The biggest goal of Kylar Hope’s career also happened to be the most important goal in the history of the West Kelowna Warriors.
As a result, the Warriors now have a chance to claim their first ever B.C. Hockey League championship.
The Warriors will be in Chilliwack Friday to take on the Chiefs in the opening game of best-of-seven Fred Page Cup final.
“It’s pretty exciting to be in the position we’re in,” said Hope, the Warriors team MVP who has 12 postseason goals. “It’s been a long playoff, getting through those first two rounds, then getting through the third round in kind of a different format, it was a battle.
“We’re ready to start,” he added, “and are looking forward to trying to bring a championship to West Kelowna.”
On Tuesday night at Royal LePage Place, Hope’s second goal of the game at 19:03 of overtime to propelled the Warriors to a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Nanaimo Clippers, earning West Kelowna its first ever appearance in the league final.
In a unique third-round format involving the three division champs, the Warriors (3-3) and Chiefs (3-2) were the first two teams to reach three wins to claim spots in the final, while the Clippers, at 2-4, were eliminated.
In what been a demanding playoff to date—with series wins over Salmon Arm and Penticton—Warriors’ head coach Rylan Ferster complimented his club for competing every step of the way.
“It hasn’t been easy,” said Ferster. “We beat two very goods teams to get to this round, and it’s been a battle all through this one against two more good teams, too. The guys battled hard all the way and it happened to work out for us.
“Our best players were our best players and we had great goaltending from Matt (Greenfield),” he added. “I always say, it comes down to good health, good luck and good goaltending—we’ve had all three.”
Heading into the final, there are no secrets left between the Warriors and Chiefs.
The teams have met three times in the last 10 days of the playoffs, with Chilliwack winning twice.
“They’re a good team,” Hope said. “We’ve seen them five times in all now, so there’s a little hate going for each other, but that’s good…it should be fun.
“You’ve got two big, fast teams with two good goaltenders, so it should be exciting hockey.”
Game 3 goes Saturday in Chilliwack, with Games 3 and 4 set for Monday and Tuesday night at Royal LePage Place.
Fred Page Cup schedule
West Kelowna Warriors vs Chilliwack Chiefs
Friday, April 15 @ Chilliwack
Saturday, April 16 @ Chilliwack
Monday, April 18 @ West Kelowna
Tuesday, April 19 @ West Kelowna
Friday, April 22 @ Chilliwack
Saturday, April 23 @ West Kelowna
Sunday, April 24 @ Chilliwack