The West Kelowna Warriors have been in uncharted waters for some time now but so far, it hasn’t bothered them.
With the Fred Page Cup and Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup (WCC) titles in their bag already, this is the farthest into the postseason the franchise has ever gotten. Now, they’re set to face the field at the RBC Cup national championship tournament in Lloydminster, Alta. Just like in the WCC, the Warriors get the host club in their first game Saturday night when they take on the Lloydminster Bobcats at 6:30 p.m. Pacific.
While Jonathan Desbiens, Kylar Hope and Liam Blackburn have been the offensive catalysts most of the season, others have carried the torch more recently. Defenceman Nick Rutigliano led the team in scoring at the WCC with a goal and six helpers while West Kelowna native Brett Mennear went off for four goals and two helpers in the five games in Estevan, Sask.
Regular-season No. 1 goalie Matthew Greenfield is again considered day-to-day after sustaining an injury in the WCC in a game against the Brooks Bandits. In his stead, Keelan Williams has been nothing short of stellar, going 3-0 with a shutout and a .987 goals-against average at the WCC.
The Warriors will have to contend with Brooks once again at the RBC Cup as the Bandits grabbed the second berth into the national championship from the WCC. Also at the RBC Cup this year are the Trenton Golden Hawks from the Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Carleton Place Canadians of the Central Canadian Hockey League. Carleton Place is at their third consecutive RBC Cup.