Tropics earn Spokane silver
The Vernon Authentic Plaque and Trophy Tropics won four games, including a semifinal thriller, and earned the runner-up trophy at the Spokane Midget Young American Days Tournament last weekend.
The Tropics placed second in the 14-team round-robin, full-contact hockey tourney at 3-0 and originally qualified for the final against the first-place Spokane Asphalt Products, but a last-minute schedule change forced the Tropics to face the third-place Seattle Eagles in a Sunday-morning semifinal.
After a thrilling 4-3 shootout victory over the Eagles, the Tropics bowed 5-4 to the well-rested home team in the final.
The Tropics were down 2-0 after one but stormed back with three goals in the second by Mitchell Cousins, Russell Hickman and Connor Smidt. Spokane scored twice to regain the lead before Hickman scored on a great individual effort to bring Vernon within one. The Tropics pulled goalie Luke Vandale in a desperate attempt to tie it.
Rowyn Lewis-Hatherly scored the decisive goal in the shootout against Seattle, after Hickman scored on the first attempt. Vandale stopped four of five Seattle shooters and was sharp in OT.
Seattle equalized with 12 seconds left and their goalie on the bench. Lucas Mitchell, from Lewis-Hatherley, Cameron Strike, from Brett Vandale, and Hickman, on a penalty shot with 2:50 remaining, scored for the Tropics in the fast-skating affair.
In round-robin action, the Tropics squashed the Spokane Killer Watermelons 13-1, stopped the Tri-Cities Thundercats 5-2 and tripped up the Spokane Hurricanes 7-5.
Travis Webster turned the hat trick against the Watermelons, with Brock Wagner, Hickman and Lewis-Hatherley each scoring a pair. Singles went to Brett Vandale, Logan Revell, Mitchell and Smidt.
Strike led Vernon with 2+1 against the Thundercats. Cousins, Hickman and defenceman Russell Negraiff also connected.
The Tropics bounced back from a 5-3 second-period deficit to beat the Hurricanes. Webster scored his second of the game into an empty net for the insurance marker while Hickman also potted a pair. Singles went to Revell, Wagner and Strike.
In Midget Super League action, the Talon Benefits Ajax upended the North Okanagan Knights 5-2 before losing 8-6 to the KT’s Pizza Thunder.
D-man Layne Greene pulled the hat trick against the Knights, while Brenden Zupp added 1+2 and Gavin Opp also scored. Tyler Yawney and Clay Coles shared the win.
Greene, Adam Tyk and Dallas Zupp each scored twice as the 9-3-3 Ajax lost to the 7-5-1 Thunder. Aaron Kerryluke and Bradlee Jones each pocketed a pair of helpers.
The Knights rebounded by doubling the Corbett Office Plus Cowboys 4-2 Sunday with Sam Whitelaw and Jeremy Clark scoring for the 4-9-1 Cowboys.
The Vernon Machine Vipers earned bronze in the Chuck Mantello Memorial Bantam Rep Tournament in Tri Cities, Wa. by stopping the hosts 6-2 on Martin Luther Day Monday.
Austin Derkach (2), Brian Ferguson, Richard Thompson, Josh DeCoffe and Zach Manton handled the Vipers’ offence.
Vernon stopped the hosts 8-4 in their opener with Austin Dixon getting the winner and Kaden Black bagging a deuce. The Vipers then bounced the Boise, Idaho Hawks 7-1 with Jarett Campbell supplying 2+1.
On Sunday, Vernon fell 4-2 to Montana’s Missoula Bruins and lost leading scorer Dixon to a broken collar bone shortly after he scored.
Later Sunday, the Vipers bowed 4-1 to Boise in the semifinal. Thompson scored for Vernon on a pass by Bryton Stead. The Vipers lost Bryce Pyle to a broken wrist after he crashed into the boards.