Warriors draw first blood in interior semi
Adam Plant scored twice and assisted on three others and the West Kelowna Warriors established a club record with five power-play goals in one playoff game Tuesday as they opened their Interior Division playoff series with a convincing 5-1 win over the Vernon Vipers.
The five points for Plant was also a club record for points in a playoff game - and admittedly likely the first time he picked up five points in any game.
"Hopefully they keep coming (goals) but that's not my game this year, that's not my role," admits Plant.
"I'm happy to contribute offensively but my job is to shut down the other team. If I can contribute offensively once in a while, that's great."
It's a far different role from a year ago when Plant was used in more of an offensive role.
Seb Lloyd also scored twice for the Warriors while Carl Hesler added the other.
The difference was the power-play which clicked on all five of its opportunities.
Plant says they didn't do much Tuesday.
"We just kind of got our looks tonight. Hopefully it can continue but we can't depend on getting five power-play goals every night."
Warriors coach Rylan Ferster agreed.
"Obviously we capitalized on the power-play and got a couple of lucky bounces, fortuitous bounces right to guys - at this time of year I always say you need good health, good luck and good goaltending and I think we got some good luck tonight," says Ferster.
Hesler opened the scoring in the first period when David Pope's shot caromed off the end boards to Hesler who banked the puck off Vernon goaltender Austin Smith and into the net.
Plant made it 2-0 16 minutes into the second on a wrist shot from the point that alluded Smith. Three minutes later Lloyd banged home the 3-0 goal one-timing a perfect backdoor feed from Matt Anholt.
Plant and Lloyd scored their respective second goals of the night late in the third to seal the victory.
TJ Dumonceaux ruined Andy Desautel's shutout bid early in the third period when he sent a rebound past the Warriors netminder.
Smith turned aside 39 shots while Desautels faced 28 in the Warriors net.
The Warriors, who played with just 19 healthy bodies Tuesday lost another player to injury when forward Jason Cotton left with a lower body injury.
Ferster didn't know the extent of the injury immediately following the game.
The Warriors played Tuesday without forward Jordon Masters and defencemen Ryan Ivy and Taki Pantziris.
The Vipers may be without the services of forward Tyler Povelofskie for game two. Povelofskie was assessed a five minute charging penalty and game misconduct with just 3.1 second left on the clock.
Game two in the best-of-seven series goes Wednesday night at Royal LePage Place and Ferster says game one means nothing if the team can't back up the effort Wednesday.
"They are going to be better tomorrow night too. That's a proud group over there and a very good group and they can play," says Ferster.
"We have to expect they are going to be better tomorrow night and they are going to be hungrier. We have to make sure we prepare ourselves as good as we can again."
The series will then shift to Vernon for games three and four Friday and Saturday.
Penticton crushed Merritt 8-0 Tuesday in the opening game of the other Interior Division semi-final.
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