Morning Star Staff
The Vernon Home Building Center Vipers split a home and home series with the North Kamloops Lions in Midget Tier 1 exhibition hockey.
Speedster Connor Johnston scored twice as Vernon won 5-4 Saturday in Kamloops, singles coming from Cameron Hitch, Braden Gilowski and Brady Marzocco.
Helpers were supplied by Nick Higgs, Reed Cashato (2), Easton Jones (2), Nick Higgs, Stephane Richard, Gabe Turner and Carl Main. Connor Webb and Billy Cawthorn split the goaltending.
The Blazers clipped the host Vipers 3-2 Sunday with Carl Main scoring first from Reed Cashato and Cameron Hitch and Zach Manton converting from Connor Johnston. Tristan Quiring and Josh Evans shared net duties.
The Thompson Okanagan Female Midget AAA Lakers tied the Prince George Cougars 1-1 and lost 4-3 to the same Cats in exhibition games in 100 Mile House.
Both teams came out strong in Game 2 with no scoring until the second period with Andie Kaneda came through for the Lakers. The Cougars equalized midway through the third. Sydney Carter was in net for the Lakers, coached by Keith Tucker of Armstrong.
Christy Blackburne (Kelowna), Riley Henderson (West Kelowna) and Jenna Fletcher (Vernon) with the 3-3 goal, handled the Laker offence Sunday in front of Emma Gottfriedson.
The Salmon Arm Female Midget A Silvertips opened up its exhibition season with a 3-1 win over Kelowna at the Capital News Centre.
Kelowna opened the scoring early in the first on a great individual effort by Brooklyn Kostiuk. Vernon responded five minutes later when Samantha Maric (Vernon) pokechecked a Kelowna defender and Cailee Bauml (Vernon) fired the loose puck, low, far side.
The Silvertips, coached by Rob Bauml of Vernon, took the lead for good when Bauml set up Taylor Vandale in the slot and she ripped a one-timer high to the glove side. Salmon Arm added insurance marker just before the end of first period as Brooke Miller (Salmon Arm) scored her first-ever goal on a rebound off a Chloey Martin (Sicamous) point shot.
Bailey Berndt (Enderby) was solid in goal for the Tips and Caitlyn Marshall (Armstrong) and Hailey Haskell (Salmon Arm) provided veteran leadership on defence.
“The league will start in the last week of September, and the league has expanded,” said coach Bauml, slightly bummed because his Saskatchewan Roughriders lost on Sunday. “This year, we will have five teams instead of three and they include Salmon Arm, Kelowna, Kamloops and new for this year, Penticton and Williams Lake. It’s great to see that there are more and more girls playing hockey and that the league can expand.”
In Bantam Tier 2 male hockey pre-season play, Vernon got a late goal from Grand Forks newbie Dayton Bryan and tied the Kamloops Blazers 1-1 Sunday at the McArthur Island Sports Centre Olympic Rink.
Vernon held a wide margin in shots but couldn’t solve the towering Blazer net detective. The Vipers got stellar netminding from Caeden Bellman and Dalton Stenberg. Vernon, coached by Don Brew, lost d-man Josh Litven with an early wrist injury.