Matthew Byrne notched his first game winning goal in the BCHL, a third period tally as the Kings held onto a lead to get past a resurgent West Kelowna Warriors team by a 5-4 score on Monday night at the Hap Parker Arena.
The Warriors got a dream start, opening the scoring less than 2 minutes in as defenceman Kyle Pow lost a puck in his feet, helping spring Chase Dubois on a break for the 1-0 goal. The Kings regrouped and began to pour pressure on the longer the period went on. First, after a stellar save from Matteo Paler-Chow on West Kelowna leading goal scorer Mike Hardman, the league’s leading sniper Ryan Brushett scored back the other way, outwaiting Connor Hopkins for his 37th of the season and a 1-1 score.
The Kings got another before the period was out as Rowan Miller threw a puck to net, one that deflected off Ethan Kimball and past Hopkins for Kimball’s 8th and a 2-1 advantage through 20.
The second period saw specials teams begin to factor into the game with the Kings going to a pair of powerplay chances and converting both times. First, after a Josh Coblenz shot from the circles ricocheted off the goaltender and out to Brushett on the wall, he fed Jayden Lee who walked down and wristed past the goalie for a 3-1 lead. Late in the period, the Kings to their 2nd powerplay and it was Neal Samanski to gather, load up and unload on net for his 10th of the year and a 4-1 Kings lead through 40.
West Kelowna came out strong in the third with a pair of goals. Willie Reim scored after Matt Rickard deflected a puck into his own net in an attempt to clear, before Wyatt Head scored on a Warriors powerplay to pull the Kings lead back to 1. Matthew Byrne then got a puck in the offensive zone and threw it to net, taking a deflection off something and fooling Hopkins in net…Byrne’s 4th of the year stands up as the game winner as Mike Hardman’s goal 5 seconds from time wasn’t enough and the Kings win by a score of 5-4, their 32nd victory of the season and the 5th in net for Matteo Paler-Chow, who stopped 34 West Kelowna shots.
Brock Sawyer, Matthew Byrne joined Alex Rawnsley for the post game show.
The Kings continue a four game homestand by hosting Coquitlam on Saturday night, a 7:00pm start at the Hap.