Morning Star Staff
They play at Rogers Arena tonight during an intermission of the Vancouver Canucks-Minnesota Wild hockey game.
Before boarding the bus this morning, the Stars tied the first-place North Okanagan #1 Knights 2-2 Monday night after icing the red-hot North Okanagan #2 Knights 3-2 and outlasting the Bannister Chev Heat 8-6 in weekend Pee Wee Super Hockey League playoff action.
Sponsored by Green Velvet Lawn and Tree Care and Kineshanko Logging, the second-place Stars have proven that no matter what challenges are put in their way, hard work and teamwork can prevail.
After losing their goaltender Michael Preston to a concussion, losing top spot on a tiebreaker formula and having a short bench of 10 due to the flu bug and injury, forward Josh Litven stepped up and went in net to stop the #2 Knights Saturday morning.
The Stars went on the board first in the first period on a scorching point goal by Tanner Franje Gilbert, who took a beautiful feed from Morgan Holland.
It was 1-1 after two periods in a fast-paced tilt with with Litven robbing the Knights with the help of gritty defensive efforts by Liam Macleod, Vanessa Yaremcio, Jordan Romailler and Franje Gilbert.
D-man-turned-forward Payton Kineshanko pressured the Knights’ defence with linemate Rory Campbell, who was playing with a broken toe.
Centre Tage Kineshanko scored at 2:09 of the third on a close backhand that went up and over the goaltender. Drew Mackenzie drew the assist.
The Knights answered just 30 seconds later to level the score at 1:30 of the third period.
Rallying together, the exhausted Stars dug deep and with the faceoff in the Knights’ end, Tage Kineshanko unleashed a hard shot on net with Franje Gilbert burying the rebound with 8.9 seconds remaining.
It was just the boost the Stars needed to carry them into Sunday’s game versus the fifth-place Heat with forward Matt Yaremcio volunteering to play goal.
Mackenzie supplied five goals, while Tage Kineshanko added 1+4, Rory Campbell pocketed 1+2 and Litven also scored in front of a solid Yaremcio.
On Monday night, Mackenzie registered a beauty, assisted by Morgan Holland at 4:50 of the second, to make it 1-0 Lumby at Pat Duke Memorial Arena.
The Knights finally beat spectacular netminder Tage Kineshanko at 2:30 of the second period before Litven got the go-ahead goal, assisted by Mackenzie. Kineshanko made an incredible breakaway save with six minutes left, but the Knights equalized on a scramble with 2:30 to play.
The third-seeded Stevenson Mechanical Thunderbirds also opened the Pee Wee playoffs with a bang, tying the #1 Knights 4-4 and grounding the #2 Knights 7-3.
The T-Birds were tenacious in both the neutral zone and offensive end, holding Knights’ top sniper, Nicolas Walker, to two goals, Sunday at Nor-Val Sports Centre.
Isaac White bagged a deuce for the T-Birds with Landen Harison and Brady Becom sniping singles. Elias Wery, Jaacob Wettlaufer, White, Harison and Beacom drew helpers in support of the bold tandem of Jaden Foster and Jared Ross. Carter Higginger and Warin Buzzell provided the other Knights’ goals.
In Monday night’s tilt at Kal Tire Place, second-period fireworks started with the Knights’ Blaine Bertram converting. A minute later, White equalized with an assist from Foster.
One minute later, Logan Shillington put North Okanagan in front. Harison tied it, from White before Beacom sent the T-Birds ahead late in the session.
Ross, playing out for the first time this year, opened the third-period scoring with an unassisted snipe two minutes into the period. One minute later, Saul Saunders pulled the Knights within one. From that point on, it was all T-Birds as Beacom, Weary and Wettlafuer completed the offence.
In B side playoff action, the Butcher Boy Raptors won a pair of 5-3 games over the Billy D’s Family Restaurant X-plosion and Salmar Classic.
Carter Morris, shorthanded, Caleb James, Chase Batchelor, Jacob Brewer and Maisun Ang-Hamilton supplied goals against the X-plosion Sunday in Enderby. Sapien Joe was the Raptors’ game MVP.
Jacob Brewer pulled the hat trick for MVP as Butcher Boys bounced Salmar Saturday at the Shaw Centre. Nick Petty, with the winner, and Batchelor, on a rebound from a high shot from James, finished the Raptors’ attack. Goalie for both wins was Nicholas Maglio.
In the Atom A side playoffs, Vernon Lakeside Printing Blackhawks stopped the Everton Homes Lightning 7-2, tied Lumby Terry’s Auto/Irly Bird Stars 2-2 and lost 2-1 to the Revelstoke Grizzlies.
Gold jersey winner Tyler Kruysifix (2), Arianna Kositsin (2), Ronan Bedard (1+3), Seth Maglio and Tyler Hamilton handled the offence against the Bolts in front of Jakob Aeichele.
Bedard bagged both goals against the Stars with Aeichele getting the gold jersey, while in Wednesday night’s loss, it was Kruysifix scoring and d-man Cole Grevatt taking home the gold jersey.
On the B side, the Summit Financial Lakers girls bowed 5-1 to the Winfield Bruins with Josey Nerling scoring for the Lakers and goalie Emily Branter earning the gold jersey. Shelby Richard and Brooke Lawlor worked hard on defence, while Mackenzie Miller, Emma Roine and Kendra Grant turned in bold showings.
On Sunday in Enderby, the Lakers earned a 1-1 tie with the North Okanagan McDonald’s Black Knights. Miller and Nerling combined for the Laker goal. Miller won the faceoff and got the assist on the goal by Nerling.
Branter stood on her head for another great game in net. Abby Lawlor and Paige Brayshaw enjoyed marvellous offensive games with Brayshaw earning the gold jersey.
The Lakers lost 6-1 to M&K Ready-Mix Rockets Monday night at Civic with Nerling getting the snipe and Miller taking the gold jersey. The sister act of Robin Alexis, on dee, and Bailey Alexis up forward, had clutch games for the Lakers. Sarah Claeys chipped in with strong defence.
The Vernon ScoreHawks outlasted the Kamloops Blazers 9-8 in a Saturday shootout at the Priest Valley Corral. The Blazers bagged three unanswered goals before the ScoreHawks battled back with five.
Marek Toews (6+1), Landon Toews (2+1) and Jonah Donnelly, with a beauty and one helper, handled the Hawks’ offence in front of stellar Skylar Donnelly.