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Junior hockey: Chiefs crush Rockets, Silverbacks trample Centennials

WHL: Spokane Chiefs stomp Kelowna Rockets 7-3
The Spokane Chiefs jumped out to an early lead, scoring three times in the first five minutes, en route to defeating the Kelowna Rockets 7-3 on Friday night.

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

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE

Spokane 7, Kelowna 3

At Kelowna, Spokane forward Jack Finley opened and closed the scoring as the Chiefs rumbled over the Rockets on Friday night.

Brad Ginnell, Luke Toporowski, Adam Beckman, Bear Hughes and Michael King also scored for Spokane (26-17-4-1), which led 4-2 and 6-3 at the period breaks.

Kyle Topping, Pavel Novak and Alex Swetlikoff replied for Kelowna (23-22-1-2), which has lost eight of its past 10 games. Kaedan Korczak had three assists for the Rockets.

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READ MORE: WHL Roundup: Friday, January 31, 2020

Lukas Parik stopped 20 of 23 shots for Spokane. For Kelowna, Roman Basran started, but was pulled after giving up three goals on seven shots in the first five minutes. Backup Cole Schwebius was 19 of 23 in relief.

Spokane was 3-for-6 on the power play while Kelowna was 2-for-6.

Hailing from Kelowna, Finley is the son of former NHLer and Rockets assistant coach Jeff Finley.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 213 pounds, Finley made it 1-0 just 1:25 into Friday’s match when he tipped home a power-play goal. Ginnell made it 2-0 at 2:44 with Toporowski making it 3-0 at 5:17.

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Topping put Kelowna on the board at 9:15, with Novak netting his 18th of the season at 12:23 to draw Kelowna within one. But at 13:58, Beckman scored for Spokane to make it 4-2.

In the second, Swetlikoff drew Kelowna to within one again at 12:26, but Hughes at 13:59 and King at 19:54 sealed the game. Finley closed out the scoring with his 12th of the season at 8:21 of the third.

In 45 games this season, Finley, 17, has 12 goals and 26 assists for 38 points. He’s listed by NHL Central Scouting as a likely second- or third-round draft candidate in Montreal this June.

READ MORE: Hextall on Hockey: the NHL’s top deadline trade bait?

Kelowna was without Nolan Foote (lower body, week to week), Liam Kindree (upper body) and Michael Farren (upper body, day to day). Devin Steffler was the other scratch for the Rockets.

Turner McMillen, the son of former Tacoma Rockets captain Dave McMillen, made his WHL debut. The Rockets drafted Turner during the ninth round (No. 191) at the 2018 WHL bantam draft.

Kelowna will visit Spokane on Saturday night. The Chiefs are 14-9-2-0 at home, while the Rockets are 12-12-1-1 on the road.

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B.C. HOCKEY LEAGUE

Salmon Arm 6, Merritt 2

At Salmon Arm, the Silverbacks scored four times in the second period in downing the Centennials on Friday night.

William Poirier, Drew Bennett, Lucas Breault, Daniel Rybarik, Luke Mylmok and Logan Shaw scored for Salmon Arm (25-20-3-1), which led 5-2 after 40 minutes  following a 1-1 tie after the first.

Payton Matsui, with two goals, replied for Merritt (10-35-1-3). Matsui opened the scoring at 1:45, then made it 2-2 at 1:42 of the second.

The Silverbacks, though, made it 3-2 at 3:05, 4-2 at 6:07 and 5-2 at 12:39. Shaw closed out the scoring at 18:34 of the third.

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Grant Adams stopped 27 of 29 shots for Salmon Arm, with Ryan Winter turning aside 47 of 53 shots for Merritt.

The Silverbacks were 2-for-4 on the power play while the Centennials were 0-for-3.

Vernon 2, Prince George 1

At Vernon, Connor Sleeth scored the game-winning goal late in the third period as the Vipers beat the Spruce Kings.

Connor Marritt, who made it 1-1 at 10:57 of the third period, also scored for Vernon (26-20-2-1), which outshot its visitors 37-19.

Corey Cunningham, at 16:03 of the second period, replied for Prince George (16-28-2-3).

Keegan Karki stopped 18 of 19 shots for the Vipers, with Carter Woodside turning aside 35 of 37 shots for the Spruce Kings.

Vernon was 0-for-3 on the power play while Prince George was 0-for-1.

Saturday’s Games

  • Vernon (26-20-2-1) at Penticton (37-11-1-1), 6 p.m.
  • Prince George (16-28-2-3) at West Kelowna (14-28-5-3), 6 p.m.
  • Salmon Arm (25-20-3-1) at Merritt (10-35-1-3), 7 p.m.

KOOTENAY INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

Friday’s Results

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  • Revelstoke 5, Kelowna 3
  • Chase 9, Osoyoos 4
  • Nelson 7, Castlegar 2
  • Sicamous 3, Kamloops 0
  • 100 Mile House 5, Summerland 3

Saturday’s Games

  • Chase (25-14-1-0-2) at Revelstoke (32-5-1-0-3), 7 p.m.
  • Sicamous (13-26-1-0-1) at Grand Forks (12-26-0-0-3), 7 p.m.
  • Osoyoos (8-29-1-0-2) at Kamloops (18-23-0-0-1), 7 p.m.
  • Summerland (19-19-0-0-4) at Princeton (23-13-1-0-4), 7 p.m.
  • 100 Mile House (18-19-2-0-1) at North Okanagan (12-22-1-0-5), 7:30 p.m.

Sunday’s Game

  • Sicamous (13-26-1-0-1) at Castlegar (11-23-0-0-6), 3 p.m.