Kamloops Lions eliminate Midget Vipers

Kenny Batke of the Vernon Home Building Centre Vipers drives to the net against Eric Heichert of the North Kamloops Lions in the Okanagan Mainline Midget Tier 1 hockey playoffs Saturday at Civic Arena.  - Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star
Kenny Batke of the Vernon Home Building Centre Vipers drives to the net against Eric Heichert of the North Kamloops Lions in the Okanagan Mainline Midget Tier 1 hockey playoffs Saturday at Civic Arena.
— image credit: Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star

The North Kamloops Lions stopped the visiting Vernon Home Building Centre Vipers 4-2 Sunday night at Memorial Arena to win the Okanagan Mainline Midget Tier 1 Hockey League semifinal series 2-1.

The Lions came out on a tear and grabbed a 3-0 lead early in the second period. The Vipers responded with two goals by first-year centre Blaine Caton, with the helpers going to Richard Meaney, Logan Geefs and Travis Sexsmith in support of Bruin Stair.

North Kamloops snuck another one in on a defensive zone breakdown. Jackson Scott, Joe Falsetta, Jacob Coelho and Adam Struch scored for the Lions, who had Nolan Munden in goal.

Vernon took a 4-0 lead and hung on for an 8-5 victory in lightning-fast Game 2 before 400 fans Saturday at Civic Arena.

The line of Curtis Sexsmith (3+1), Wyatt Warnes (1+3) and Jacob Dolinar (5A) jumpstarted the Vipers with the opening four goals in front of Jayden Campbell. Logan Geefs (2+1) started the next round of scoring with Caton (2A) and Travis Churchill on the assists. Chad Thomas and captain Richard Meaney rounded out the scoring with Austin Garrington and Cole Woodliffe getting the helpers.

Struch, with two, Scott, Falsetta and Brody Moorman scored for the Lions. Riley Woodland and Munden split the goaltending.

“It was a great season for the boys overall,” said head coach Robert Spraggs, assisted by Scott Flood, Mike Burke and Jason Silzer. “We knew that allowing the guys to go up and be part of the Junior B programs might hurt our team chemistry a bit, but I never imagined we would have such trouble scoring.

“We had 12 players AP’d at the Junior B level and they played a combined 31 KIJHL games. That’s pretty impressive for a Vernon Midget team.

“Every player on this team now has the skills they need to chase their hockey dreams. It’s just a little unfortunate we couldn’t put it all together for a long playoff run.”

The Sladen Moore Lakers and Kamloops Royal Purple Mystix are going to the deciding Game 3 in their Okanagan Bantam A Female semifinal series.

The Lakers rallied to stop Kamloops 2-1 in overtime Saturday at Civic Arena before losing 3-1 Sunday at Kamloops Memorial Arena.

The Sladen Moore crew, who had given up one goal to Kamloops all season, went down early in the series opener before rugged winger Samantha Head equalized late in the third on a goal-mouth scramble.

Playing shorthanded in overtime, Mairyn Tucker converted a nice pass from Emily Clarke on a two-on-one break. Maya Baker was sensational in net as the pesky Mystix, who had just nine skaters, enjoyed several solid scoring chances.

In Game 2, the Lakers took the early lead with a great second-effort goal by Jenna Fletcher. Kamloops levelled the score on a strange bounce off a Lakers’ player before adding two more snipes.

The Lakers had trouble with the relentless forechecking by Kamloops and when they had scoring chances, Mystix goalie Sydney Carter stoned them.

Game 3 goes Sunday, 12:15 p.m., at Civic.

In Senior Atom Development play, the Vernon H&L Glass Wolfpack swept the Kelowna Hawks in a home-and-home, 10-3 Saturday at Wesbild Centre and 7-2 Sunday in Kelowna.

Ben King supplied five goals and Logan Chapdelaine added a deuce for the Pack in the first game. Other Vernon offence came from Lucas Zubrod (1+4) Steel Quiring and Ben Imrich.

In Kelowna, the H&L Glass crew got four goals from Trevor Kennedy, 2+2 from King and 1+2 from Imrich. Goaltending duties were split between Cayden Hamming and Tanner Witt.

The Valley Wood Remanufacturing Venom kept their unbeaten streak alive Sunday at Wesbild with a 7-0 win over Kamloops #1.

Gavin Medema and Scott Gilowski led the charge with two goals each while singles went to Brayden Szeman, Cameron Moger and Coletyn Boyarski. Owen Swiscoski and Kobe Grant shared the goaltending duties for the shutout.

The playoff tournament goes March 1-3 in Penticton.

The Coca-Cola Midget Vipers iced Winfield Bruins 6-1 and stuffed the Summerland Jets 11-1 in exhibition games as they prepare for the Tri-Cities tournament this weekend in Washington State.

The Bruins spoiled Liam McOnie’s shutout bid with 18 seconds left. Jeff Bochon led the Coke crew with 2+1, while singles were added by Hayden Chase, Lee Springer, Jordan Rea and Scott Latwat, shorthanded.

Evan Campagnolo went the distance in goal Sunday with Jordan Rea netting 3+2 and Mitchell Lukacs supplying 2+3. Bochon had two goals and one helper.

Conor Payne and Dustin Copeland each had 1+2, while Brandon Rysen and Conor Butte-Landsfried also scored.

The Sun Valley Source For Sports Tier 2 Renegades went 3-1 at a Bantam Rep tourney in Williams Lake. Playoffs were cancelled Sunday as city workers set up picket lines.

The Renegades iced the Pursuit of Excellence 5-0, drubbed Dawson Creek 10-1, lost 6-2 to Williams Lake and ambushed Abbotsford 9-2.

Goalie Kieran Watts, Jarett Campbell, Eamonn Miller and Bryce Pyle picked up MVP honours, while Jagger Williamson led the offence with 5+3. Kaden Black added 3+3, while Matt Kowalski earned 2+3, Campbell had 2+2 and Brady Marzocco pocketed 1+4.

The Fix Auto Vikings won all three of their exhibition games in Bantam Tier 3 action.

The Vikes opened with a 3-1 win over the Westside Warriors 3-1 in front of Conor Webb and Ethan Huizinga. Stephane Richard, Kyle Sherwood and Connor Johnston handled the offence.

The Fix It gang brushed back the Penticton Jr. Vees 5-1 with Richard (1+3), Carl Main, call-up Brett Lambert, Jason Shaigec and Johnston supplying the offence.

Vernon capped the weekend by grounding Kelowna Tier 4 Rockets 5-2 on two goals apiece from Owen Beliveau and Richard, and one from Main.

The North Okanagan Pee Wee Tier 4 Knights tied the Kamloops Tomahawks 6-6 and toppled the Vernon Nixon Wenger Tier 3 Rattlers 6-4 in exhibition play.

Matt Dolinar (2+1), Griffin Evans (1+4), Alex Gilowski, Matt Dolinar and Eli Dwyer scored in the tie, while Dwyer, Dolinar, Wes Graves, Gilowski, Mike Kormany and Kord Haller had snipes in the victory. Gavin Fleck (2), Cory Lazar and Aidan Rysen replied for the Rattlers.

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