To no one’s immense surprise, the BCHL first round playoff series between the West Kelowna Warriors and Salmon Arm Silverbacks has come down to a best-of-three.
With the division semifinal all knotted up at two games apiece, the Interior rivals will meet tonight in Game 5 at Royal LePage Place. Face off is 7 p.m.
Game 6 is set for Saturday night at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm.
There has been little to choose so far between the longtime rivals, a fact that comes as no great shock to Warriors’ head coach and GM Rylan Ferster.
“I’m not surprised at all,” Ferster said of the series’ current status. “These are two very evenly matched teams. If someone said before series that we’d be down to a best-of-three, I wouldn’t have has trouble believing it. Both teams want the same thing and are battling hard for it.”
Like a pair of heavyweights, the teams have been exchanging blows throughout the series. The ‘Backs grabbed the opener in overtime, the Warriors hit back with the same result in Game 2.
West Kelowna won Game 3, only to see Salmon Arm rebound for a 2-1 win Tuesday to even the series up.
“To this point, I’d say the right teams, the ones who have deserved it have won the first four games,” Ferster added. “We have to play desperate from here on in and every shift is important.
“That’s what makes the playoffs such a fun time of year.”
A seventh and deciding game, if necessary, would be played Sunday night in West Kelowna.
Warriors captain Kyle Marino has committed to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks for the 2016-17 NCAA hockey season.
Marino, from Niagara Falls, ON, in his second BCHL season, has 17 goals and 34 assists in 11 games with the Warriors.
“I am very excited about this opportunity, not only for hockey but also for my education,” Marino said. “I’m grateful to the Warriors organization for the opportunity to play for an amazing team and allow this door to be opened.”
Marino will join current teammate Kylar Hope and former Warrior Marcus Basara on the UAF Nanooks next season.