Morning Star Staff
The Vernon Watkin Motors Mustangs capped a dominating week at the B.C. Tier 2 Pee Wee Hockey finals in Fort St. John with a 6-2 win over the North Delta Sundevils in the championship game Thursday night.
Vernon went a perfect 7-0, outscoring their opponents 55-11.
“The kids were great all week,” said head coach Wes Elliott, who won a B.C. Hockey League provincial championship as a player with the Vernon Lakers in 1988.
“Teja and Hammer (goalies Sheldrake and Cayden Hamming) were excellent in goal, and the defence and forwards were solid.”
The Vipers got two goals from each of their three lines, coming off the sticks of Steel Quiring, Ronac Chauhan, Jacob Boden, Porter Trevelyan, Zach Funk and Austin Roest.
Vernon went 6-0 in the preliminary round, which included an 8-2 win over North Delta and a 5-3 win Thursday morning over Cowichan Valley.
The Sundevils had Thursday off before the gold-medal game.
“We didn’t have as much gas in the tank as North Delta,” said Elliott.
“We fell behind 1-0 after one but we heard the kids talking in the room, saying ‘we’d been here before and not to worry.”
Vernon led 3-1 going into the third period.
In Golden, the North Okanagan Knights averaged four goals per game through their six preliminary games at the B.C. Tier 4 Bantam finals.
In the gold-medal contest, the Knights needed only two.
Goals from Wes Graves and Eli Dwyer, and stellar goaltending from Caedon Bellman, lifted the Knights to a 2-1 win over the Kamloops Blazers in the all-Okanagan championship game. Michael Kormany was captain of the Knights.
North Okanagan head coach Dave Evans was very excited about his team’s gold medal, considering many players had never played a season of rep hockey.
The core group has been playing for about eight years.
“This victory was truly a team success with 15 of 17 players scoring goals during the provincials,” said Evans.
“The final game was a close battle to the finish with our team getting into penalty trouble late. But with some big shot blocks and saves by Bellmann, we pulled it off.”
Tyler Palmer will forever be in the memories of the North Okanagan Pee Wee Knights.
Palmer, the goalie for the Fernie Jr. Ghostriders, stopped all 57 North Okanagan shots as the Ghostriders edged the host Knights 1-0 in the B.C. Tier 4 championship final at the Enderby Arena Thursday.
Fernie scored the game’s only goal early in the contest on a breakaway, and Palmer made it stick the rest of the way as North Okanagan outshot the Ghostriders 57-13.
“Their goalie simply stood on his head, that’s the way it goes sometimes,” said North Okanagan head coach Randy Zbytnuik. “The kids played exactly the way the coaches wanted them to play.”
The Knights advanced to the final with a 4-2 win over the Vanderhoof Bears in the preliminary round’s final game, a victory that also guaranteed Fernie a spot in the gold-medal match.
A Vanderhoof tie or win would have put the Bears and Langley Eagles through to the final.
“What I’ll remember about this team is the dedication of the kids and parents,” said Zbytnuik. “We stuck to our motto all year of we’re going to win games and lose games but we’re never going to quit. These kids put in a ton of effort and determination.”
Fernie defeated the Vancouver Thunderbirds 4-0 in its final round-robin game to earn a spot in the final.
The Bears and Eagles were named co-winners of the bronze medal as they had the same amount of wins, points and almost the same goals for total.
The Thunderbirds won the tournament’s Fair Play award. They had the least penalty minutes and may have set a provincial tournament record with four ties in the round-robin.
It was the first time Enderby and Armstrong hosted a provincial finals tournament in 25 years.
“It went really well,” said tournament chairperson Paul Makse. “The B.C. Hockey rep assigned to the tournament said it was the best one he’d attended in 31 years. The teams were so evenly matched. Only five points separated first place from seventh place. Everyone was happy. There were no complaints.”
Vernon Home Hardware Centre Vipers settled for the silver medal at the B.C. Tier 2 Midget finals in Prince George.
The Aldergrove Bruins scored five unanswered goals to beat the Vipers 5-2 in the gold-medal game.
Both teams had been 4-0 entering the final.
The teams were tied at 2-2 after the first period and it was the first time in the tournament the Bruins had faced a challenge offensively and defensively.
Tanner Myer had two goals for the Bruins, who scored twice in the second and added an empty-net goal in the third with Vipers goalie Conor Webb on the bench for an extra attacker.
Carl Main and Dylan Sedlacek gave the Vipers a 2-0 first-period lead.
“The kids played their hearts out,” said Vernon head coach Keith Chase. “Aldergrove showed their strength on the puck and buried a couple of chances.
“We pressed hard but couldn’t close the gap. I’m proud of the entire team and how they competed all season.”