WESTLOCK - The Westlock Senior Warriors continued their perfect December with a gritty 6-2 Saturday night home win over the Devon Barons.
The victory, their second in as many weekends, elevated the club to 2-4-0-1 and into a sixth-place tie with the 2-6-0-1 Barons in the North Central Alberta Hockey League. The Warriors hold games in hand versus every other club in the league — although they’re currently six points behind the fifth-place Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs, they’ve played four less games.
Captain Mike Ivey said it’s been a nice turnaround for the club after a series of tough one-goal defeats and a blowout loss to the cellar-dwelling Bonnyville Pontiacs to start the campaign.
“It was another good confidence builder for us. We’re feeling good about our game,” said Ivey the day after the win. “It’s nice to climb up the standings and I hope we can keep it going.”
Versus the Barons at the Rotary Spirit Centre, Ivey kicked off the scoring in the first, while back-to-back goals from Clayton Eisler in the second gave the Warriors a 3-1 lead through 40 minutes. Ivey’s second of the night 1:20 into the final frame, coupled with singles from Jake Chizma and Mathew Peddie sealed the deal, while goalie Jordan Brand turned aside 34 of the 36 shots he faced for his second-straight victory. Eisler was named the game’s first star with four points, while Brand took second-star honours and Ivey was named third star, adding an assist to go with his two goals.
Ivey says they’ve always had a good rivalry with the Barons and Saturday’s night contest was no different as the clubs combined for 132 minutes in penalties, including five, 10-minute misconduct penalties and a pair of fighting majors.
“We’ve always had a good rivalry with Devon since we came into the league eight years ago. So when it got to the end and we were up by a few it got a little chippy,” said Ivey.
With two-straight wins, and points in their last three games, the club now looks to end 2021 on a high. This coming Friday, Dec. 17, at 8:30 p.m. the Warriors play host to the Red Deer Rustlers, then hit the road the following night to take on the Morinville Kings.
Ivey said while they’d like to get points in both he knows neither contest will be easy as the Rustlers, 6-3-0-1, and the Kings, 6-2-0-1, are tied for third overall in the NCHL with 13 points apiece.
“These are two good teams that we would like to beat for sure,” he continued. “Red Deer is a good team and they can score. And Morinville is much the same, if you make mistakes against them they’ll capitalize.
“Morinville is a team we like to face as we have a good rivalry with them also. We know they’re talented so we have to play a good defensive game and hope the offence keeps producing.”