Warriors healthy, rolling as playoffs near

For the first time since the first game of the season Rylan Ferster has some decisions to make.

The head coach of the West Kelowna Warriors will have to sit some healthy bodies Tuesday when the Warriors play host to the Vernon Vipers at Royal LePage Place.

While Ferster has 22 healthy bodies with which to choose from, he says he will use that health to fulfill team responsibilities to the league following last month's melee at the end of a game in Penticton.

"We have two floating suspensions so we are going to sit those guys," says Ferster referring to one game suspensions handed out to defenceman Dustin Cave and forward Brennan Clark.

Under league rules, those single game suspensions could be served at the team's discretion in the ake of several other multi-game suspensions levied at the same time.

With the return of David Pope (injury) and Braxton Bilous (suspension) the Warriors will still be in a position to ice a full squad.

"I think it was at the Showcase (in Chilliwack), Devon Hascarl had to sit the first game of the year. I think that's the only other time we had a decision," says Ferster.

As has been mentioned many times before, improving health has been one of the main reasons the Warriors have finally showed the promise expected of them from the opening game of the season.

The Warriors will skate into Tuesday's game 6-1-0-1 in February and a lofty 12-2-1-2 since January 1.

That run has allowed the Warriors to officially return to the playoffs and challenge the Merritt Centennials for second spot in the Interior Division.

The Warriors come into action this week five points in back of the second place Centennials.

The two teams meet in a home-and-home set this weekend. The Warriors also hold a game in hand which they will make up Tuesday.

Despite where they sit in the standings Ferster says the goal all along was the get into the playoffs.

Where they finished is secondary.

"Would I like to finish in first, yea. Am I losing any sleep over it, no. I'm a firm believer that if you are going to win in the playoffs you are going to have to win on the road at some point," says Ferster.

"Since they changed it so only the first four team make it, look who you have to play in the first round. I have never seen parity like there is now in the BC Hockey League which is great. There are no easy nights."

Ferster says regardless of where they or any other team finishes or who they play, two very good teams are going to be knocked out in round one.

Following Tuesday's game with the Vipers the Warriors close out the home portion of the regular season schedule Friday against Merritt.

They will wrap up the regular season the following weekend with a three game island road trip with stops in Victoria, Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo.

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