The Merritt Centennials scored three second period power-play goals and hung on for a 4-3 victory over the West Kelowna Warriors Monday in game three of their best-of-seven Interior Division semi-final.
The Warriors still lead the series two games to one with game four Tuesday night in Merritt.
After a scoreless first period in which the Warriors were forced to kill off four minor penalties, including 39 seconds of five-on-three the Centennials got the special teams going.
Regan Soquila and Derek Huisman scored power-play goals 52 second apart early in the second period to stake the Centennials to a 2-0 lead.
Dylan Chanter also beat Tyler Briggs on a Merritt power-play in the second, a goal which put Merritt up 3-1.
Ambrose Firkus on a slick feed from Matthew Berry and Marcus Basara on a later Warriors power-play scored in the middle frame for West Kelowna.
After a momentum changing 61 second five-on-three penalty kill early in the third period Daniel Gayle scored his second of the post season to pull the Warriors even at 3-3.
But, just a minute later, Jeff Wight banged home a rebound after Briggs made a tremendous blocker save to put the Centennials up for good.
The Warriors were able to get Briggs to the bench in the final minute but couldn't generate the equalizer.
Merritt finished the night 3-9 with the man advantage - the Warriors were 1-4.
West Kelowna had a chance to get the early jump after Payton Schaefer was handed a five minute major for connecting with Braxton Bilous' head late in the first, however, the Warriors were unable to capitalize.
On the post game broadcast associate coach Brent Gough says the team didn't do a good job of getting to the front of the net as much as they needed to.
"It's playoff hockey. You have to be ready to play," says Gough.
"A few of the guys weren't ready to play."
The game was extremely physical from start to finish and Gough stated in a small building like Merritt you're going to get hit.
"You have to be ready for that."
The nastiness of the first three games spilled over near the end of the contest.
Josh Monk and Brendan Lamont got into one fight while Seb Lloyd and Soquila got into another scrap with just 20 seconds left on the clock.
All four were handed game misconducts as well.
The Centennials win means there will be a fifth game in this series Thursday night back at Royal LePage Place.