The West Kelowna Warriors avoided playoff elimination after gutsy, near perfect 2-1 overtime win over the Penticton Vees Tuesday night.
West Kelowna came into the game down 0-3 in the first round of the BCHL playoffs and came out with their best game of the series as they fought for their post-season lives. Grit was shown by the hometeam who battled back from a 1-0 deficit to force overtime and force game five against the Vees Wednesday night.
“Great performance up and down the line-up and we got a great win and now we need to prepare for tomorrow,” said Warriors assistant coach Ayrton Nikkel.
In the lowest scoring game of the series, it was a battle of the two goalies with West Kelowna’s Johnny Derrick and Penticton’s Yaniv Perets keeping their respective teams in it by being the best players on the ice. But, it was West Kelowna’s Tyler Cristall who would beat Perets for the game-winning goal in overtime.
After nearly escaping the first period with a clean sheet, it was a Warriors’ mistake in the dying minutes of the first period that led to Penticton’s Lukas Sillinger grabbing his first goal of the post-season to give the Vees a 1-0 lead.
After the first goal, the Warriors tightened things up on defence; eliminating the turnovers and committing no penalties.
West Kelowna’s Ryan Novecosky scored the Warriors’ biggest goal of the season nearly five minutes into the third period to tie the game 1-1 and prolong their potential elimination from the playoffs.
The Warriors and Vees would go back and forth throughout the third, trading shots, hits, chances and momentum but the game would head to overtime as Derrick and Perets kept the game tied by making 11 and 13 saves respectively.
Less than four minutes into overtime, Warriors’ captain Jake Harrison made a play to keep the puck in the Vee’s zone and the puck ended up on Tyler Cristall’s stick who make no mistake to blast it past Perets and give the Warriors the win and bring the series to 3-1.
Penticton head coach Fred Harbinson said ahead of the game that they knew the Warriors were not going to quit.
As a result, the Vees missed out on the chance for the series sweep and will host the Warriors for game five Wednesday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
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