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Junior hockey: Rockets bounced from playoffs, Vees edge Vipers in OT

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

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE

PRINCE GEORGE, 6, KELOWNA 3

The Kelowna Rockets’ season came to a crashing halt on Friday night.

At Prince George, the Cougars scored five times in the second period and pulled away from Kelowna for a three-goal victory before a raucous standing-room crowd.

The result not only gave Prince George a 4-1 series win, but it also pushed the Cougars into the third round — a sight rarely seen in the city that proclaims itself as the gateway to northern B.C.

The Cougars, who are celebrating their 30th season in Prince George after relocating from Victoria in 1994, have only advanced to the Western Conference final four times (1997, 2000, 2007, 2024) and have never played in a league final.

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Further, Prince George failed to make the playoffs 12 times since its relocation. The team has also suffered 10 first-round eliminations.

During those same seasons, Kelowna has failed to make the playoffs just twice and has won four league titles.

Click to play video: 'NHL playoffs preview: Where do Canadian teams stand?'
NHL playoffs preview: Where do Canadian teams stand?

This year may be different, though.

Not only did Prince George finish atop Western Conference standings (49 wins, 102 points), but they also finished the regular season as the nation’s top-ranked team.

But back to Friday’s game, which had an attendance of 6,014, just above its sellout capacity of 5,900.

Zac Funk of Coldstream paced Prince George’s offence with three goals. Riley Heidt, with two goals and two assists, and Jett Lajoie also scored for the Cougars, who led 1-0 and 6-2 at the period breaks.

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Scoring for the Rockets were Andrew Cristall and Tij Iginla, with back-to-back goals early in the second that made it 2-1 for Kelowna, and Gabriel Szturc, who closed out the scoring early in the third.

Click to play video: 'Jets playoff preview w/John Shannon'
Jets playoff preview w/John Shannon

Joshua Ravensbergen stopped 28 of 31 shots for Prince George, with Jari Kykkanen making 33 saves on 39 shots.

The Cougars were also 2-for-4 on the power play while the Rockets were 0-for-2.

Up next: The conference finals.

In the west, Prince George will play Portland, which swept Everett 4-0. And in the east, Saskatoon will place Moose Jaw.

Friday’s results

  • Moose Jaw 4, Swift Current 2
  • (Moose Jaw wins series 4-1)
  • Portland 5, Everett 0
  • (Portland wins series 4-0)

Saturday’s games

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  • No games scheduled

Sunday’s games

  • No games scheduled
Click to play video: 'Call of the Wilde: 2023-2024 season wrap-up'
Call of the Wilde: 2023-2024 season wrap-up

B.C. HOCKEY LEAGUE

PENTICTON 4, VERNON 3 (OT)

At Penticton, Anselmo Rego scored the game-winning goal early in overtime as the Vees defeated the Vipers to take a 1-0 lead in their second-round series.

Rego also scored during regulation time for Penticton, as did Billy Renfrew and Callum Arnott.

Owen Kim, Carson McGinley and Noah Dorey replied for Vernon, which led 2-1 after the first period and 3-2 after the second.

Arnott tied the game at 17:58 of the third, with Rego ending the contest at 1:40 with a shorthanded marker.

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Will Ingemann stopped 21 of 24 shots for the Vees, with Ethan David making 31 saves on 35 shots for the Vipers.

Penticton was 1-for-2 on the power play while Vernon was 0-for-2.

Friday’s attendance at the South Okanagan Events Centre was 2,321.

SALMON ARM 6, WEST KELOWNA 1

At West Kelowna, it was scoring by committee for Salmon Arm as the Silverbacks hammered the Warriors on Friday night to take a 1-0 series lead.

Nathan Mackie, Riley Ashe, Patrick Raftery, Ryan Gillespie, Tanner Walos and Maddux Martin scored for Salmon Arm, which led 2-0 after the second period following a scoreless first.

Viggo Nordstrom replied for Kelowna at 16:22 in the third to make it 4-1, but the team was outshot 40-22.

Eli Pulver stopped 21 shots for the Silverbacks, with Matthew DellaRusso (28 saves, 31 shots) and Kaden Clegg (6 saves, 8 shots) sharing netminding duties for the Warriors.

Both teams were scoreless on the power play, with Salmon Arm at 0-for-4 and West Kelowna at 0-for-2.

Friday’s results

  • Alberni Valley 3, Chilliwack 1
  • Victoria 2, Surrey 1 (OT)

Saturday’s games

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  • Alberni Valley at Chilliwack
  • (Alberni Valley leads series 1-0)
  • Vernon at Penticton
  • (Penticton leads series 1-0)
  • Salmon Arm at West Kelowna
  • (Salmon Arm leads series 1-0)
  • Victoria at Surrey
  • (Victoria leads series 1-0)

Sunday’s games

  • No games scheduled
Click to play video: '2024 NHL Playoff Preview: Will a Canadian team finally end the 31-year Stanley Cup drought?'
2024 NHL Playoff Preview: Will a Canadian team finally end the 31-year Stanley Cup drought?

KIJHL

MOWAT CUP

(Provincial championship)

  • Kimberley Dynamiters (host team)
  • Revelstoke Grizzlies (KIJHL champions)
  • Ridge Meadow Flames (PJHL champions)
  • Saanich Predators (VIJHL champions)

Thursday’s results

  • Revelstoke 7, Saanich 4
  • Ridge Meadows 7, Kimberley 0

Friday’s results

  • Revelstoke 2, Ridge Meadows 1
  • Kimberley 4, Saanich 0

Saturday’s games

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  • Saanich at Ridge Meadows
  • Kimberley at Revelstoke

Sunday’s games

  • Consolation game: Third vs. Fourth
  • Championship game: First vs Second
Click to play video: 'Passionate Edmonton Oilers fans gearing up for another Stanley Cup run'
Passionate Edmonton Oilers fans gearing up for another Stanley Cup run

 

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