After three straight losses by one goal, including two in overtime, the West Kelowna Warriors had little left to give in their first-round BCHL playoff series.
The Penticton Vees blanked the Warriors 7-0 Monday at the South Okanagan Events Centre to take the Interior Division semi-final series four games to one.
The Warriors won the series opener in triple overtime, then watched the Vees sweep the next four games—3-2 and 4-3 in overtime, 3-2 in Game 4, then closing the series out with a shutout in Game 5.
“I think Game 3 took a lot out of both teams, they came out of it with a win, and I don’t think we had the same kind of jump after that,” said Warriors head coach and GM Rylan Ferster.
“If there was a game I thought we deserved to win that was probably the one.”
It was a difficult season injury-wise for the Warriors, particularly between the pipes where AP goalies played 14 of the team’s 63 games.
No. 1 man Andy Desautels missed a month of action after an appendectomy, then another three weeks at the end of the season with a concussion. Scott Patton was injured for last three games of the playoffs, forcing affiliate Stephen Heslop in to carry the load.
The Warriors went 5-0-0-1 in their last regular season six games to sneak into the BCHL playoffs, clinching a spot with a win over Surrey in their final game.
“That was the positive, getting into the playoffs,” Ferster said. “From day one I said a really good team was going to miss the playoffs and that’s what happened. I think we earned our way in by battling and scratching, and then came up against a very worth opponent. I’s guessing (the Vees) would say the same thing about us.”
The Vees will battle the Vernon Vipers in the Interior Division final with Game 1 set for Friday in Penticton.