April 6, 2019 1:39 am
Updated: April 6, 2019 7:07 pm

Junior hockey: Vipers claim Interior title, Grizzlies win league title

The Vernon Vipers are heading to the BCHL championship after defeating the Wenatchee Wild for the Interior Division title.

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

B.C. HOCKEY LEAGUE

Vernon 3, Wenatchee 1

At Wenatchee, Aidan Porter stopped 25 of 26 shots for Vernon, as the Vipers claimed the Interior Division championship by defeating the Wild in Game 5 on Friday night.

Jack Judson, Ben Sanderson and Jagger Williamson scored for Vernon, which won the best-of-seven series 4-1.

READ MORE: WHL Roundup: Friday, April 5, 2019

Austin Park stopped 18 of 21 shots for Wenatchee, which led 1-0 after the first period, but gave up three goals in the second.

Marko Reifenberger made it 1-0 at 3:21 of the first period, with Judson levelling the score for Vernon at 3:50 of the second. Five minutes later, at 8:28, Sanderson made it 2-1 Vipers. Williamson rounded out the scoring at 18:30.

The two teams combined for just 10 shots in the third; Wenatchee with six and Vernon with four.

Both teams were 0-for-3 on the power play. The attendance was 2,246.

Vernon will now play Prince George in the league championship.

The Spruce Kings are having a fantastic playoff run, having lost just once in 13 games (12-1). That lone loss took place in Game 4 in their first-round series against Coquitlam. Trailing 3-0 in the series, the Express staved off elimination with a 3-0 win.

The Spruce Kings, though, eliminated Coquitlam with a 4-2 win in Game 5.

Prince George, which compiled the league’s second-best record, then impressively swept Chilliwack 4-0. The Chiefs had the regular season’s best record, but lost by scores of 7-0, 3-2, 8-0 and 3-1.

In the third round, the Spruce Kings swept Victoria 4-0, winning 4-2, 4-2, 4-2 and 3-2.

WATCH BELOW: Preview of WHL playoff series between the Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals

Meanwhile, the Vipers are 12-4 in the playoffs.

Vernon rolled past Salmon Arm 4-1 in the first round, then edged Trail 4-3 in the second round.

The Fred Page Cup battle between the Spruce Kings and Vipers will start Friday, April 12 in Prince George with Game 1.

KOOTENAY INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

Revelstoke 4, Kimberley 1

At Kimberley, goalie Liam McGarva turned aside 24 of 25 shots as the Grizzlies roared past the Dynamiters to win Game 5 and claim the KIJHL championship.

Carter Anderson, with two goals, Kaeden Patrick and Ethan Schaeffer scored for Revelstoke, which won the best-of-seven series 4-1 on Thursday night.

The two teams also met in last year’s championship series, with Kimberley winning the league title 4-2.

In Game 5 on Thursday, the Dynamiters took an early 1-0 lead, but the Grizzlies replied with four unanswered goals.

Ryan Skytt, who made it 1-0 at 14:50 of the first period, scored for Kimberley. Adam Andersen stopped 18 of 22 shots for the Dynamiters.

Both teams were 0-for-4 on the power play. The attendance was 1,134.

The Grizzlies finished with the third-best record during the regular season (42-6-0-0-1, 85 points). In the playoffs, though, Revelstoke proved unbeatable.

The Grizzlies rolled past Kamloops 4-1 in the first round, outscoring the Storm 23-4. In the second round, they swept 100 Mile House 4-0.

In the third round, Revelstoke dispatched regular-season champion Kelowna (43-3-1-0-2, 89 points), winning the best-of-seven series 4-2.

Then, in the league final, Revelstoke surrendered just three goals to Kimberley (43-4-1-0-1, 88 points), which had the second best regular-season record.

On Saturday, Revelstoke will be holding a parade for the Grizzlies.

Up next for the Grizzlies is the Cyclone Taylor Cup, the annual four-team competition of the province’s best junior B teams, April 11-14.

The tournament features the champions from the KIJHL (Revelstoke), the Pacific Junior Hockey League (North Van Wolfpack) and the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (Victoria Cougars) and the host Campbell River Storm.

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE

Kelowna Rockets defenceman named to training camp roster for national U18 team

This week, Hockey Canada announced its training camp roster for the upcoming 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship, and Kelowna Rockets defenceman Kaedan Korczak is on the list.

The U18 tournament will run April 18-28 in Sweden.

Korczak has previously played for Canada twice. He won gold with the national U-18 team at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup last August in Edmonton. He also played for Canada Black at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Hailing from Yorkton, Sask., and listed at 6-foot-3, Korczak was recently named Kelowna’s best defenceman in 2018-19 after posting career highs in goals, assists and points.

The 18-year-old had 4 goals and 29 assists for 33 points in 68 regular-season games. He also tacked on 64 penalty minutes.

Korczak will likely have his name called at the upcoming 2019 NHL draft in June. He was ranked 31st among North American skaters on Central Scouting’s midterm rankings.

Brown named to U18 coaching staff

In related news, Rockets goaltending coach Adam Brown was named to Hockey Canada’s U18 coaching staff on Wednesday.

This will be Brown’s second stint with Hockey Canada, having been a member of Team White’s coaching staff at the 2018 U17 Hockey Challenge in New Brunswick.

Brown, who played four seasons Kelowna (2008-12), joined the Rockets’ coaching staff in 2016.

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