Ice Rockets soar in Okanagan North Super League

Lakeside Accuprint Thunder
Lakeside Accuprint Thunder's Owen Palfreyman (left) slams into Denny's Ice Rockets' Zack Funk in an attempt to knock him off the puck in Okanagan North Atom Super Hockey League action Sunday at Priest Valley Arena.
— image credit: Natalia Vignola/Morning Star

Denny’s Ice Rockets appear primed for the Okanagan North Atom Super Hockey League playoffs.

The rising Ice Rockets swamped the host Sicamous Predators 12-1 and grounded Lakeside Accuprint Thunder 6-2 last weekend, moving to fifth place at 9-7-2.

Sicamous celebrated early as Madison Dewitt sunk the Predators’ first shot, but it was all Vernon after that. Sapien Joe (2+1) burned the Sicamous dee to the outside on two scoring plays in the first, tying the game with a blocker-side missile, and later centering to Shaun Huizinga for a point-blank one-timer.

Eric Foufoulas stopped a 2-on-0 before the break, and made a spectacular diving glove save in the second.

Zac Funk (3+1) orchestrated Vernon’s next three markers, setting up Maddex Minard on the doorstep, and then scoring twice himself. Funk’s second, after an outside-inside move at the blueline, made it 5-1 early in the third.

Bailey Alexis, with some determined board work, freed the puck for Ben Reinhardt (2G), who crossed the zone and whipped it high.

Vernon rearguard Liam Remple (3+1) scored on each of his three shots in the final period. Both Remple and Zac Funk completed their hat tricks in the last two minutes.

Rocket goalie Teja Sheldrake was perfect in relief, his finest save coming on a Dewitt breakaway. Sheldrake’s half-game shutout was his second in his last three games.

At Priest Valley Arena on Sunday, the Thunder took a 1-0 lead into the second, but Joe answered seconds in, taking a Huizinga pass and burying a wrister off the right wing.

Liam Reid then fed Joe, who dangled through the Thunder defence and netted a backhander on the glove side. Next, Reilly Teager stole the puck behind the Thunder net and swiftly centered to Funk, who buried a one-time snapper.

Down 3-1, the Thunder struck back as Jackson Soucy found a wide-open Owen Palfreyman for his second of the game. In the dying seconds of the period, Reilly Teager converted a rebound by Joe.

In the third, Chris Reinhardt forced a turnover in the Thunder end, and Ben Reinhardt swooped in, ripping a low shot home. Reid wrapped things up with a roof job after going coast to coast.

In Pee Wee Super League play, the Butcher Boys Titans came up big with back-to-back wins with the playoffs on the horizon.

The Titans (9-6-2) rallied to stop the Salmon Arm Tiger Sharks 7-4 Saturday at the Shaw Centre.

Sean Howard and Tyson Sampert scored early in the game and the Tiger Sharks came back hard and held a 4-2 early lead in the third. Talon Williams pulled Butcher Boys within one, and Landen Harison equalized before Williams put the Titans ahead. Singles from Dakota Becker and Christ Aldrich iced the game.

Williams kept up his scoring surge by completing his first career hat trick with a nifty deke on a penalty shot Sunday as the Titans slammed host Sicamous 8-0.

High fives followed a great team effort to set Emily Wilson Francois up with her first-ever goal. The Titans then rallied to help Mac Gilchrist, who’s been stellar on the blueline, move up to forward and get his first league goal of the season.

Harison had a deuce and Nicolas Hartwig banged in a rebound for Butcher Boys. Tyson Sampert and Miles Wohlford played key roles in moving from forward to defence in both games.

The Bannister GM Flames upended the Stevenson Mechanical Blues 6-4 in Pee Wee play Sunday at PV.

Goalie Erik Urquhart recorded his finest game of the season and Nick Mitchell scored twice to spark the Flames (10-5-2). Ever-improving winger Aaron Jodoin pocketed 1+2 for the Flames, other goals coming from Chase Batchelor, Reece Hawthorne and Jacob Brewer.

Carter Morris was stellar on defence.

