Warriors look to dispense Centennials

It's been nearly four months since the West Kelowna Warriors had more than a week off between games.

They can guarantee themselves just that Thursday night when they host the Merritt Centennials in game five of their best-of-seven Interior Division semi-final series.

The Warriors lead the series 3-1 after Tuesday's come-from-behind 3-2 win in Merritt in game four.

While the extended break would allow the Warriors to rest the bumps and bruises accumulated through the course of a very physical series, it's not something head coach Rylan Ferster is giving any thought to.

"I've tried not to look at that to be honest with you. Keep your eye on the prize and that's the fourth game," says Ferster.

"If you start doing that (thinking ahead) then you starting thinking about things you shouldn't. That's what we've tried to keep talking about (winning) four games, four games."

Ferster says playoffs are all about an opportunity to play again tomorrow.

"That's what we have - and so do they. Until that is eliminated, then you haven't won a thing. Playoffs are all about tomorrow, do you get to play tomorrow or don't you," says Ferster.

"We can end someone's season so we want to be able to move on."

Ferster agrees the Centennials have probably taken the play to the Warriors more than the other way around - especially during the two games in Merritt.

And, with their backs against the wall, he expects even more from Merritt during Thursday's fifth game.

That said, Ferster wants his group to be able to set the tempo right off the opening face-off Thursday.

"In an elimination game you would like your team to come out and not be defending the whole time. You have to expect their best but let's give them our best," says Ferster.

"You want to flip that around and not be the one defending wondering how hard are they going to play. They are going to play hard because how hard are you going to play if you knew you couldn't play tomorrow."

To do that, Ferster says the Warriors have to be prepared to get pucks deep, forecheck hard and hold the red line.

"They've played well throughout the series. They were a shot away from this being 2-2."

Defencemen Braxton Bilous and Ben Tegtmeyer are both out for Thursday's game with upper body injuries while forward David Pope could return to the lineup Thursday after leaving Friday's opening game of the series also with an upper body injury.

If the series goes beyond Thursday, game six would be played in Merritt Friday and, if necessary, game seven Sunday at Royal LePage Place.

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