Warriors crucial home test

The West Kelowna Warriors need to run the table, and get a lot of help if they have designs on getting home ice advantage in the opening round of the BCHL playoffs.

The Warriors sit sixth in the Interior Division, five points in arrears of the fourth place Vernon Vipers, with just three games left in the regular season.

The fifth place Salmon Arm Silverbacks are four ahead, while the late-charging Trail Smoke Eaters sit just a point back.

The run to the playoffs for the Warriors begins Tuesday night when they entertain the Merritt Centennials.

After dropping three straight to their division rivals, the Warriors have won the last two head-to-head meetings, the most recent, a 4-3 overtime win a little more than a month ago.

However, of late, the two teams are pulling in opposite directions.

The Warriors have lost six of their last seven, a run that has seen them fall from fourth to sixth in the Interior, while the Centennials have won six of their last seven, pulling to within two points of the division-leading Penticton Vees.

Tuesday's game is a potential first round playoff preview but, with things tight at the top and the bottom of the standings, playoff match-ups won't be decided until the final games involving Interior Division teams are concluded Saturday night.

The Warriors finish the regular season with a home-and-home set with Trail beginning Friday at Royal LePage Place.

The playoffs begin March 1.

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