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Junior hockey: Kelowna falls to Kamloops in shootout, Steam stun Chiefs in playoff series opener

The Kamloops Blazers beat the Kelowna Rockets on Friday night in what was the first of back-to-back games between the two B.C. Division rivals. The two teams will meet again in Kelowna on Saturday night.
The Kamloops Blazers beat the Kelowna Rockets on Friday night in what was the first of back-to-back games between the two B.C. Division rivals. The two teams will meet again in Kelowna on Saturday night. Marissa Baecker / Kelowna Rockets Images

A round-up of results from junior hockey teams in the Okanagan.

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE

Kamloops 2, Kelowna 1 (SO)

At Kamloops, Dylan Garand stopped 26 of 27 shots during regulation, then blanked Kelowna’s two shootout attempts, as the Blazers downed the Rockets on Friday night to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Martin Lang scored for Kamloops (24-32-5-2) at 16:13 of the second period following a scoreless first. Nolan Foote, with his 34th goal of the season at 4:08 of the third, replied for Kelowna (27-30-5-2). Foote’s goal was scored on the power play.

READ MORE: WHL Roundup: Friday, March 8, 2019

Roman Basran turned aside 32 of 33 shots for the Rockets.

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In the shootout, Connor Zary and Orrin Centazzo scored for Kamloops, while Kyle Topping and Foote missed their chances.

The Rockets were 1-for-4 on the power play while the Blazers were 0-for-4. The attendance was 5,398.

In B.C. Division standings, the Rockets are third with 61 points while the Blazers are fourth with 55. Vancouver (45-15-2-2) is first with 94 while Victoria (33-27-2-2) is second with 70. Kelowna has four games remaining while Kamloops has five.

If the standings stay the same – a highly likely scenario, though the Blazers could mathematically overtake the Rockets — third-place Kelowna will play second-place Victoria in the first round of the playoffs.

In Western Conference standings, Everett (46-14-2-2, 96 points) and Vancouver (94 pts.) are jockeying for first and second place. The winner will take on the first wildcard team with the second-place finisher playing the second wildcard team.

In wildcard standings, Tri-City (34-26-3-1, 72 pts.) will most likely earn the top wildcard spot, with Seattle (27-28-6-2, 62 pts.) taking the second. Kamloops (55 pts.) is third.

READ MORE: Edmonton Oilers ready for rematch with Toronto Maple Leafs

For Kamloops to make the playoffs, the Blazers will need to win at least three of their last five games, if not all five, and hope that either Kelowna or Seattle goes on a serious losing streak.

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The Rockets and Blazers meet again on Saturday at Prospera Place in Kelowna. Game time is 7 p.m.

B.C. HOCKEY LEAGUE

Vernon 4, Salmon Arm 3 (3OT)

At Vernon, Matt Kowalski scored the game winner in triple overtime as the Vipers eliminated the Silverbacks in first-round playoff action on Friday night.

Logan Cash, Michael Young and Jack Judson also scored for Vernon, which won the best-of-seven series 4-1. The Vipers opened the scoring, just 53 seconds in, but trailed 3-1 after two periods. In the third, Young, at 1:27, and Judson, two minutes later at 3:27, scored to level the game.

Trevor Adams, at 2:58 of the first, plus Andy Stevens and Logan Shaw, at 4:42 and 10:36 of the second, respectively, replied for Salmon Arm.

Ethan Langenegger stopped 52 of 56 shots for the Silverbacks, while Aidan Porter turned aside 48 of 51 shots for the Vipers.

Salmon Arm was 0-for-1 on the power play while Vernon was 0-for-2. The attendance was 2,394, with the game taking 4 hours and 23 minutes to play. The contest started at 7:02 p.m. and ended at 11:25 p.m.

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The Silverbacks won the series opener, 5-3, but the Vipers won the next four, with all four being one-goal decisions (2-1, 2-1, 2-1 and 4-3).

