BREMERTON — The West Sound Warriors earned their fourth Western States Hockey League win in a row and their first over the Bellingham Blazers, 8-5, on Saturday.
The Warriors beat Seattle 9-4 Friday in a Northwest Division game to come away with a weekend sweep of its division rivals.
Harri Koll had a hat trick and an assist to finish with four points while Erik Safstram also had a four-point night, tallying four assists and a goal.
It was a good effort for West Sound which has improved lately. It’s showing on the ice and in the standings. West Sound is now 13-11 with three more games to play before taking off for the Christmas break.
“It’s a big relief,” said Safstram of beating Bellingham. “We lost three or four games against them, and I know we’re a better team.”
It was Safstram’s Swedish linemate that started the scoring for the Warriors as Mattias Wikstrom scored at the 12:10 mark of the first on an assist from Safstram. West Sound’s defense kept Bellingham out of the Warriors zone with minimal flurries of activity in front of Warriors goalie Brian Eisele in the first 20 minutes.
Koll notched his first goal of the night off assists from newcomer Ethan Cooney and Alec Johnson at 18:40. Koll’s nifty move to get past one defender left him alone in front of Bellingham goaltender Jake Holden, and Koll slipped the puck underneath Holden’s pads for a 2-0 lead.
The Blazers tallied quickly on a Dane Halstead goal, but West Sound answered right back when Connor Wherrett scored for a 3-1 lead. Bellingham cut the lead to 3-2, but again the Warriors answered on Safstram’s goal on a two-man breakaway for a 4-2 lead.
Caleb Travis scored on a hard shot near the blue line to make it 5-2 before Bellingham answered with 1:15 left on the clock in the second period, 5-3.
The Blazers cut West Sound’s lead back to one goal when they opened the third period on a goal by Jacob Mabaquiao, 5-4.
But the Warriors responded by scoring three straight to put the game out of reach. Koll scored twice, and Sam Pelech added West Sound’s final score. Bellingham’s late goal ended the scoring at 8-5.
“We scored eight goals, and we haven’t done that many times this season,” Safstram said, adding he’d like to see the team step up its defense more. “We let in five goals, and they should have, at most, scored maybe two.”
Bellingham still leads the season series 3-1, but Safstram said he and his teammates are playing well lately and it feels good to come away with the wins.
“For me, I had a tough start, lot’s of new stuff like a small rink, and that’s a big difference from Sweden,” he said. “It feels good now and I’m happy.”
West Sound travels to Bellingham Friday and Seattle on Saturday before returning to Bremerton Sunday, Dec. 10 for a 2:35 p.m. game against Bellingham.
The Warriors won’t return to WSHL action until Jan. 5 at Bellingham and play the Blazers at home on Jan. 6.