The West Kelowna Warriors did not go down without a fight in their first round match-up against the high-flying Penticton Vees.
In a 5-4 overtime loss Wednesday night, it was the Vees coming out on top in the BC Hockey League Interior Division quarter-final playoff game to eliminate the Warriors in five games.
Penticton defenceman Cason Kosobud’s first goal of the series proved to be the game winner just over two minutes into the first sudden death overtime period to lift the Vees to the win over the Warriors at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton.
With the victory, the Vees clinched the best-of-seven series 4-1. Their only loss came the night before as the Warriors fought to a 2-1 overtime win.
The Warriors Carter Wilkie opened the scoring in the first period. West Kelowna’s John Evans notched a short-handed shot past Penticton netminder Yaniv Perets to start the second period before Levi Stauber netted his first goal of the playoffs to give the Warriors a 3-2 lead going into the final 20 minutes.
In the third, the Vees’ Colton Kalezic scored a shorthanded goal of his own just over a minute in before Warriors’ captain Jake Harrison tallied to restore the one goal lead.
West Kelowna was leading 4-3 in the dying minutes of the third period, but the Vees’ Jackson Niedermayer scored the game-tying goal with just over a minute to go in the game to force overtime and ultimately lead to Penticton’s victory.
As they did throughout the series, the Vees dominated in the shots-on-goal department. Penticton fired 42 shots on Warriors’ goalie Johnny Derrick while Perets was tested just 18 times.
The Vees will now await the winner of the Vernon Vipers and Wenatchee Wild series, where the Vipers have a 3-1 series lead.
West Kelowna’s season comes to end, but the win on home ice Tuesday night and the fight shown Wednesday night show that the rebuilding Warriors’ program has taken steps in the right direction.
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