March 26, 2019 1:58 pm
Updated: March 26, 2019 7:21 pm

Junior hockey: Vipers advance to conference final; Chiefs facing elimination

After besting the Trail Smoke Eaters in Game 7, the Vernon Vipers will now face the Wenatchee Wild in the Interior Conference final.

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

B.C. HOCKEY LEAGUE

Vernon 5, Trail 2

At Vernon, Josh Latta opened and closed the scoring as the Vipers advanced to the third round with a Game 7 win over the Smoke Eaters on Monday night.

Nicholas Cherkowski, Jagger Williamson and Carver Watson also scored for Vernon, which won the best-of-seven series 4-3. The Vipers trailed the series 2-0 before winning three in a row to take a 3-2 lead. Trail staved off elimination in Game 6 on Saturday, winning 5-2, to force Game 7.

Hayden Rowan and Braeden Tuck replied for the Smoke Eaters, who trailed 3-1 and 4-1 at the period breaks.

Adam Marcoux started for Trail, but lasted just 26:08, stopping just nine of 13 shots. Logan Terness was 15 of 15 in relief. For Vernon, Aidan Porter stopped 17 of 19 shots.

The Smokies were 1-for-2 on the power play while the Vipers were 0-for-2. The attendance at Kal Tire Place was 3,205.

Vernon will now play Wenatchee in the Interior Conference final. The Wild dispatched the upstart Cowichan Valley Capitals 4-2 in their second-round playoff series.

In the other Coastal Conference final, the Prince George Spruce Kings will play the Victoria Grizzlies.

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Prince George impressively swept the regular-season champion Chilliwack Chiefs 4-0. Chilliwack (42-15-1-0) finished with 85 points with Prince George (39-13-1-5) right behind at 84. But in their playoff series, the Spruce Kings steamrolled the Chiefs, winning 7-0, 3-2, 8-0 and 3-1.

In that 8-0 decision, Chilliwack was outshot 46-13. Overall, the Spruce Kings outshot the Chiefs 147-68.

Meanwhile, Victoria advanced to the final four by eliminating the Powell River Kings 4-3 after a 6-1 win in Game 7 on Monday night.

KOOTENAY INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

Revelstoke 5, Kelowna 1

At Kelowna, proving that any shot on goal is a good shot, the Grizzlies took a 3-2 series lead with a gritty effort against the Chiefs.

Jon Vandermolen, Brenden Vulcano, Kaeden Patrick, Ethan Schaeffer and Raymond Speerbrecker, with an empty-net marker in the final minute, scored for Revelstoke.

Lane Paddison, at 9:55 of the third period, replied for Kelowna, which has never led in this series. The Chiefs trailed 2-0 before winning Games 3 and 4 to level the series at 2-2. Game 6 is Tuesday night, 7 p.m., in Revelstoke. Game 7, if needed, will be Wednesday at Rutland Arena in Kelowna.

Revelstoke was outshot for a third straight game, and for the fourth time in five games this series. Yet the Grizzlies did a good job of absorbing Kelowna’s quick-strike offence, then counter-attacking and firing pucks on net.

Those shots, in turn, led to rebounds and opportunistic chances for Revelstoke. The Chiefs had scoring chances as well, but couldn’t quite connect. Kelowna was also guilty of sometimes over-passing and not heeding the crowd’s demands to “shoot the puck.”

In fact, Paddison’s goal was an odd-angle shot from the left side that trickled through Grizzlies goalie Liam McGarva. Otherwise, Revelstoke was on pace for a shutout win, as McGarva had a busy night, but it wasn’t a crazy night for the Grizzlies’ ’keeper.

At the other end, Braeden Mitchell stopped 28 of 32 shots for Kelowna.

The Grizzlies were 1-for-5 on the power play while the Chiefs were 0-for-4. The attendance was 676.

In other KIJHL action from Monday night, the Kimberley Dynamiters beat the Beaver Valley Nitehawks 3-2 in triple overtime to advance to the league final. Kimberley won the best-of-seven series 4-1.

Chiefs president and GM in hospital with bacterial meningitis

The Kelowna Chiefs have announced that team president and general manager Grant Sheridan is in hospital with bacterial meningitis.

Global News

In related news, the Chiefs announced that president and general manager Grant Sheridan is in hospital with bacterial meningitis. The team said he was transferred from Revelstoke to Kamloops and is in intensive care.

“Today we found out there is overall improvement in fighting the infection,” the team said on its Facebook site, “but there are still several complications going on. Grant is in the best hands possible and we ask to keep him in your prayers as he is in the fight of his life.”

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