Rockets brush back Sun Valley 3-2

The Kelowna Rockets clipped the Vernon Sun Valley Sports Vipers 3-2 Saturday to sweep the first-round playoff series 2-0.

Morning Star Staff

The Kelowna Rockets clipped the Vernon Sun Valley Sports Vipers 3-2 Saturday to sweep the Okanagan Mainline Bantam Tier 1 Hockey Association best-of-three semifinal playoff series in straight games.

It was a hard-fought, fast-paced game at Memorial Arena with  Connor Johnston and Jason Shaigec scoring for the 6-9 Snakes on assists from Brady Marzocco and Stephane Richard.

Jeremy Hite, Lucas Cullen and Keltie Jeri-Leon had the 14-1-1 Kelowna goals. Kieran Watts made 47 saves for Vernon, who dropped the series opener 6-2 Friday night at home.

In the Midget Tier 2 playoffs, the Coca-Cola Vipers were eliminated 7-1 by the first-place Rockets Saturday at Memorial.

Eamonn Miller scored for the Vipers.

Kaden Black, from Cameron Hitch and Logan Imrich, had Vernon’s first goal in a 12-2 loss in the series opener Friday night at Civic Arena. Miller converted from Black and Gabe Turner in the second period.

Tristan Quiring started in net, Louis Springer relieved him for a period and Quiring finished the game.  The Vipers defence couldn’t keep the Rockets to the outside and the Coke forwards had a hard time getting to the net.

Vernon will end the season at a tournament in Castlegar later this month.

Midget Vipers fall to OHA

The shortstaffed Vernon Home Building Centre Vipers lost 6-3 and 2-1 to the Okanagan Hockey Academy Canucks in Midget Tier 1 league action.

Without Layne Greene, Griffen Fried, Scott Latwat and Austin Goss, all summoned to Junior B teams, the Vipers got two goals from Lee Springer and one from Jeff Bochon in the Saturday loss in Penticton. Jacob Dolinar had two assists.

The Home Building Centre crew was back to full strength Sunday and added Bantam Tier 1 players  Grady Caton, Richard and Springer (back-up goalie) in Sunday’s loss in Vernon

OHA opened the scoring with 30 seconds left in the second period, on a powerplay. Cole Woodliffe equalized midway through the third with the Canucks getting the winner on a strange bounce at the side of the net with 52 seconds left.

Vernon opens the playoffs Saturday against the host North Kamloops Lions. Game 2 goes Sunday at 3:45 p.m. (Civic).

In Tier 2 Bantam playoffs, the Penticton Vees stormed the Vernon Fix It Auto Vipers 9-0 and 9-0 to sweep the first-round series.

Silvertips bag Female banner

The Salmon Arm Female Midget Tier 1 Silvertips were presented their league-title banner during an intermission Saturday night at the BCHL game between the SilverBacks and Penticton Vees.

Salmon Arm is hosting the provincial championships, March 16-20.

Hockey Day in Salmon Arm featured many games, including the Silvertips icing Kelowna 3-1 in their final league game.

The Tips got solid goaltending by Jamie Sedore (Salmon Arm) and bold defence by Hailey Haskell (Salmon Arm)and Chelsea McCaig (Enderby). Goals came from Sydney Castle (Enderby) and a pair by Maddie Turner (Salmon Arm) with assists by Vernon products Taylor Vandale and Jenna Lazar.

The Valley Wood Vipers lost 4-2 to the Nanaimo Clippers in Sunday’s semifinals of the Chilliwack Atom C tournament.

Game MVP Austin Roest, from Jakob Jones and Connor Elliott, had Vernon’s first goal. Steel Quiring netted the second from Porter Trevelyan. Heart & Hustle winner was Jace Weir.

Earlier, the line of Quiring, Roest and Trevelyan put the Vipers up 2-0 and they cruised past the  Seattle Admirals 5-0.

Zac Funk neatly made it 3-0 on a wraparound, while Jones connected on passes by Ronac Chauhan and Weir and Jacob Boden completed the offence, from Chauhan. Owen Swiscoski was phenomenal, getting his second shutout in as many games for MVP. Boden received the Heart & Hustle.

Vernon opened by shutting down Nanaimo 5-0 with Swiscoski fabulous and Quiring (MVP) and Cody Beckner (Heart & Hustle team toolbox) helping out.

In Game 2, the Vipers fell 4-1 to the Chilliwack Bruins with Jones getting the Valley Wood goal. MVP was Elliot and Chauhan earned Heart & Hustle.

The H&L Glass Vipers produced Atom C statement games by tying the Merritt Centennials 1-1 and doubling the first-place Summerland Jets 4-2

Vernon mustered only one shot in the first, but Maddex Minard made it count.  On a 2-on-1 with Jordyn Morris, Minard cranked his shot in off the keeper’s mitt. Starter Jaret Cooper pitched a shutout in his 30 minutes.

The unit of Chris Bond between Morris and Minard created the best chances, but it was Merritt who capitalized on a turnover at 13:36.

The Vipers opened the throttle wide in the final 20, keeping the Centennials, undefeated this season, save for a forfeit, back on their heels.

John Spraggs led the charge, hitting the post five minutes in and then dancing through the Merritt dee for two more cracks on goal.

Vernon’s back line of Adam Bourgeois, Brock Holliday, Liam Remple and Quinn Soon was all but impenetrable, allowing only four shots in the frame yet again.

Back home at Kal Tire Place on Sunday, the Vipers got 3+1 from Nick Noren.

Six minutes into the first, Adam Bourgeois and Emma Elders rubbed out a rushing Jet along the boards. Elders turned the puck quickly up to Cash Anderson.  Pulled down at the Summerland line, Anderson poked the puck over to Nick Noren, who ripped one past the goalie’s glove. Teja Sheldrake’s trapper, on the other hand, was a black hole for the Summerland shooters.

Sheldrake posted 13 saves en route to his half-game shutout.

Vernon went up by two on a second-period 5-on-3. From the right corner, Noren found Anderson in front, and the crafty left winger knocked in his own rebound from his knees. Summerland responded promptly with a pair of powerplay goals.

In the third, the H&L Glass penalty killers redeemed themselves with four big stops. Despite the penalty trouble, Vernon took over.

Twice, Spraggs got loose for breakaways. Bond also went in alone, before Noren solved the Jet netminder again.

With four minutes left, Anderson took the puck wide and Elders swooped in and sent a cross-crease pass to Noren, who slammed the winner in the back door.

Shorthanded again late, Noren blocked a point shot, sped away, and tucked his hat trick goal through the five-hole.