A comeback of major proportions Tuesday night kept the West Kelowna Warriors alive in the BCHL Interior Conference final.
Now the Warriors will look extend their season into the weekend as they visit the Penticton Vees Thursday night in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series.
Face off is 7 p.m. at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
The Warriors, trailing three games to one, face the task of having to win three consecutive games against the defending BCHL and national junior A champs.
“It’s pretty straightforward,” said Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster. “We won a game we had to win, now we have to go out there and find a way to win another. Let’s go out there and win a shift and then go from there. Playoffs is so much about momentum, how quickly it can come and how quickly you can lose it. We’ve lived to fight another day.”
On Tuesday, the Warriors stared down elimination with a dramatic come-from-behind 5-4 win in overtime. Reid Simmons notched the game winner at 16:39 of the extra period.
Trailing 4-1 after two periods, West Kelowna looked to be down and out but rallied with three third-period goals, including the tying marker from captain Max French at 14:26.
While Ferster wasn’t certain what the end result would be, he had the utmost confidence his club would battle to the final whistle.
“We’ve said from day one, this is a character group that works hard,” Ferster said. “We knew they wouldn’t quit, they’ve been like that all year. Full marks to the guys, when you’re down 4-1 and come back against that team, you have to have character.”
The Warriors are nursing their share of bumps and bruises heading into Game 5, but Ferster said sore bodies are an inevitable byproduct of playoff hockey.
“We were laughing about it the other day, saying that if you’re not hurt at this time of year, you’re probably not playing hard enough. That’s the reality of playoff hockey.”
If the Warriors win on Thursday, Game 6 would be played Friday night at Royal LePage Place.