Morning Star Staff
A pair of Vernon Vipers are on NHL Central Scouting Services’ final player ratings list for the entry draft, June 26-27, in Sunrise, Fla.
Dynamo forward Liam Finlay, who led the Vipers with 64 points in his rookie season, is ranked 199th amongst North American skaters. The 18-year-old Kelowna product dropped 10 spots from the mid-season report.
Finlay was Thursday chosen to the BCHL’s All-Rookie Team with forwards Tyson Jost of the Penticton Vees and Brett Supinski of the Coquitlam Express. Defencemen Yanni Kaldis of the Nanaimo Clippers and Dante Fabbro of the Vees, along with Chilliwack Chiefs’ goalie Aidan Pelinio, also made the rookie squad.
Finlay, who scored 23 times with Vernon, earned a scholarship with the University of Denver Pioneers while playing Major Midget with the Okanagan Rockets.
Speedster forward Thomas Aldworth made the list at No. 195. The Texan was not ranked earlier by Central Scouting. He topped the Vipers with 37 snipes, including eight on the powerplay.
Aldworth, 19, will play for the Quinnipiac Bobcats (neart Hartford, Conn.) in the NCAA next season.
Marcus Vela of the Langley Rivermen is the highest rated BCHLer, at 131. Vela is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound forward from Burnaby. He is committed to the New Hampshire Wildcats.
Defenceman Carmine Buono of the Powell River Kings is No. 188. while d-man Vincent Desharnais, of the Chilliwack Chiefs is rated 209th.
The list does not include Europeans which means both Finlay and Aldworth go in as projected final-round choices in the seven-round lottery.
The BCHL first all-star team consists of Coquitlam forwards Corey Mackin and Brett Supinski and Dane Gibson of the Victoria Grizzlies. On the blue line are Andrew Farny of the Salmon Arm SilverBacks and Kurt Gosselin of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Hunter Miska of Penticton is the goalie.
On the second team are forwards Liam Blackburn West Kelowna Warriors), Jacob Pritchard (Powell River Kings) and Jake Lucchini (Trail Smoke Eaters). The d-men are Kaldis and Gabe Bast of the Vees, while Guilliaume Decelles of the Clippers is the net detective.
Meanwhile, the Fred Page Cup best-of-seven final series opens tonight with the Vees entertaining the Clippers (7 p.m.) at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Game 2 goes Saturday in Penticton (6 p.m.) with the third and fourth games set for Monday and Tuesday night, respectively, at Frank Crane Arena in Nanaimo.
Okanagan Major Midget Rockets’ MVP and leading scorer Marcus Mitchell and d-man Sam DeMelo have committed to Troy Mick’s Salmon Arm SilverBacks.
Mitchell posted 22 goals and 46 points in 39 games for the Rockets, while DeMelo sustained a season-ending injury after just one game. He was a late cut by the SilverBacks.
“We are thrilled for Marcus, but especially Sammy” said Rockets general manager David Michaud. “Marcus had a tremendous season for us and was well deserving of our MVP Award, but after watching what Sam DeMelo went through this season, it was nice to see Salmon Arm step up and offer him a spot. Sam worked very hard during the season, even though he knew it wouldn’t get him back into our line-up.”
Mitchell and DeMelo will join a trio of Rockets alumni as Branden Wagner, Colton Thibault, and Josh Blanchard all call Salmon Arm home. Sil