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Junior hockey: Iginla leads Rockets over Blazers, Warriors defeat Spruce Kings

A roundup of junior hockey results from the Okanagan and area.

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE

KELOWNA 4, KAMLOOPS 3

It was a tightly contested matchup between two fierce rivals, but Tij Iginla’s two-goal effort helped lift the Rockets over the Blazers in Kamloops Saturday night.

The Blazers stormed out to a two-goal lead before the midway mark of the opening frame, after receiving goals from Emmitt Finnie (17) and Andrew Thomson (10). Their hot start for Kamloops was exactly what the doctor ordered, after being dismantled by Kelowna 9-1 the night before.

But with the Rockets on a man advantage halfway through the first period, Tij Iginla’s shot from the left faceoff circle fooled netminder Logan Edmonstone, playing in his first WHL game, cutting the Blazers lead in half.

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Kamloops would restore their two-goal cushion 6:43 into the second period thanks to Nathan Behm (12), who is playing in his first full season with the Blazers. But the Rockets would strike once again on a power play as Andrew Cristall (38) continues his recent stretch of dominance with 17 points in his last six games.

At the halfway mark of the final frame, the Rockets scored on the power play for the third time on the evening to tie the game at three-a-piece, thanks to a one-timer from Hiroki Gojsic (20). Then, with only 5:18 left to play in regulation, Tij Iginla (45) provided the Rockets with the boost they needed. He scored what would stand as the game-winning goal on a breakaway — and the Lake Country product is now just five goals shy of 50 on the campaign.

With the win, the Rockets have just one loss in their last eight games and have earned points in eight consecutive outings. They now hold a record of 31-28-3-1 and are just two points back of 4th place in the Western Conference. Kelowna will be back in action on Wednesday when they host the Prince George Cougars.

Saturday’s results

  • Lethbridge 3, Moose Jaw 2 (SO)
  • Prince Albert 8, Medicine Hat 3
  • Saskatoon 2, Edmonton 1 (OT)
  • Swift Current 6, Brandon 3
  • Portland 7, Wenatchee 1
  • Prince George 6, Vancouver 3
  • Red Deer 5, Calgary 2
  • Spokane 5, Seattle 1
  • Everett 6, Victoria 2
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Sunday’s game

  • Tri-City at Seattle
Click to play video: 'Battle of the Badges sees Edmonton fire and police face off'
Battle of the Badges sees Edmonton fire and police face off

B.C. HOCKEY LEAGUE

WEST KELOWNA 4, PRINCE GEORGE 2

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The BCHL’s third-best team, the West Kelowna Warriors, got themselves back in the win column after knocking off the Prince George Spruce Kings on Saturday.

West Kelowna’s Trent Wilson scored the game’s first two goals, followed by another tally from Jack Pridham, and the Warriors enjoyed a three-goal lead in the second period. Just under 20 seconds after Pridham’s goal, however, the Spruce Kings would get on the board. Then, just over three minutes later, the visiting team would cut into the Warriors’ lead again to make it a one-goal game.

Late in the final period, the Warriors would add an insurance marker thanks to a goal by Johannes Lokkeberg, and the Warriors would collect a 4-2 victory.

The Warriors outshot the Spruce Kings 29-25. They’ll host the Penticton Vees on Friday night. Penticton is nine points ahead of West Kelowna as they sit atop the Interior Division standings.

SALMON ARM 2, CRANBROOK 1

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks swept their weekend road trip against the Cranbrook Bucks.

Saturday night’s tilt saw the home team get on the board early, thanks to a power play goal from Jack Silich just 1:20 in.

However, much like Friday’s game between these two clubs, goals were extremely hard to come by. The Silverbacks would score twice in the middle frame thanks to Maddux Martin and Cole Cooksey, and that would be just enough to collect their second win in as many nights versus Cranbrook.

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In their weekend series, both clubs totaled just four goals, with the Silverbacks winning 1-0 (OT) and 2-1. The Silverbacks, who are in 3rd place in the Interior Division, outshot the Bucks 31-29 in their most recent outing. They are now just seven points behind the second-placed West Kelowna Warriors in the division.

Salmon Arm’s next matchup gets underway on Friday when they host the Trail Smoke Eaters.

PENTICTON 5, MERRITT 2

Despite making things close after falling behind early, the Merritt Centennials couldn’t solve the Penticton Vees.

In the first period, it was all Penticton, scoring three goals on 12 shots including one on the powerplay.

The Centennials would deposit a goal in the late stages of the second period followed by another before the five-minute mark of the third. nd all of a sudden, a game that seemed like it would be a runaway for the Vees was now just a one-goal game.

However, like so many good sports franchises do, they find a way to win when facing adversity. The Vees added a power play goal and an empty-netter to steer home a 5-2 victory.

The Vees heavily outshot the visitors 44-31. Their power play also clicked twice on five attempts while Merritt scored once on four power play opportunities.

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The Vees get back in action on Friday when they visit the West Kelowna Warriors.

TRAIL 6, VERNON 2

The Trail Smoke Eaters outshot and outscored the Vernon Vipers Saturday night and collected two important points in the standings.

By the time the final buzzer sounded, the shots were 48-26 and the score was 6-2. The Smoke Eaters scored once in the first period, three times in the middle frame, and twice more in the third period. Vernon’s two tallies came in the second period.

Trail went 2-for-7 on the power play, while Vernon went 2-for-4.

With the win, the Smoke Eaters are now just one point back of the Vipers, who hold down 4th place in the Interior Division.

The Vipers’ next game is on Friday when they host Alberni Valley.

Saturday’s results

  • Langley 5, Chilliwack 3
  • Surrey 4, Cowichan Valley 3 (OT)
  • Nanaimo 5, Victoria 3
  • Brook 9, Blackfalds 2
  • Spruce Grove 3, Okotoks 1
  • Alberni Valley 6, Prince Rupert 3

Sunday’s games

  • Surrey at Nanaimo
  • Spruce Grove at Sherwood Park

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