Morning Star Staff
The Vernon Home Building Centre Tier 2 Vipers grounded North Zone Tier 1 Reps of Salmon Arm 6-3 in Sunday’s final of the Kelowna Midget Hockey Tournament at Rutland Arena.
Connor Johnston jumpstarted the Home Builders squad at 16:45 as the puck lay on the line behind the goalie after his initial shot appeared to be stopped and he buried the rebound.
North Zone equalized at 17:50 in the second period off a hard forecheck and a top blocker corner shot with the Vipers running around in their own zone.
North Zone took the lead off an individual rush and a low-glove snapper at 6:29, followed by a slap pass tip in at 3:55 as Vernon appeared confused in their own end.
Johnston responded with his second of the game before the period ended to cut the lead and completed his hat trick early in the third on a top-glove wrister to lefel things at 3-3, prompting the North Zone coach to call a timeout.
Clutch sniper Dex Elders registered the winner with eight minutes left to play and Kyle Sherwood potted two insurance markers.
The Vipers brushed back the Calgary Royals 3-1 in the early Sunday morning semifinal.
Joe Eggert converted an empty-net roller to seal things. Calgary outshot Vernon 32-25 but game MVP Kieran Watts only allowed one goal at 19:19 of the first period.
Vernon tied things in the first as Eggert picked up the point shot by a re-instated Dylan Sedlacek that was tipped by Damian Cojee-Fehr.
The winner came once again from Elders as he walked in alone on a partial breakaway and connected with a low snapper under a surprised Royals tender at 9:09 of the third.
Calgary pushed back hard but Watts stopped everything they threw at him including a beautiful cross-crease, tight glove save on a penalty kill.
Vernon ambushed Spokane 15-0 before stopping the South Zone Tier 1s 5-2 in Saturday pool action.
Eric Noren and Coljee-Fehr, each with deuces, and Johnston supplied goals versus South Zone.
D-man Noah Debalinhard was summoned from Midget Tier 3 to fill in for an injured Sedlacek and was solid.
The Vipers opened the eight-team tourney with a 7-2 win over the West Kelowna Warriors.
Stephane Richard (2), Elders (2), Johnston, Sherwood, and Reed Cashato, who came off IR, handled the offence.
In Tier 3 Midget play, the Coca-Cola Vipers slammed West Kelowna 8-1 Saturday afternoon at Civic Arena and shut down Winfield Bruins 3-0 Sunday.
Laranjo, (2), Dakota Bryan (2), Chris Moore, Ethan Joe, Zach Agar and Jadon Foster provided the goals against West Kelowna. Agar opened the attack with a gorgeous backhander with his sweet poinsettia hands. Jake Brewer and Lucas Halvorson each recorded two assists.
Jaden Foster, with a deuce, and Zayne Hanke provided the offence against Winfield with Jordan Foster in net.
The Sun Valley Source for Sports Vipers upended the Kelowna Rockets 7-3 in Bantam Tier 1 action.
Kelowna jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead before the ice clean but Vernon equalized before the end of the second period and got four unanswered goals in the third,
Trevor Kennedy pulled the hat trick with singles going to Porter Trevelyan, Ben Imrich, Steel Quiring and Zack Funk. Colby Feist pocketed four helpers with K.T. Walters getting three.
Cayden Hamming was solid in net for the Snakes, who open the 49th Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament beginning Wednesday, Dec. 28 versus Grande Prairie Storm at Memorial Arena (2 p.m.).
Vernon is in the Tier 1 Randy Lindros Memorial Division and will face the Chilliwack Bruins Thursday, Dec. 29 at McArthur Island Sports Centre’s Olympic Rink in other pool play.
The Vipers finish preliminary action Friday, Dec. 30 versus the Semiahmoo Ravens of White Rock at Brocklehurst Arena (7 a.m.).
The Fix Auto Vipers posted a pair of Bantam Tier 3 league wins, shading Kelowna 4-3 Saturday and smothering West Kelowna 9-2 Sunday, both at Civic.
Jacob Green celebrated his dad Keith’s 50th birthday by netting the winner Saturday, assists going to Cody Beckner and Trevor Moore. Jacob was cheered on by several family and friends who made the birthday bash from Richmond.
Green earlier went end to end and converted top cheddar for the 3-2 goal, assists going to Beckner and Ben Reinhardt.
Ronac Chauhan wired a slapper for the first snipe with assists going to Fraser O’Brien and Moore. Kelowna equalized on the powerplay before Ben Reinhardt buried one with assists going to Fraser O’Brien and Beckner. Teja Sheldrake went the distance in net.
Chauhan produced three goals as Vernon iced West Kelowna, singles going to Gage Stoll, Beckner, Moore, Green, Ryan Vandesande and Damian Glover in support of Kassidy Schaper-Kotter. Reinhart rang up three assists, while Liam Remple added a pair.
Christmas came early for the Watkin Motors Mustangs as the Tier 2 Pee Wees shaded the Kelowna Rockets 3-1 in Saturday league play and then edged the Kelowna Tier 1 Rockets 4-3 in exhibition action Sunday in games at the Capital News Centre.
Austin Roest counted 2+1, while Bennett Kuhnlein scored once in the league tilt. Jarred Feist earned three apples in front of Matthew Kuhnlein.
The Mustangs enter the Christmas break atop the Okanagan Mainline league at 10-1-2.
Feist (2+1), Deagan McMillan and JJ Milne provided the offence in front of a solid Austin Seibel Sunday in Kelowna. Roest collected three helpers.
“The boys battled hard this weekend and earned two hard-fought wins” said Mustang head coach Trevor Seibel. “It’s nice for the boys to enter the Christmas break on a high note. The boys have a few days off before we are right back at it for the stretch drive.”