Reid Lawrence supplied 2+1 for the Blues (10-4-3) and was stopped by Urquhart on two breakaways. Zack Laranjo and Braydie Allan-Webber added singles in support of Dylan Blazek and Sam Knox.

Finn O’Keefe counted 4+3 as the Sub City Donair Devils downed the Salmar Classic Titans 8-3 in Salmon Arm.

Brogan Houston, Chapperon Chillihitzia, Cameron Work and Seb Wenger each had 1+1 for the 13-2-1 Devils. Hustling d-man Adam Raber also had one helper, while Dalton Stenberg earned a shutout in his half.

In Bantam action, the Interior Savings Flyers clinched the regular-season title by toppling the Five Star Awards Bulldogs 6-2 Saturday night at Civic Arena and tying the DCT Chambers Coyotes 3-3 Sunday at PV.

Adam Roemer (4), Jake Pelletier (1+2) and Brendan Horsfield scored for the Flyers (15-1-1) Saturday. Mac Gourdine and Pee Wee call-up Nick Mitchell replied for the Bulldogs (5-11), who also summoned d-man Cody Webb from Pee Wee.

The Flyers got two goals from Roemer, one off a great feed by captain Cole Bradley, and a single from Keefer Kaempf. Parker Wadsworth, Dex Elders and Cole Martin, with the late equalizer, replied for DCT (14-2-2).

The Scotiabank Lightning stretched their undefeated streak to nine by bouncing the North Broadview Plumbing and Heating Flyers 8-2 Sunday in Salmon Arm.

Power forward Landon Currie registered a natural hat trick in the early minutes for the 12-3-2 Bolts before the Flyers (3-12-2) responded. Sam Frisby (1+2) set up Cam MacKenzie for the 4-1 goal before using some smooth dangles for the Bolts’ fifth snipe. Brett Lambert and Sam Eggert (1+3) made it 7-2 Scotiabank.

Salmon Arm enjoyed a flurry of chances against Lightning goalie Isaac Waldemaras (who dropped his stick) and set up a beauty one-timer at the left side of the net, but Waldemaras slid cross-crease and made an all-planet save. Lambert and Eggert set up Jed Halvorson for the Lightning’s final goal.

Corbett Office Supply Spartans tied host Salmon Arm Lakeside Printing 2-2 Saturday.

Kevin Sullivan scored on a deflection in the first and then Alex Laurila salvaged the tie in the third with a great wrap-around goal. The Spartans are 4-10-2.

Sean Conners earned 4+1 as the Talon Benefits Hawks ambushed the Winfield Bruins 9-3 in Midget league play Sunday night at Civic.

Landen Ehnes (2), Justin Mitchell (1+2), Jeff Hiscoe and Lucas Mitchell also scored for the Hawks (13-3-1). Landon Munk had four helpers against the 1-16 Bruins.

The Hawks had just seven skaters in a 3-2 loss to the North Okanagan Knights Saturday afternoon at Nor-Val Sports Centre. Conners and Chase Larsen countered for the Hawks.

The Vernon Tim Hortons Panthers overcame an early deficit to beat the Kamloops Titans 7-5 in exhibition Novice action Sunday morning at Nor-Val Sports Centre.

Jace Weir (3), Adam Bourgeois (2+1), Bennett Kuhnlein and Seth Maglio had the Panther snipes.

The Gorman Brothers Lumby Initiation Stars played three hard games in the Westside Game On Winter Classic.

Net detectives Jonah Lee and Donovan Wilson sparkled as the Stars opened against the Kelowna Kings. Grady Krause was flying for the Stars, getting denied on two breakaway chances before clicking on another for his first of two snipes. James Wraight, with a hard-nosed goal in the slot, and Colton Young, with a beauty wrister, also scored.

Ben Currie was stellar in goal as the Stars battled the Kelowna Blackhawks. Young netted two goals, while Krause had one.

After a super night swimming, eating pizza and playing knee hockey in the hotel, the Stars finished action Sunday morning versus the Westside Wolverines. Krause bagged two quick goals, while Ryan James, from Hunter Adams, and Wraight, from Lee, had the others.

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