One goal short.
The Vernon Sun Valley Source For Sports Tier 2 Bantam Vipers missed the semifinals of their own eight-team Winter Classic Hockey Tournament at Kal Tire Place North this past weekend by only a single goal.
After losing their opening game Friday evening to the Kamloops Blazers, the boys battled hard Saturday morning in a tight 4-3 loss to the ultimate tournament winning Okotoks Oilers from Alberta. Bennett Kuhnlein had a pair of goals in the loss while Kyle Wheeler added one more in the third. Assists went to Cash Anderson (2), Nick Noren, Ryder DeNys, and Tyler Burke. Austin Seibel made several spectacular third-period saves giving his teammates a chance as they tried to complete the comeback.
They continued their strong play later Saturday evening, posting a convincing 5-1 win over the New Westminster Kings on the strength of two first period goals by Wheeler. Erik Pastro posted two more goals and an assist in the second and Riley Cormier scored from his position on defence. Anderson and Noren each had two helpers in the win and Matthew Kuhnlein was stellar in net.
Sunday morning was their chance to end the tournament on winning note vs North Delta and the boys did not disappoint as they skated to a 6-2 win. It was Benjamin Ramsey, Bennett Kuhnlein and Pastro with first-period goals as the Vipers would never trail in this game. Anderson would score in both the second and third periods while defenceman Brayden Schwaerzle got in on the act with an unassisted marker. Cormier and Noren had a pair of assists each, while Wheeler, Ramsey, Anderson and Bennett Kuhnlein also added helpers. Seibel was stellar again between the pipes until he was forced from the game late in the second by an illegal hit. The team did not miss a beat however as Matthew Kuhnlein was equal to the task stepping in off the bench the rest of the way.
Okotoks beat the Kelowna Rockets 5-4 in the championship game.
Vernon Geotech Drilling Vipers returned to league action after a two-week break and split a pair of games.
Vernon played Merritt Saturday but didn’t capitalize on the Centennials’ 52 minutes of penalties and three game misconducts, falling 4-2. Connor Cecchini scored both goals for the Vernon, who shook off the defeat to post an 8-5 win over Summerland Sunday, avenging a November loss to the Jets.
The Vipers came back from a four-goal deficit in the third. Jayden Atwood led the team in scoring with a hat trick. Gunnar Nyberg led in points with 1+3. Logan Killingbeck, Adam Battersby, Trey Schober and AP player Scott Hoffman each put up 1+1 while Jack Laventure, Marek Toews and Richard Burden also posted assists.
During the team’s time off, some of the boys, along with head coach Clint Nyberg, helped with the opening weekend for the kettlebells campaign, doing various shifts around town fundraising for the Salvation Army.
Hudson Kibblewhite’s third goal of the game with 5:05 left in the third period gave the Vernon Watkin Motors Mustangs an 8-8 road draw with the penthouse-dwelling Warriors in West Kelowna Saturday.
Maguire Nicholson added two goals for the Mustangs, who battled back from 4-3 and 6-5 period deficits to gain the single point. Charlie Swartz had 1+1 for Vernon while Aidan Wattie and Lily Roberts rounded out the scoring. Alessandro Durfield, Devon John Sales-Parno and Jeffrey Curtis chipped in assists.
Vernon Collard Financial Vipers dropped a pair of close weekend league games.
The team travelled to the Shuswap Saturday and fell 5-3 to the Sicamous Eagles. Call-up Ben Bradford, replacing the injured Oliver Murray (broken wrist) stepped up and scored two goals to try to fire up the Snakes. Dylan Salling had the other goal. Kai Maleniza, Kohen Pounder and Tage Nanji chipped in assists for Vernon, who outshot the hosts 28-26.
Back home Sunday, the Vipers fell 5-3 to the Kamloops Blazers at Priest Valley Arena.
Trailing by a goal in the dying minutes, Vernon pulled goalie Brayden Rypkema for an extra attacker to try and tie up the match, but the Blazers scored into an empty net.
Vernon outshot Kamloops 39-27. The Vipers will next play in the South Okanagan tournament in Osoyoos.
SENIOR ATOM DEVELOPMENT A
Vernon H&L Glass Junior Vipers went 3-1 at a tournament in Salmon Arm to finish fourth in the 12-team event.
The Junior Vipers beat West Kelowna, Kelowna and Salmon Arm, but lost to Williams Lake.
“It would have been great to have beaten Williams Lake to get to the tournament final, but we just couldn’t find a way to solve their big goalie,” said head coach Ryan Reid. “We continue to improve as a team. I think when we get all of our lines moving the puck and playing together, we’ll be tough to defend.”
Ollie Reid the Vipers offence with 10 goals and four assists for 14 points.
Axel Houle had six assists. Jack Saxton had 3+3, Landon Grant 2+3, Mathis Paull chipped in 2+1, Alex Glover had two goals and Noah Frick contributed a pair of assists.
Calder Barry was in net for all four of the Vipers games.
SENIOR ATOM DEVELOPMENT C
It’s hard to say which is the more impressive statistic put up by the Vernon Valley Wood Remanufacturing Junior Vipers hockey team.
The fact they scored 28 goals in a pair of Senior Atom Development C hockey league games at home, or the fact they didn’t allow a goal against.
The Junior Snakes blanked the Salmon Arm Silvertips 12-0 at Kal Tire Place Saturday, then followed that up 24 hours later with a 16-0 shellacking of the Kamloops Blazers at Kal Tire Place North.
Ethan Whitney recorded the shutout against Salmon Arm, helped out offensively by Shanahan Gare, who pocketed 4+2. Tylen Lewis added 3+2, Jace Nemirsky had two goals and two helpers while Matthew Branesic, Cohen Hogberg and Hudson Podollan each had 1+1. Asher Kuiken had two assists while sole helpers were recorded by Kalin Frick and Max Power.
Cohen Bailey blanked the Blazers in the Vernon goal Sunday. Lewis led the offence with 3+2 while Podollan and Nemirsky added hat tricks and an assist each. Gare and Hogberg scored two goals apiece, Rylan Frick added 1+3 and rounding out the scoring were Power and Vranesic.