Pee Wee T-Birds start strong

Stevenson Mechanical Thunderbirds win opening game of Winter White Pee Wee rec hockey tournament in Vernon.

The Vernon Stevenson Mechanical Thunderbirds jumpstarted their Winter White Pee Wee rec hockey tournament by squeaking out a 4-3 win over West Kelowna #4 Friday at Civic Arena.

The T-Birds were led by the strong two-way play of Zachery Manthorne, who collected a pair of goals. Defensemen Brady Beacom and Elias Wery also solved the stingy West Kelowna keeper.

Riley Buckle led the visitors with a hat trick.

In other Winter White play Friday in Vernon, Billy D’s Xplosion used a Zack Laranjo hat trick to stuff the Kamloops Honey Badgers 7-2.

After a tight-checking, scoreless first period, the Xplosion jumped out to a 3-0 early lead in the second period on a deuce by Laranjo and one from Kevin Morgan. Morgan and Dawson Martian drew assists. The Honey Badgers replied with singles from Callum Gorman and Blake Ablitt.

The third period saw four unanswered Xplosion goals coming from Laranjo, Aaron Jodoin, Morgan and Noah Clark, on a sweet roof job.

Liam Reid and Morgan earned assists, and Eric Foufaulas was solid in net to earn the win.

Said coach Dan Wilson: “Everybody worked hard in a total team effort. We scored some timely goals, but our team defence held the Honey Badgers at bay. Keenon Jeberg skated miles both ways and Zack Laranjo was the player of the game.”

The Butcher Boys Raptors and Penticton Raptors skated to a 3-3 draw in Winter White play Friday at Priest Valley Arena.

The defensive corps of Brady Szeman, Ethan Schiman, Derek Pereboom, Colton Riguidel and Caleb James were a wall for Vernon in a scoreless first period. Penticton opened the scoring in the second, but that was quickly answered by Carter Morris, assisted by Chase Batchelor.

Batchelor, a natural playmaker, assisted on all three goals to earn game MVP. Morris completed the hat trick in the third period, with an assist going to Brayden Riguidel. Penticton equalized in the final minute.

Goaltending duties were shared by Caenen Wisse and Nicholas Maglio.

In Novice tournament play in Osoyoos, the Vernon Tim Hortons Steelers drew the Vancouver Thunder 5-5 Friday night.

The Steelers blew a 4-0 lead then scored late to tie it. Erik Pastro, with a hat trick, and Deagan McMillan, with a pair, handled the Vernon offence. Matthew Kuhnlein made two huge saves in the dying seconds to preserve the tie.