Jon Zacks

March 20, 2013, West Kelowna, BC (ISN) – Reid Simmonds scored the winner early in the third period as the Warriors earned a 3-2 victory in Merritt on Tuesday to take charge of their first-round series.

Simmonds converted a 2-on-1 four minutes into the final frame to give the Warriors their first lead of the game.

And after a strong surge from the Centennials throughout the first two periods, the Warriors were able to effectively fend-off Merritt for the rest of regulation and hang on for a critical win.

“It was just a nice play by Brennan Clark” Simmonds says of his first goal of the playoffs. “He just burned the defenceman wide and dished it in front for me” he describes. “I just tapped it in.”

Matt Anholt opened the scoring with a short-handed marker eight minutes into game four. Marcus Basara also converted a wild scramble with less than a minute remaining in the second period.

Tyler Martin (PP) and Brendan Lamont replied for Merritt, with Lamont named the third star of the night.

Reid Simmonds earned second star honours, but immediately deflected credit to first-star Tyler Briggs for holding the Warriors in the game, especially early on.

After dropping game three 4-3 in Merritt, Simmonds says his team found success by playing simpler hockey in game four. “Briggsy was amazing both games for us” he says, adding “We just got a little bit of luck, and it worked out for us.”

With the win, the Warriors now lead the best-of-seven 3 games to 1, with game five scheduled for Thursday evening at Royal LePage Place.

While game four wasn’t quite as physical as the previous three contests in the series, Simmonds knows the Warriors have a great opportunity to end the series promptly on home ice.

“We’re just looking to seal it now” Simmonds grins. “There are a lot of guys who are banged-up right now, and I’m sure there’ll be a lot of guys hopping in the ice-bath tomorrow.”

Visit The General’s Report throughout the playoffs for in-depth coverage of the West Kelowna Warriors.