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Vernon and Penticton clinch home peewee tourney semifinal spot

Mustangs edge California Goldrush 7-6; Okanagan rivals Penticton Knights also 2-0 at Coca Cola Classic
Vernon Watkin Motors Mustangs Jaxon Marchischuk (19) and Jake Black have helped the team clinch a semifinal spot at the 51st Vernon Winter Carnival Coca Cola Classic Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament at Kal Tire Place North. (Roger Knox - Morning Star0

The potential for an all-Okanagan A event final – for the first time in tournament history – is looming at the 51st Vernon Winter Carnival Coca Cola Classic Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament being contested at Kal Tire Place North.

The host Vernon Watkin Motors Mustangs and Penticton Knights are both 2-0 and atop their respective four-team divisions.

Vernon struck oil and gold on opening day Thursday, Feb. 8, blitzing the Okotoks (Alta.) Oilers 11-0 and edging the California Goldrush of Lake Forest, Cal., 7-6.

Penticton scored a 7-2 win over the East Kootenay Avalanche of Cranbrook Thursday afternoon, then blanked the Coquitlam Chiefs 5-0 Friday morning.

Vernon has clinched top spot in the Coca Cola Division and will play in a championship semifinal at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Their opponent will be the second-place team in the Sun Valley Division, and that could be Penticton.

The Knights play their final preliminary game Friday against the defending champion St. Albert (Alta.) Raiders, who entered play Friday 1-0 after a 6-4 win over the Chiefs.

St. Albert took on East Kootenay Friday morning.

The Mustangs play the 0-2 Calgary Royals in their final round-robin game Friday at 5 p.m.

The Amy Myles A Event final is Sunday at 4:30 p.m. Vernon has reached the A final 13 times in the tournament’s 51 years, and has won the tournament the last seven times they’ve been in the championship game.

Penticton has reached the A final only once, losing 5-1 to Edmonton in 1999.

Cooper Krause scored two goals three minutes apart early in the third period for Vernon against California, snapping a 5-5 tie after 40 minutes. Benjamin Ha’s goal with 5:23 remaining pulled the Goldrush to within a goal, but the Americans could not get the equalizer.

Trent Keenan had 2+3 t0 lead the Mustangs offence. Jake Black and Harrison Sharman added a goal and two helpers, and Reed Witham rounded out the Vernon scoring.

Hudson Gott had two goals and an assist to pace the Goldrush, who won their opening game, 4-2, over Calgary. Brenner Allen chipped in three helpers.

Sharman had five points to pace Vernon past Okotoks.

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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