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Warriors come back to edge Bulldogs in high-scoring affair

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs saw a third period lead slip away on Saturday night as they dropped a 6-5 decision to the West Kelowna Warriors on the road at Royal LePage Place.

A wild first 40 minutes saw nine goals and a number of lead changes, as the Warriors opened the scoring when Willie Reim beat Cole Demers off the rush less than five minutes from puck drop. But the Bulldogs responded less than a minute later when Jackson Doucet converted a net front feed from Ryan Miotto on a two-on-one, and went ahead on a Mitch Deelstra breakaway goal soon after. But Reim brought the hosts even heading into the first intermission.

The Bulldogs scored three consecutive goals in the second to build a lead, beginning with Aaron Bohlinger jumping up in the rush to pounce on a rebound and shovel it past West Kelowna starter Brock Baier. Michael Hodge netted his first Alberni Valley goal soon after, and Dawson Tritt chased Baier from the net when he scored with seven minutes left in the period. The goalie change seemed to boost the Warriors, who got goals from Wyatt Head and Mike Hardman to pull within one before the end of the frame.

West Kelowna completed the comeback in the third, as Bennett Norlin converted on a breakaway opportunity with less than 10 minutes remaining and Lucas Cullen netted the winner on a late power-play chance. The Bulldogs had a couple of great chances with the goalie out for an extra attacker but couldn’t find the back of the net.

Demers made 39 saves on a night when the Bulldogs out-shot their opponents by  a 51-45 margin. Connor Hopkins picked up the win, stopping all 16 shots he faced over the second half of the game.

The Bulldogs will wrap up their three-game weekend road trip in Coquitlam on Sunday at 3:00 PM.