Warriors-Bandits showdown the latest in budding foe-mance

If teams from different leagues could be archrivals, the West Kelowna Warriors and Brooks Bandits would probably fit the bill based on the 2016 postseason alone.

Saturday’s RBC Cup semifinals see the teams meet for the fourth time in the past three weeks. Brooks leads the postseason set 2-1 so far. They scored the opening blow with a 4-2 win in round-robin play at the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup on May 1. West Kelowna answered back with a 6-0 in the WCC title game May 7 and Brooks got the upper hand again with a 5-1 victory in their first meeting at the RBC Cup.

Beyond that, emotions have boiled over at times, particularly in the round-robin meeting at the WCC where Warriors captain and Bandits goalie Garrett Hughson were both issued game misconducts in the third period for fighting.

Adding a layer to the intrigue is the fact that Warriors starting goalie Matthew Greenfield was lost to injury during that WCC game. Brooks was issued three separate goalie interference penalties in the contest with Bandits 6-foot-3, 210-pound forward Derek Lodermeier being shown the gate after his second-period infraction.

Greenfield reappeared in the Warriors most recent game, getting a somewhat-surprising start against the Carleton Place Canadians. The good news for West Kelowna is he looked solid, making 19 saves while playing all 60 minutes in a 4-1 win. The Warriors should be confident no matter who gets the assignment Saturday. Greenfield has recent game action under his belt and Keelan Williams has provided all the team could ask in a backup role, going 3-0 at the WCC and stopping all five attempts in Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout win over the Trenton Golden Hawks.

Saturday’s game is set for 6:30 p.m. Pacific time. The winner will advance to the RBC Cup Final to take on the winner of the Lloydminster Bobcats – Trenton Golden Hawks game which goes Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Pacific.

The RBC Cup final will be shown live nationally on TSN with puck drop set for 3 p.m. Pacific.