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Junior hockey: West Kelowna Warriors, Vernon Vipers to face off in Okanagan Cup semifinal

Click to play video 'Junior hockey: West Kelowna Warriors, Vernon Vipers to face off in Okanagan Cup semifinal' Junior hockey: West Kelowna Warriors, Vernon Vipers to face off in Okanagan Cup semifinal
Junior hockey: West Kelowna Warriors, Vernon Vipers to face off in Okanagan Cup semifinal – Nov 10, 2020

After a dozen preseason games against Penticton  Vernon and Salmon Arm, the West Kelowna Warriors appear to be a team on the rise.

“I thought we brought good energy, good pace,” said Warriors head coach Simon Ferguson, whose team finished in second place in preseason Interior Division standings at 7-4-0-1.

“We’re playing well in our defensive zone and scoring some goals.”

Ferguson is counting on his team to keep that up as they take on Vernon in pre-season ‘playoff action’ this weekend.

The Okanagan Cup is an effort to crown the best team in the Valley during this year’s extended BCHL preseason schedule.

On Friday, West Kelowna will host Vernon (3-6-1-2) in one semifinal, with Penticton (11-1-0-0) hosting Salmon Arm (3-8-1-0) in the other.

The winners advance to Saturday’s winner-take-all final.

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As for facing Vernon, Ferguson said “they’ve made some changes through this exhibition series; we seen them get a lot better.”He added “they’re always going to play hard and we just need to match that intensity.”West Kelowna, however, will have a not-so-secret weapon on Friday as they battle the Snakes: towering forward Jack Finley, who is on loan to the Warriors until Dec. 20 from the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs.“It’s been great so far. I was really grateful to get this opportunity,” said Finley, “because there are a lot of guys around Kelowna and Canada that don’t have an opportunity to play right now.”
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After only two games, the 6-foot-5 and 207-pound Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick made has made himself at home in the BCHL.In his league debut on Friday against Salmon Arm, Finley notched a goal and an assist as West Kelowna edged the Silverbacks 3-2.“The size is a little bit smaller I think than the Western League,” Finley said.Look for Finley to use his size to dominate the Vipers as the Warriors have done during the preseason, winning all four exhibition matches.“Friday night will be a good test, Vernon is a very good team,” said Warriors captain Wyllum Deveaux.“Some early season playoff hockey.”
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