West Kelowna is the 2015-16 BCHL Fred Page Cup champions.
The Warriors topped the Chilliwack Chiefs 4-2 Saturday night at Royal LePage Place to take the series and the title in six games.
Pressed into action when starting goalie Matthew Greenfield was sidelined in game five, backup Keelan Williams stopped 25 shots, backstopping his team to victory and catapulting them on to the Western Canadian Championship in Estevan, SK.
The Warriors wasted no time getting on the board.
Garrett Forster scored a power play goal just 1:57 into period one, leaning into a Jake Harrison feed and hammering the puck past Chilliwack keeper Aidan Pelino.
Chilliwack answered that one with a power play tally of their own.
Scott Allen gave them the man advantage when he put a head-lock on Chiefs D-man Olivier Arseneau in a post-whistle scrum. Ryan Giuttari launched a point shot that was stopped by West Kelowna’s Keelan Williams, but the goalie left the rebound sitting in the goal-mouth.
Ryan Forbes whacked away until it went in, giving the veteran forward his seventh of the post-season.
Kyle Marino has become a hated figure in Chilliwack for his physical, and often dirty, play. But the Warriors captain showed some skill to give his team a 2-1 lead. Marino jumped on an errant Chiefs pass, swooped in on goal and deftly flipped a backhand shot over Pelino’s blocker.
West Kelowna poured it on early in period two and only Pelino kept Chilliwack in the game.
On one dismal Chiefs power play they coughed up two shorthanded breakaways. Pelino thwarted Liam Blackburn with the blocker and forced Ryan Basilico to shoot wide, keeping his team within striking distance.
Pelino was at it again early in the third period, robbing Jonathan Desbiens on a chance in tight.
But the Chilliwack stopper couldn’t stop ‘em all, and the Warriors applied the dagger with a third period power play snipe by BCHL playoff scoring leader Kylar Hope.
The Chiefs lost track of the slippery forward until he took a pass from Blackburn and snapped the puck past Pelino for his 15th of the post-season.
Chilliwack had to go into full on gamble mode from that point, sending defencemen forward to join the play. But the strategy resulted in a two-on-none going the other way, and Desbiens scored the fourth Warrior goal on a pass across the slot from Brett Mennear.
Chiefs coach Jason Tatarnic pulled Pelino for the extra attacker with eight-plus minutes remaining.
Vimal Sukumaran scored on a sharp-angle shot at 11:55 to get his team within two.
When Marino high-sticked Rylan Bechtel, Chilliwack had the power play and a chance to get within one. They couldn’t cash in, with Williams making an eye-popping save on Chilliwack captain Jordan Kawaguchi.
Pelino came to the bench again with just over two minutes to go but the Chiefs never came close.
The packed arena was bedlam as the seconds ticked away and the Warriors won their first championship in team history.