Warriors look for elusive win over Vernon

West Kelowna is 0-5 vs Vipers this season as the teams meet in BCHL action Friday at Royal LePage

Bennett Norlin (left) and the West Kelowna Warriors will battle Mitch Andres and the Vernon Vipers Friday at Royal LePage Place.                                -Image: Julie Pringle/Snap Photography

Bennett Norlin (left) and the West Kelowna Warriors will battle Mitch Andres and the Vernon Vipers Friday at Royal LePage Place. -Image: Julie Pringle/Snap Photography

With a month remaining in the regular season, the West Kelowna Warriors have yet to find a solution for the Vernon Vipers.

Rylan Ferster’s club will try again on Friday night when the teams face off for the sixth and last time at Royal LePage Place.

The Warriors (23-21-1-1) are 0-5 against the Vipers (29-12-1-4) this season.

“Vernon’s a great team, they’ve been at the top of league for most of the season,” said Warriors’ captain Jared Marino. “When we play them, we have to get a full 60-minute effort, we can’t take a shift off.

“You need to take time and space away from their top guys to give yourselves a chance to win.”

Since a 5-0 loss to Vernon on Jan. 16, the Warriors have won two of their last three games, including 5-0 over Coquitlam on Tuesday at Royal LePage. With several key players having returned from injuries and others nearing a return—Matt Kowalski and Chase Stevenson among them—Marino said with a dozen games left, the Warriors are headed in the right direction.

“We’re starting to get healthy at the right time, we’re getting close to having our whole lineup back and playing more like we’re capable of,” said Marino. “We maybe didn’t play our best against Salmon Arm (3-2 loss) but there were still parts of our game we like.

“We feel like we’re starting to get our game in order at the right time.”

The Warriors sit fifth in the Interior Division, 11 points back of Trail and six ahead of sixth-place Salmon Arm.

The Warriors will close out a four-game homestand Sunday at Royal LePage Place against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Game time is 2:30 p.m.

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