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Junior hockey: Rockets fall to Royals, Smoke Eaters stymie Vees

Kaid Oliver of the Victoria Royals, left, fends off a pair of Kelowna Rockets, including defenceman Kaedan Korczak, right, during WHL action in Kelowna on Wednesday night.
Kaid Oliver of the Victoria Royals, left, fends off a pair of Kelowna Rockets, including defenceman Kaedan Korczak, right, during WHL action in Kelowna on Wednesday night. Marissa Baecker

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

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE

Victoria 6, Kelowna 3

It was a night to forget for the Kelowna Rockets.

First, the public address system briefly malfunctioned, leading to a 10-minute delay and fans singing the national anthem.

Kelowna Rockets fans sing national anthem
Kelowna Rockets fans sing national anthem

Then came three goals on six shots and an uphill battle.

End result? A three-goal win for the Victoria Royals on Wednesday night.

In post-game comments, Rockets head coach Adam Foote said “after one mistake, we don’t want to make a layer of mistakes.

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“It’s going to happen in hockey where you do make one mistake. We don’t want to back it up with a second mistake and a third mistake. I felt the first two goals were backed up by a second mistake . . . guys were mesmerized, staring at the puck, didn’t see what was happening behind them.

“It did happen a couple of times, but we outchanced them, we outshot them . . . our big mistakes went in our net. They didn’t have too many big mistakes. It’s hard to come back from that.”

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Keanu Derungs, who opened the scoring just 75 seconds into the game, Ty Yoder and River Fahey, with first-period goals, plus Mitch Prowse, Sean Gulka and Tarun Fizer scored for Victoria (7-7-1-0).

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Pavel Novak, Jake Poole and Alex Swetlikoff replied for Kelowna (9-5-1-1), which countered with two quick goals for a 2-1 lead after Derungs made it 1-0. However, the Royals scored twice more in the first for a 3-2 lead after 20 minutes.

Is Sidney Crosby the best hockey player of all time?
Is Sidney Crosby the best hockey player of all time?

In the second, Swetlikoff made it 3-3 at 5:24, but Prowse, from Kelowna, pushed the Royals back into the lead at 11:35. Gulka made it 5-3 at 13:46, with Fizer rounding out the scoring in the third at 17:37 on the power play.

Roman Basran started for Kelowna, but was pulled at 10:58 of the first after giving up three goals on six shots. Cole Schwebius was 11-of-14 in relief.

For Victoria, Brock Gould stopped 27 of 30 shots.

The Royals were 2-for-4 on the power play, while the Rockets were 1-fo4-4.

Wednesday’s game was their third meeting in nine days. In their last outing, in Victoria on Oct. 30, the Rockets blanked the Royals 1-0, with Schwebius turning aside all 33 Victoria shots.

On Friday, Kelowna will close out its three-game homestand when the Rockets host the Medicine Hat Tigers (11-5-1-0).

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The Tigers were also in action on Wednesday night, as the bounced back from a 2-0 deficit with five consecutive goals in a 5-4 road win against the Prince George Cougars (4-12-0-1).

James Hamblin, with two goals, Tyler Preziuso, Brett Kempt and Baxter Anderson scored for the Tigers.

The Cats from the Hat are 7-3 in their past 10 games while the Rockets are 5-4-0-1.

On Saturday, Kelowna will trek south to play the Spokane Chiefs (7-6-2-0).

B.C. HOCKEY LEAGUE

Trail 4, Penticton 1

Amonte Tristan of the Penticton Vees passes the puck while teammate Steve Holtz looks on during BCHL action in Penticton on Wednesday night.
Amonte Tristan of the Penticton Vees passes the puck while teammate Steve Holtz looks on during BCHL action in Penticton on Wednesday night. Jack Murray

At Penticton, Kent Johnson and Philippe Lapointe both scored twice for Trail as the Smoke Eaters clipped the Vees despite getting heavily outshot.

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Logan Terness turned aside 40 of 41 shots for Trail (14-6-2-1), earning the game’s first star.

Lukas Sillinger, at 3:06 of the third period, replied for Penticton (14-4-1-0), which trailed 1-0 and 2-0 at the period breaks. Yaniv Perets stopped 25 of 28 shots for the Vees.

The Smoke Eaters were 2-for-6 on the power play while the Vees were 0-for-5.

In BCHL standings, there’s an incredible race going on between Penticton, Trail and the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (16-4-1-0).

The Silverbacks and Vees have identical records after 21 games and are tied for top spot in league standings with 33 points. Right behind, at 31 points, are the Smoke Eaters, though Trail has played two more games (23).

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This weekend, the Vees are in Washington state for two games, as they visit the Wenatchee Wild (11-8-1-1) for back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday.