Final score from the South Okanagan Events Centre Saturday night, Cody DePourcq 2, West Kelowna Warriors 1.
Twice DePourcq got the crowd of 1,665 to rise to its feet. The first time, with his team down 1-0, DePourcq skated behind the Warriors net, turned towards it and as he spun around fired a shot that found a hole in Tyler Briggs. The Warriors goalie kept his team in the game as he finished with 34 saves. DePourcq’s second came courtesy of captain Troy Stecher, who did all the work lugging the puck into enemy territory.
“Stecher did a great job intercepting that pass in the defensive zone and then skating it up the ice,” said DePourcq, who received a roar of applause from the crowd for his first star honors. “I was yelling for it and he threw it out front. Luckily it bounced off the post and I was wide open in front of the net and I was able to put it in.”
That winning tally came with 3:39 left in the third period. Vees goalie Chad Katunar finished with 21 saves.
As the buzzer sounded, the Vees victory celebration was interrupted as Wady Murphy got stuck in a mix up with a few Warriors. Vees forward Michael Rebry and Shawn Hochhausen received five minutes for fighting. Hochhausen also received a game misconduct. Jedd Soleway received some attention from the Warriors taking a few punches while chatting with another Warriors. He and Murphy received game misconducts. Brett Zarazun received a misconduct, while Braxton Bilous, who engaged with Murphy, received a gross misconduct.
“We’ve had a few tough games with West Kelowna previously this season,” said Soleway, who had some scratches on his nose. “It seemed like it just kind of hit that point where they kind of blew up. I know a bunch of guys out there didn’t want to take it too far, didn’t want to get suspensions. We definitely held our own and stuck up for each other. Nothing wrong with that at the end of a hard game.”
Soleway added DePourcq’s late goal added to the high emotions.
While the players exchanged pleasantries, Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson and Warriors coach-GM Rylan Ferster had their own exchanges. At one point both left their benches towards the hallway leading to the dressing rooms then returned.
When Ferster was asked what said between he and Harbinson, he said with a smile, “It was just chatting, just chatting.”
When asked if they met in the hall, he didn’t confirm or deny, once again saying with a smile, “We were just chatting.”
When it came to his teams’s performance, Ferster, who won a Centennials Cup with the Vernon Lakers, said he didn’t like the way they played the first two periods.
“We thought we maybe stood around a little bit and watched a team kind of take it two us,” he said. “I thought we played a little better in the third. We missed one assignment on a back check and it ends up in our net. They are a team that is very opportunistic.”