Black Press Sports
Unlike the regular season, the West Kelowna Warriors have barely given an inch against the defending Penticton Vees so far in the BCHL playoffs.
As a result, the Interior Division final between the Okanagan rivals is now down to a best-of-three.
All even at two games apiece, the Warriors and Vees will meet tonight for Game 5 at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Face off is 7 p.m.
Penticton grabbed the early edge in the series, winning the first two games of the best-of-seven on home ice. But West Kelowna answered the call with a pair of victories this week at a charged-up Royal LePage Place – 2-1 on Monday and 3-0 on Tuesday.
The way the series has unfolded isn’t a big surprise to Warriors’ head coach and GM Rylan Ferster.
“I think what you have is two good teams that have played hard right from the start of the series, and all four games have been very good,” Ferster said. “We’re now down to a best-of-three, so nothing has really changed.
“We knew we’d have to win a game in their building to have a chance and that hasn’t changed, either. Both teams know exactly what’s ahead.”
Ferster said the while the Warriors’ success thus far in the playoffs is largely due to a team effort, he also credits the goaltending of Matthew Greenfield.
The 19-year-old stopper from Parkland, Fla., who was acquired by Ferster prior to Christmas, made 52 saves in the two victories, allowing just a single goal.
“He’s been outstanding,” Ferster said of Greenfield’s play. “In the playoffs, you need good health, good luck and good goaltending…so far we’ve had all three.”
Regardless of what transpires tonight, the Warriors will get to play at least more game in front of their hometown fans, with Game 6 set for Saturday night.
With more than 2,800 fans clicking through the turnstiles for Games 3 and 4, Ferster said the atmosphere has been second to none.
“It’s been really good for our kids, they worked hard all year and we have great fans who have supported them all year,” said Fester. “To see that extra energy in the playoffs, how electric it is in that building, is really nice, great to see.
“It’s playoff hockey at its best.”
Face off for Game 6 Saturday in West Kelowna is 7 p.m.
A seventh game, if necessary, would be played Sunday, 6 p.m. in Penticton.