It was a busy start to the year for the Vernon Pee Wee Vipers, who played four games in a Kelowna tournament from Jan. 3-5, and finished with one win and three losses.
The team’s record didn’t reflect their play throughout the tournament; in all three losses the team trailed by two goals or less at the final horn.
The Nixon Wenger-sponsored Vipers’ trailed 5-1 heading into the third period in their first game against West Kelowna, but goals from Teigan Kelley, Addie Bradley and captain Reid Williamson brought the game back within reach. The wound up surrendering an empty netter for a final score of 6-4.
Matched up against Armstrong in their second game, the team again had a chance at victory until the end. Tylen Lewis scored on a gorgeous diving pass from from Jace Nemirsky. Williamson put up two goals and an assist, and goals also came from Kelley and Luke Mitchell.
The final score was 6-5 for Armstrong, but Vernon team spokesperson Carly Gare said the game could have gone either way.
“It was so close,” said Gare. “At one point at 5-5 the shots were also tied at 33 each.”
Game 3 resulted in a 5-3 loss to Semiahmoo, with Vernon goals coming from Lewis, Ethan Whitney and Nolan Jensen.
Things came together to close the tournament out as Vernon defeated Vancouver 8-5 in the fourth and final game. Williamson kick-started the scoring with a first-period goal assisted by Kobe Maltman, and Kelley added another in the second.
The offence exploded in the third period as defenceman William Heighway. Kelley scored two more to complete a hat-trick, and Jensen went end-to-end to cap off the tournament on a dazzling note.