West Kelowna 4, Wenatchee 2

At West Kelowna, Connor Hopkins made 39 saves as the Warriors held off the Wild to take a 3-2 series lead.

Garrett Worth, Bennett Norlin, Lucas Cullen and Parm Dhaliwal scored for West Kelowna. The Warriors trailed 1-0 early in the contest, but reeled off four consecutive goals to make it 4-1. Worth scored at 16:25 of the first, with Norlin making it 2-1 at 14:21 of the second. Cullen made it 3-1 just 54 seconds into the third with Dhaliwal making it 4-1 at 15:34.

Murphy Stratton, at 1:03 of the first, and Nathan Iannone, at 16:44 of the third, replied for Wenatchee, which outshot West Kelowna 41-23. Cal Sandquist started for the Wild, stopping 14 of 17 shots, with Austin Park mopping up, going 5-for-6 in relief.

Wenatchee was 1-for-6 on the power play while West Kelowna was 1-for-7. The attendance was 1,016.

Game 6 will take place Sunday, 8:05 p.m. in Wenatchee. Game 7, if needed, is set for Monday, 7:05 p.m. in Wenatchee.

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In other playoff action from Friday night, Trail beat Merritt 4-2 to win that series 4-1, and Chilliwack edged Langley 3-2 in overtime to level that series at 3-3.

In BCHL playoff action for Saturday, the Penticton Vees and Cowichan Valley Capitals will meet in Game 5 at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton. The Capitals hold a stunning 3-1 series lead over Interior Division champion Vees. Game time is 6 p.m.

KOOTENAY INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

Summerland 2, Kelowna 1

At Kelowna, Jared Breitkreuz stopped 43 of 44 shots as the Steam stunned regular-season champion Kelowna to win the opening game of their second-round playoff series.

Lane French and Cody Swan scored for Summerland, which led 1-0 after two periods following a scoreless first. French scored at 1:20 of the second, with Swan making it 2-0 at 16:18 of the third.

Kayson Gallant broke Breitkreuz’s shutout bid with a power-play goal at 19:07 of the third. Braeden Mitchell stopped 23 of 25 shots for the Chiefs.

Summerland was 1-for-3 on the power play while Kelowna was 1-for-5. The attendance was 416.

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In regular-season standings, Kelowna (43-3-1-0-2) finished with a league-high 89 points – 35 points more than Summerland (25-20-2-0-2, 54 pts.).

Game 2 of the series is Saturday, 7 p.m. at Rutland Arena in Kelowna. Games 3 and 4 will take place Monday and Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. in Summerland.

Revelstoke 4, 100 Mile House 3 (2OT)

At Revelstoke, the Grizzlies blitzed the Wranglers with 75 shots yet needed double overtime to win the series-opening game.

Brenden Vulcano, Ullar Wiatzka, Jaden Hay and Ethan Schaeffer, with the winner in the second overtime period, scored for Revelstoke.

The Grizzlies trailed 1-0 midway through the first and 2-1 after the second period. Wiatzka scored at 10:06 of the third to make it 2-2, with Hay lighting the lamp at 15:00 to make it 3-2 for Revelstoke.

Darian Long, Harley Bootsma and Kolby Page scored for 100 Mile House. The Wranglers evened the score at 3-3 when Page scored at 15:48.

Jakob Gullmes stopped 71 shots for the Wranglers. For the Grizzlies, Liam McGarva turned aside 32 of 35 shots.

Revelstoke was 0-for-4 on the power play while 100 Mile House was 0-for-2. The attendance was not available.

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Game 2 is Saturday, 7 p.m. in Revelstoke. Games 3 and 4 will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, 7 p.m. in 100 Mile House.

Notably, this isn’t the first time in these playoffs that Revelstoke has put up a lot of shots.

In the Grizzlies’ first-round sweep of Kamloops, Revelstoke outshot the Storm 208-76. In Game 4 of that series, which Revelstoke won 6-1, the Grizzlies outshot the Storm 73-30, firing 34 shots in the first period alone.