The 1999 Valley Selects spring hockey team, sponsored by NOR Renovations, started the season with a decisive 11-4 win over the host Kelowna Cobras last weekend.
The Cobras struck first but the Selects responded with a quick goal from Jason Shaigec, assisted by Connor Johnston. The Selects finished the first period with four more goals by Matt Kowalski (2), Owen Beliveau and Connor Johnston. Assists went to Johnston, Brady Marzocco, Riley Swiscoski, and Austin Caldwell.
The second period saw Kelowna score three goals but the Selects reeled off four, two each by Beliveau and Kowalski. Assists went to Swiscoski and Marzocco. D-man Grady Caton was strong in the period, rushing hard to the net and creating some good scoring chances.
The third period was full of penalties on both sides, with the Selects’ scoring coming from Caldwell and Marzocco, assisted by Dean Whitcomb. D-men Liam Hennig and Dawson Chase were strong in the penalty kill. The win was shared by Connor Webb and Shane Meadahl.
The littlest of North Okanagan Spring hockey teams, the ‘05 Vernon Kingfishers, finished its inaugural season with a 6-3 overall record and strong tournament showing at the Kamloops AAA Pirate Challenge last weekend.
Kingfishers opened with a solid effort on Friday against top-ranked Kamloops, conceding a couple of late goals in an 8-2 loss.
The Kingfishers then caught fire, blasting West Kelowna 14-4 on Friday afternoon and setting the stage for a big Saturday.
The Kingfishers pulled off a thrilling 6-5 win over Langley’s BC Lightning and then, with only one game rest, stretched the eventual tourney champion Calgary Havoc to the wire in an 8-6 loss.
“Langley and Calgary are two of the best Spring programs in Western Canada and started practicing in January,” said Kingfisher coach Tim Milne. “We only ran a three-week program and the kids took it to them…it was awesome.”
After surviving the toughest draw in the tournament, Vernon wound up in a three-way tie with Kelowna Heat and BC Lightning after round-robin play. The first tiebreaker was listed as head-to-head in the rulebook but organizers went with goal differential, eliminating the Fishers by one goal.
“The Kingfishers had a blast and played like champs. They got stronger each game and proved they could play with (and beat) the best in Western Canada. Then they ate pizza and hit the swimming pool.”
JJ Milne and Zachary Milne paced the Kingfishers in Kamloops with 10 and eight goals, respectively. Deagan McMillan added six goals while Zack Casagrande and Braydon Schwaerzle had a pair each. Seth Burton chipped in with a single. Logan Killingbeck played brilliantly in goal for the Kingfishers, finishing his season with a 6-3 AAA record.
Theo Van Wyk, Austin Seibel, Alex Dye, Brady Kuziw, Riley Cormier and Erik Pastro all turned in stellar performances for the Kings this season.