Through 91 games, regular season and playoffs combined, the West Kelowna Warriors have conquered every major challenge in front of them during the 2015-16 campaign.
Now, just two hurdles remain between Ryan Ferster’s club and national junior A hockey’s ultimate prize.
The Warriors are among four teams who will play on Saturday in the semifinals of the RBC Cup in Lloydminster, Alta./Sask.
The winners will meet in Sunday’s national championship game.
“The further you go, the bigger the games get and the harder they are to win,” said Ferster, the Warriors’ head coach and GM. “We’re facing elimination, it’s like Game 7 now and we have a maximum two games left in our season. It’s all come down to this and hopefully we can win those last two games.”
The Warriors qualified for the playoffs at the five-team tournament by posting a 3-1 record, their only loss coming to the Alberta junior league’s Brooks Bandits.
Semifinals match ups will be determined tonight following the completion of the round robin.
Like the BCHL playoffs and the Western Canada Cup before it, Ferster said the RBC Cup has been a true test of his club’s character and commitment.
“It hasn’t been an easy road,” Ferster said. “From teams like Salmon Arm, Penticton, Chilliwack, to Brooks, and now the ones here (in Lloydminster) it’s just been a battle all the way. The guys remain focused and it’s business as usual.
“Any one of the four teams left is a contender,” Ferster said of the remaining clubs. “They’re all very good teams and are here for a reason.”
As for spending the better part of three weeks in Saskatchewan—first in Estevan for the WCC, and now in Lloydminster—Ferster couldn’t be much more positive about the entire experience.
“I grew up playing in this rink (Lloydminster), I love the way it looks, the way they have it set up, it’s pretty special,” said Ferster, who is from Prince Albert, Sask. “We’ve been really lucky, people have looked after so well since we got to Saskatchewan, in both cities. It’s just been a great experience for our guys.
“Now hopefully we can finish it the right way.”
The RBC Cup final is set for Sunday at 3 p.m. Pacific time. The game will be broadcast live on TSN.