Morning Star Staff
They grabbed a 2-0 lead, held superstar Leath Gare to three goals and won their first-ever Vernon Hockey League playoff championship Sunday night at Wesbild Centre.
The Godard Excavating Predators, who took the tourist route (10 games) through the playoffs, stopped the R.E. Postill & Sons Orphans 8-5 in the third and deciding game of the final series.
The fifth-place Preds (18-10-0-2) used a balanced attack and a 26-save showing from danny Robert to knock off the regular-season champion Orphans (20-0-7-3).
Cody Keller and Linc Blinkhorn supplied 2+1 apiece, while Danny Stein earned 1+3. Geoff Bevan, with 1+2, Matt Litzenberger and Andy Stein completed the Preds’ offence. It was 4-2 Godard Excavating at the midway break. Danny Stein produced the winner, from Trevor Abel and Jordan Nixon, 80 seconds into an early second-period powerplay.
Justin Horochuk pocketed three assist and Abel had a pair for the Preds.
Gare pulled the hat trick, while his linemate Bryce Kakoske provided 1+4, to lead the Orphans. Gare, with 7-2-9, and Kakoske, with 3-7-1, accounted for all but one of the Orphan goals in the series.
Ryan Kurbis scored the other Postill goal Sunday night. Jason Silzer made 17 saves. The teams played tough, but fair hockey all series, with the Orphans taking two of five minors in Game 3.
The rest of the Predators’ roster: Logan Stockley, Keith Godard, Kenny Johnstone, Tyler Willms.