The West Kelowna Warriors scored twice in the third period to beat the Penticton Vees 2-1 on Friday night at the SOEC, taking a 3-2 series lead back to RLP for Saturday night's Game 6.
Friday's game started off just like the game Tuesday night in Game 4, as it was scoreless after the opening 20 minutes. The difference though, was the fact it wasn't the Warriors with a major edge in shots and play, it was the Vees who controlled the puck throughout the majority of the period. The Warriors did have a late PP that failed to click, but created a couple of opportunities after it as well, but Zach Driscoll shut the door.
The Vees got on the board in the second after a stretch of play that dominated the shot clock high above centre ice, widening the Vees lead in that department in the first few minutes. Shots were around 8-2 Penticton when Nicholas Jones opened the scoring on a deflection, lifting it over the top of Matthew Greenfield and under the bar, snapping a 136+ minute goal-less drought the Vees had been on. Special Teams solved nothing and the Vees headed to the 3rd with a lead for the 45th time this season.
The two teams went toe to toe in the third period as Penticton tried to extend their lead and the Warriors tried to launch a comeback. It was a bit of an unlikely source that tied the game, as Nick Rutigliano redirected Quin Foreman's pass past Driscoll to knot it up at one, while Vees fans hollered for a penalty on the previous rush that never came. It almost seemed at that point that this game was going to be destined for overtime. That's how tight-checking it had become. The Vees out-shot the Warriors 10-5 in the frame but Matthew Greenfield stood tall, as did the Warriors defense.
With under five minutes left in the third, Dante Fabbro couldn't get the puck past Rylan Yaremko at the line, who sent a shot on goal that bounced off Driscoll's glove and in, stunning 3400+ fans and delighting the 100+ Warriors fans who made the trip. West Kelowna knew they weren't done there, and had to defend their one-goal lead for the next 4:07. With Driscoll on the bench for the extra attacker, the Warriors blocked countless shot attempts, and had a pair of chances at the empty net, but those were blocked by the Vees coming back the other way. After the way Game 2 ended with Scott Conway tying it late, the buzzer was definitely a satisfying sound after another hard fought game against such a strong opponent.
As far as a preview for Game 6 goes, just know this: Tickets for Game 6 go back on sale at 9 am. TODAY! People are going to want those tickets and will be lining up at the Warriors office, calling the Warriors office, and Royal LePage Place will be ROCKING THE RED tonight! Please be patient as we work through all of our phone lines and ticket orders. It should be another great game in this series that you won't want to miss!