Garrett James/BCHL                                Jared Marino and the West Kelowna Warriors will kick off a three-game island road trip Friday in Victoria.

Garrett James/BCHL Jared Marino and the West Kelowna Warriors will kick off a three-game island road trip Friday in Victoria.

Warriors open 2017 with five on the road

Battling injuries, West Kelowna heads to Vancouver Island for three BCHL games this weekend

Grappling with a handful of key injuries, the West Kelowna Warriors will open 2018 with five consecutive BCHL games on the road.

Rylan Ferster’s club will play three games in three nights this weekend on Vancouver Island—Friday in Victoria, Saturday in Nanaimo and Sunday at Alberni Valley.

“It’ll be a challenge, with the injuries we’re battling, but we can’t use that as an excuse,” said Warriors’ captain Jared Marino. “Three in three on the island, it’s a big weekend for us. We need to come together as a team and bring some wins back from there.”

The Warriors, missing five forwards from the lineup, closed out 2017 with a pair of losses to the division rival Smoke Eaters, 7-5 Friday in West Kelowna and 6-3 Saturday in Trail.

Matt Kowalski and Chase Stevenson will remain sidelined for this weekend’s trip, while three other players are on day-to-day recovery.

“Whoever we’re missing, we have to find a way to play through it,” said Marino of the Warriors who are 2-7-1 in their last 10 games. “We haven’t been playing terrible, just not up to the standard we’d like. We have enough good players in the room that we can still compete. Guys have to step up.”

The following weekend, Jan. 12 and 13, the Warriors (18-17-1-1) will be in Wenatchee for back-to-back games against the division rival Wild.

The Warriors next home action is Wednesday, Jan. 16 against the Vernon Vipers.

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