Warriors tuning up for playoffs

With the final week of the B.C. Hockey League regular season upon them, the Westside Warriors know who they will be playing in the playoffs.

With the final week of the B.C. Hockey League regular season upon them, the Westside Warriors know who they will be playing in the playoffs.

The only thing still to be decided is who will have home ice advantage in the Warriors first round playoff series with the Trail Smoke Eaters.

The Warriors earned five out of six points on a three game road trip to Quesnel and Prince George on the weekend, catapulting them past the Smoke Eaters into fourth place in the BCHL Interior Conference, one point ahead of Trail and still with a game in hand.

The Warriors have three games remaining in their season, beginning tonight in Penticton (7 p.m. South Okanagan Events Centre) while Trail plays twice to close out the season.

“If we win our three games we get home ice advantage,” said Warriors coach Darren Yopyk.

“Home ice is not necessary but we want to have it and we want to start playing our best heading into playoffs.”

On the surface, the match-up with the Smokies seems favourable for the Warriors: Westside won all five meetings with the Smoke Eaters this season.

“Playoffs are a new year and they are a very good hockey club,” said Yopyk.

“They’re an experienced group.”

While the BCHL playoffs open up Friday, March 25, there is still three games remaining in the regular season for Westside.

Following tonight’s game in Penticton, the Warriors close out the regular season at home this weekend, hosting Quesnel on Friday and Prince George on Saturday at Royal LePage Place.

“It’s not much different than any other weekend,” said Yopyk. “We still have some work to do and we want home ice advantage.”

•••

The Kelowna Chiefs opened the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoffs Monday night on a losing note as they hosted the Princeton Posse in the first round of the KIJHL playoffs.

The Chiefs opened the scoring on a Jordan Wood power play goal five minutes into the first period but allowed two goals by Princeton before the period was over en route to a 6-4 loss to Princeton.

PJ Lawler, Branden Redschlag and Dane Rupert also scored for the Chiefs.

Game two was Tuesday night in Rutland. Due to the Capital News press deadline results of the second game were unavailable.

The series now shifts to Princeton for games three and four on Thursday and Friday and will be back in Rutland on Saturday night for game five, if necessary.

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