again" goal five minutes after the Warriors had tied it. Pfoh threw a puck toward the net that appeared to be sailing high, but it hit something in front and deflected past Zol.

The goal seemed to deflate the bench and the team's fragile psyche.

Two goals late in the second and one on a power play early in the third built the lead up to 6-2.

Ben MacDonald got one back on a power play midway through the third and moments later they hit a post that could have brought them to within two but, despite a better push in the final period, the Warriors were unable to climb any closer.

The Warriors fired 14 of their 29 shots during the hectic final period.

Defenceman Dylan Brooks, who has missed more than a dozen games due to injury returned the the lineup Friday.

Forward Nic Porchetta, playing his 150th BCHL game, took a turn on the blueline for the first two periods.

Friday's loss leaves the Warriors clinging to fourth in the Interior Conference, but now only two points from slipping into seventh.

The Warriors have 57 points, one better than Prince George and Vernon and two up on seventh place Wenatchee.

They will try and turn things around Saturday when the Coastal Division-leading Nanaimo Clippers come to town.

The Clippers will be smarting after losing 9-2 in a battle of division leaders in Penticton Friday.

Nanaimo is also reeling after learning Friday head coach and GM Colin Birkas has been suspended indefinitely pending an investigation following complaints filed under Hockey Canada's discipline and complaints policy.



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