Warriors dig in for two against rival Cents

West Kelowna and Merritt meet in home-and-home set beginning Friday at Royal LePage Place.

Captain Nicholas Rutigliano and the West Kelowna Warriors will host Zach Bleuler and the Merritt Centennials Friday in BCHL action.

With a mere six points separating second and sixth place, a team’s fate can change quickly in the BCHL’s Interior Division.

Particularly when division rivals meet head-to-head.

The West Kelowna Warriors (13-16-1-0) and Merritt Centennials (12-12-5-1) will both be looking to get some traction this weekend when they square off in a home-and-home set.

The clubs meet Friday, 7 p.m., at Royal LePage Place, then again Saturday at the Nicola Valley Arena in Merritt.

The teams have met just once so far this season, but Warriors’ veteran Conner Sodergren said secrets between the two rivals are few and far between.

“Obviously, we know a lot about each other, we’ve been watching video of them, so we know what to expect,” said Sodergren, who is second on the Warriors this season with 27 points.

“To play a team twice in a row, you know there’s going to be high intensity in that first game. That usually carries over to the second night, so it should be a battle between us.”

The Warriors sit sixth in the Interior Division, but have two games in hand on fifth-place Salmon Arm and are just three points back of fourth-place Centennials.

With considerable player movement on and off the roster and several key injuries, the 2016-17 season hasn’t unfolded quite the way the defending RBC Cup champs would have hoped.

Still, as the Warriors found out last season, there’s plenty of time left to right the ship.

“I think it all starts in practise, gelling with the guys and playing as a team,” said Sodergren. “New faces come and go, that’s part of it and you have to do the best you can.

“We have to keep working hard and just find ways to win. If we stick with it, it’ll happen.”