Forget flowers, chocolates or wine.
Instead, the Vernon Watkin Motors Vipers marked Valentine’s Day by treating their hockey moms to a drama-jammed 4-2 comeback win Friday afternoon.
Coletyn Boyarski netted the winner with 87 seconds remaining as Vernon stopped the Nanaimo Clippers in the 43rd annual Coca-Cola Invitational Pee Wee Hockey Tournament at Civic Arena.
The Vipers (2-1 in the round-robin) met the undefeated Calgary Blackfoot Chiefs in semifinal action late Saturday afternoon. The 2-1 Warman Wildcats of Saskatchewan battled the Edmonton Knights of Columbus Lancers (2-1) in the other semi.
The Amy Myles Memorial A event title game goes today at 5:30 p.m. with the Alex Kuly Memorial B final set for 3:15.
Nic Teale tried a wraparound on Clipper net detective Campbell Arnold and Boyarski poked the puck inches over the goal line. The goal judge wasted no time turning the red light on, but the referee initially waved the snipe off as a Clipper quickly pulled the puck out of the net.
The Clippers seemed in safe control of the tight-checking tilt, but the Vipers equalized when Lucas Wood’s point shot was deflected by Tanner Brown and buried by captain Eric Noren, with 3:48 to play.
D-man Cameron Moger struck the right post after a nice solo rush six minutes into the third. Moger supplied an empty-netter with 58 seconds left.
Vernon goalie Kobe Grant did his best Henrik Lundqvist impersonation while stoning crafty Clipper forward Aaron Marsh twice on breakaways and once from the slot.
“He was crazy good,” said Moger, 11, of Grant. “He’s usually like that. We all played strong; we keep it simple, get it deep, rush the net and bury our chances.”
Rowan Miller, from Boyarski, and Noren, assisted by Moger and Miller, accounted for the other Vernon goals. Marsh, assisted by Evan Soucy, and Liam Moody, from Trey Boyle, replied for the Clippers.
“Just save everything,” said Grant, when asked about his game-plan. “I was able to stay in position and see the pucks well. I think we all worked hard for this one.”
The Clippers iced Seattle 13-4 in consolation play Saturday morning. Captain Ethan Jones collected four goals and Chase Heslop added three.
“They (Vipers) were hard on the puck and won a few more one-on-one battles,” said Marsh, whose team will meet the Cowichan Valley Capitals in the Island finals next week.
Vernon fell 3-2 to Warman in their Thursday night game, getting goals from Teale and Miller. The Wildcats got a deuce from Austin Lamotte, including the winner, with 4:01 to play, and one from Kyrell Sopotyk.
Lamotte clicked with 76 seconds left in double overtime as the Wildcats shaded the Strathcona Warriors of Edmonton 4-3 Friday afternoon. Sopotyk forced OT with 5:54 remaining.
Lamotte and Jaxon Martens completed the Warman attack, while Luke Golka, Bruce MacGregor and Cole Dubinsky countered for Strathcona.
Calgary cranked up their offence Friday, ambushing the Prince George Cougars 9-2 in the morning and smothering Seattle 9-1 Friday night.
Quinn Olson supplied 3+1 as Calgary iced Seattle. Ethan King pocketed 2+1, while Jake Spak, Ben Karman and Mitchell Watson each earned 1+2. Spencer Weinkauf also scored, while Mitchell Fleury counted three helpers. Brendan Lee replied for Seattle.
Calgary, who have won Lethbridge and Springbank tournaments this year, got 2+2 from King and two goals from Spak against the Cougars. Singles came from Kyle James, Karman, Watson, King and Eric Cole. The Cats got a goal from Brendan Moseley.
The Lancers advanced to the semis by crushing Seattle 7-1 and brushing off Prince George 4-2 in Friday action.
Adam Glugosh and Nicholas Magis each bagged two goals against Seattle, singles going to Brandon Mejia, Greame Bryks and Ryan Spence. Xavier Haro had two assists. Miles Seguin responded for Seattle.
Mejia, Spencer, Magis and Jared Holliday handled the Edmonton attack versus Prince George. Moseley and Elijah Goyer countered for the Cats.
Calgary clipped the Lancers 6-5 late Thursday behind two goals from Spak and singles from Olson (winner), Weinkauf, Karman and Fleming. Bryks (3) and Magis (2) led the Lancers.