The West Kelowna Warriors will take on the Penticton Vees tonight in Game 5 of their 1st round series, which the Vees lead by a 3-1 margin.
Each game in this series has been intense and gone down to the last shot. In fact, each winning team has scored on their last shot of the game. Even Penticton in their 3-2 win in Game 4 was on the final shot they registered with 2:14 remaining.
With the Warriors playoff lives on the line, look for their best effort tonight at the SOEC. They say the 4th game is the hardest to win because of the way the opposition plays in those elimination games, and the Warriors will need to play like a desperate team in order to extend their season another night.
Goaltending has been the story in this series so far. Hunter Miska has been as advertised based on his stats from the regular season. He has a 3-1 record with a 2.07 GAA and a .939 SV% through the first 4 games. He has done a good job of finding pucks after they hit him, and was particularly strong late in the 3rd of Game 4.
For the Warriors, they got a pair of excellent efforts from Scott Patton to start the series, then Stephen Heslop steps up and his performances are nothing short of amazing either. Heslop, the 19-year old AP from the Princeton Posse is yes, 0-2, but has a 2.51 GAA and a .922 SV%. Not bad for a kid who hadn't played in 2 weeks since his team was eliminated in the KIJHL playoffs.
The Warriors will be needing to continue their physical play tonight and discipline will be a main factor in that. On the Special Teams side of things, Penticton has enjoyed 18 power-play opportunities and 29:58 on time on the man advantage. The Warriors 10 power-plays have lasted only 14:42. The Vees have scored once, and West Kelowna twice in the series.
The talk all season long was how tight the Interior division was, and all 8 games so far of these playoffs have been decided by 1-goal. With the Vernon sweep, expect their staff in attendance as they have 5 more days of waiting before Round 2 begins on Friday. Whoever they play, they're going to be hoping for a 7-game series, and from a Warriors perspective, that's their hope as well.