Morning Star Staff
The Quesnel McDonald’s Thunder shaded the Coca-Cola Vipers 3-2 in a shootout to win the Vernon Midget Tier 3 Hockey Winter Classic Tournament Sunday at Civic Arena.
Bryton Stead put Vernon ahead in the first minute, assisted by Cordell Oppenheimer. Stead, from Jeremy Pogue, made it 2-0.
Quesnel quickly levelled the score and after five minutes of scoreless overtime, netted the only goal of six attempts in the shootout. Riley Swiscoski, Stead and Austin Derkach were denied by the Thunder goalie.
Conor Webb was marvellous in net for the Vipers.
The same two teams battled to a 4-4 tie Saturday afternoon with Jarrett Campbell, Brian Ferguson, game MVP Dex Elders and Julian Darkazanli supplying snipes in front of a fantastic Billy Cawthorn.
Swiscoski racked up 4+1 as the Vipers smothered Simons Valley Storm of Calgary 11-0 Saturday night.
Game MVP Ferguson and Stead each bagged deuces, while Darkazanli, Pogue and Solomon Ivanoff counted singles. Jayden Pederson and Elders each provided three helpers, while Ferguson had two. Webb earned the shutout.
Cawthorn went the distance in net as Vernon grounded the Prince George Cougars 3-0 Sunday morning.
Swiscoski, Elders and Pederson, with an empty-netter, pocketed the Viper goals.
The Vernon Home Building Center Vipers dropped their last three Midget Tier 1 league games in Prince George.
The morning games were tough for the Vipers, losing 6-1 Saturday with Connor Johnston scoring and falling 4-1 Sunday in a penalty-filled game where Zach Manton scored.
Vernon made things interesting in a 5-4 loss Saturday night, goals coming from Brady Marzocco, Gabe Turner, Jason Shaigec and Carl Main, with the buzzer-beating equalizer 27 seconds after Prince George had yielded an empty netter.
The Cougars topped the table at 9-3-1, while the youthful Vipers were 1-12-2. The Midget Tier 1 playoffs start go Feb. 6-8.
In Pee Wee Tier 1 league play, the Watkins Motors Mustangs blew a 4-0 lead and lost 5-4 to the hometown Jardine Blazers.
Red-hot Corbin Hansen bagged a deuce, while Tysen Fairweather collected 1+2 and captain Cole Boyarski also converted.
Goaltending duties were split between Kobe Grant and Cayden Hamming. Next up for the 2-10-3 Mustangs is the Interior playoffs which has them taking on the second-place Blazers (9-5-1).
The Nixon Wenger Vipers lost 8-4 to the Penticton Vees and 7-4 to the Salmon Arm Silvertips in Pee Wee Tier 2 home league games,
Emma Elders, Ben Reinhardt, Ronac Chauhan and Porter Trevelyan connected in Saturday’s loss to the Vees. Jakob Jones and Jacob Green each produced two helpers.
Owen Swiscoski did a stand up job in net Sunday at Kal Tire Place, with recording a fabulous stop on a penalty shot.
Reinhardt (2), Jones and Ronac represented the Nixon Wenger offence with Green earning a pair of helpers. Penticton took the league title at 13-3-2, while Salmon Arm was 7-10-1 and Vernon 0-18.
The H&L Glass Junior B Vipers won the silver medal at the Kelowna Atom Rep Classic, losing 12-1 to Penticton Jr. Vees in Sunday’s final.
Vernon mauled the Whitehorse Mustangs 8-2 Saturday afternoon with Zac Milne earning 2+1 and singles coming from Reagan McMillan, JJ Milne, Colby Restiaux, Theo Van Wyk, Logan Killingbeck and Riley Cormier in front of Aidan Lawrence.
Earlier Saturday, the Vipers got four goals from Zac Milne in an 8-4 win over the Kelowna Jr. Spartans. JJ Milne added 2+1, McMillan pocketed 1+2 and Restiaux also scored. Matthew Kuhnlein took the win.
The Vipers started the tourney with a dud, losing 12-1 to Penticton. McMillan had the lone Viper tally.
The Valley Wood Remanufacturing A Atom Development Vipers bowed 7-5 to the Kelowna Rockets in Sunday morning semifinal action at the Kelowna Classic.
The Vipers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and were tied 4-4 heading to the third. After falling behind 6-4, the Vipers scored with 90 seconds left before the Rockets counted an empty netter.
Cash Anderson (2), Braden Schmiegelt, Nick Noren and Scotty Hoffman led the Viper attack. John Spraggs, Austin Roest, Liam Leibel and Jace Weir picked up assists in front of a solid Austin Seibel.
“The Rockets scored two goals off unfortunate bounces off our players; one off a skate and one off the upper body. That was the difference in the game,” said Vernon head coach Trevor Seibel.
“The boys have been playing some of their best hockey recently. They have really come along as a group lately and I’m very proud of their efforts.”
In Saturday afternoon preliminary play, the Vipers lost 5-1 to the Kamloops Ice Hawks with Jace Weir earning the goal and Colten Colmorgen taking the loss.
Vernon fell 9-4 to the Kelowna Jr. Chiefs Saturday morning with Weir (2), John Spraggs and Erik Pastro scoring and Seibel suffering the loss.