The fans behind the Warriors bench knew of the score and were vocal in spreading it around moments after Jack Ramsey won it for Penticton, but the Warriors kept pushing with their 3-0 lead at that point.
In the end it was a 4 for 4 power-play night for the Warriors, Brayden Gelsinger and Tanner Campbell each had a pair of goals, Jason Cotton and Kristian Blumenschein had the others, and Jonathan Desbiens had 4 assists.
The Salmon Arm Silverbacks need to be given a lot of credit for their efforts over the latter half of the season. At one point the Silverbacks were 11 points behind West Kelowna, and in the end they were 1 point away from taking a playoff spot. Credit to everyone on that team and in that organization, as they were one of the hottest teams down the stretch, going 18-8-0-1 since December 13th. In comparison, the Warriors went 13-11-0-3, and the Penticton Vees went 16-5-2-1.
Looking at just those numbers, the Silverbacks gained 8 points on West Kelowna during that stretch, and picked up 1 more than Penticton, although the Vees played 3 less games. Still a huge accomplishment, and as Rylan Ferster has said for 6 weeks "A real good team is going to miss the playoffs"
Tonight's Game Thoughts:
- West Kelowna came out sort of like they wanted to with pressure, but once that first power-play goal went in, you could see some relief on the faces of Warriors players. The power-play would be lethal from then on.
- Tanner Campbell was the one that scored that 1st goal of the night, and I talked on the broadcast about him being "Mr. 1st Goal of the Game" guy. Now that I've had a chance to look back...of his 8 goals this season for the Warriors, 3 of those have been the first goal of the hockey game.
- Scott Patton was very good for West Kelowna tonight. He probably wants the Cole Plotnikoff goal back from the sharp angle, but with the Eagles out-shooting the Warriors in the game, Patton had to be sharp. He also stopped a Darius Davidson penalty shot, and made a couple fantastic saves with his toe and glove. Oh, and kind of ON HIS BIRTHDAY TOO (Leap year baby, February 29th)
- The Eagles played a solid hockey game tonight and I thought generated a lot offensively with only 9 forwards. They rolled through their 3 lines and kept getting shots onto Scott Patton throughout the night. The killer was the lack of a penalty kill tonight, as the Warriors go 100% on the man advantage.
Playoffs Start Tuesday:
- Warriors will play in Penticton Tuesday and Wednesday for Games 1 and 2, before returning to Royal Lepage Place Friday and Saturday for Games 3 and 4.
- This will be the 4th time West Kelowna and Penticton have met in the playoffs in the last 9 seasons. Penticton has won all 3 series, but these two teams have not met in the 1st round ever.
The in-depth playoff preview will be on the blog Monday afternoon.