The Wilms Electric/Checkers Whalers won the B.C. Men’s C Ball Hockey Championships Sunday in Kamloops by beating the Victoria Devils 5-4 in the final.
Superstar forward and tournament MVP James Dobrowolski (Prince George Cougars, WHL) scored the winner at 4:48 of the second half by re-directing a shot off the stick of slippery winger Leath Gare (Concordia University Stingers grad).
After giving up the first goal, the Whalers’ captain Justin (Hurricane) O’Krane equalized by converting a nice pass from Dobrowolski.
Trailing 2-1 at the intermission, free agent speedster Dan Wiens tied the game early in the second half before the Devils went ahead on a powerplay goal.
Whaler workhorse David Robinson (Vernon Vipers) tied it 3-3 on a breakaway goal after taking a beauty pass from the most versatile Whaler, Bryce Kakoske (Vipers).
Minutes later, the Whalers took their first lead of the game when Wiens put a shot on net that was deflected by O’Krane off a Devil d-man and in the back of the net.
Whaler netminder Blair Miller was rock solid, making several big saves down the stretch. Victoria scored a late goal to make things interesting.
Dobrowolski, a classy tall drink of water, led the tournament in goals with eight (four of them game winners). He added seven asssists, while linemate Gare led the tournament in points with 4-12-16. Dobrowolski produced 18 goals and 52 points in his fourth and final year in the WHL.
The Harpoonmen went 3-0 in round-robin, starting off with a 9-2 ambushing of the Kamloops Bruins. Heart and soul winger Flair Bernley pocketed 2+3.
Game 2 went Saturday morning and not even a wave of food poisoning suffered by 90 per cent of the team could slow the Whalers down as they squeeked out a 4-2 win over the Kelowna Venom.
D-man Brad Hunt had 2+1, while Mark Gates chipped in with three assists and was a plus four for the Whalers.
Vernon smothered the Vancouver Outlaws 5-0 with Miller reading the Sun Valley Source for Sports flyers while only having to make five saves for the shutout.
The Whalers grounded the Victoria Rangers 13-7 in the semifinals with Wiens scoring four times and Kris Glinsbockel adding a hat trick.
The Whalers winning roster also included: Kevin Kraus (Vipers grad), Ryan Harrison (Everett Silvertips), Chad Gilroy, Ryan Liebel, Mark Gates and Ryan Kempton.
“The Wilms Electric/Checkers Whalers would like to thank owner Graham Wilms, Pam, and all the staff at Checkers, as well as all the fans for the support during their season,” said O’Krane.