Liam Blackburn (middle) and his West Kelowna Warriors teammates were eliminated from the BCHL playoff in six games by Austin Smith (left)

Banged up Warriors succumb to Vipers

Injuries are West Kelowna's undoing as Vernon takes BCHL playoff series in six games

With as many as seven players out of the lineup at one time, the West Kelowna Warriors only vaguely resembled the club that won 35 games and tied for top spot in the BCHL’s Interior Division during the regular season.

The injury-riddled Warriors put up a fight in their first-round playoff series but, in the end, succumbed to the considerably healthier Vernon Vipers in six games.

The Vipers secured a spot in the Interior Division finale against Penticton with a 5-0 victory Tuesday night at Kal Tire Place.

For the Warriors, who closed the series without the services of their co-MVPs—Adam Plant and Andy Desautels—the absence of a handful of key players was simply too much to overcome.

“It makes it tough,” a dejected head coach, Rylan Ferster, said on Wednesday. “You expect to lose a few guys, but I’ve never seen anything like it. You never like to use injuries as an excuse, but they really hurt us. It would have been nice to have gone in healthy, but that wasn’t the case. A credit to Vernon, they’re a great team. When you don’t have all your guns firing, that’s disappointing.”

After falling behind three games to one, the Warriors displayed some resolve with a hard-fought 4-1 Monday at home in Game 5 to prolong the series.

But on Tuesday night, a series-long trend continued where the team scoring first went on to win the game.

“There wasn’t a lead change once in the series, so when Vernon scored first it was an uphill battle,” Ferster said. “We had some really good, Grade A chances early on but just couldn’t finish. It would have been nice to get one of those, but it just didn’t happen.”

While the loss is still raw, Ferster said the club can be proud of its regular season and the strides the organization made in 2013-14.

The Warriors will lose about 10 players, but expect to return a strong corps next season, including goaltender Andy Desautels and forwards Jason Cotton and Jordan Masters.

“We got some real key pieces coming back, so I think we have reason to be excited about next season,” Ferster said. “We live in an attractive place where players like to come, and we have great ownership here. It’s hard now, but we’re going right back to work to see what we can do better.”

The Warriors will host their spring camp April 18 to 20 at Royal LePage, with close to 160 players expected to attend.


Just Posted

Out to pasture at the Freak’n Farmer

The annual “fun” event at Covert Farms put on by the Covert family and HooDoo Adventures

West Kelowna Warriors dominate the Nanaimo Clippers

Three goals were scored during power plays

Fundraiser with wine to raise money for JoeAnna’s House

The Sovereign Order of St. John has committed to raise and donate $50,000

Okanagan artist donates painting to Okanagan College

Bryan Ryley, former instructor at the college donated an acrylic painting

Kiwanis Club donates money to Okanagan College

This establishes the Kiwanis Kelowna 2018 Legacy Education Endowment

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Fuhr: A looming pilot shortage

By Stephen Fuhr Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with local… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Most Read