With its BCHL playoff hopes a fading reality, the Westside Warriors nearly gave themselves a highlight that would have erased a season that has had many trials and tribulatons.
Trailing 6-1 to Penticton after two periods of play on Saturday night, the Warriors appeared doomed to be Penticton’s 31st consecutive victim.
But against the league’s best defensive team, the Warriors scored four straight goals in the final stanza to push the Vees right to the brink.
Having closed the gap to 6-5, Westside’s valiant effort was finally thwarted when Penticton forward Joey Benik scored his third goal of the night into an empty net with 37 seconds remaining to clinch a 7-5 Vees triumph.
Max French led the Westside attack with a pair of goals, including one short-handed marker early in the second period and the 5th Westside goal – one which brought his squad to within one with 2:05 remaining.
Shawn Hochhausen, Marcus Basara, and Connor Dempsey also tallied for the Warriors.
Dwayne Rodrigue allowed 6 goals on 42 shots in defeat.
“We’re disappointed” said Max French after the short bus ride home. The Warriors’ Captain acknowledged some breakdowns from his team in the first two periods, but also felt that his team played a fairly complete game.
“Our third period, I thought we played some of the best hockey we’ve played all season. We took it to those guys” French says, adding “that’s the hardest we’ve worked all season. We played as a team.”
With the victory, the Vees sweep the 7-game season series over Westside and extend their BCHL-record winning-streak to 31 games.
The Warriors next action is Thursday in Trail.