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Junior hockey: Rockets to host Rebels, Vees fall to Express

The Kelowna Rockets, seen here celebrating a goal, will host the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday night.
The Kelowna Rockets, seen here celebrating a goal, will host the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday night. Marissa Baecker / Kelowna Rockets

A roundup of results from junior hockey teams from the Okanagan and area.

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE

Red Deer at Kelowna

Three days after snapping a five-game losing streak, the Kelowna Rockets are back in action on Saturday night, as they host the Red Deer Rebels.

On Wednesday, Kelowna clubbed visiting Tri-City 8-3, with Pavel Novak posting a five-point night for the Rockets with a goal and four assists.

Matthew Wedman also had a superb outing with a hat trick and an assist, as the Rockets (24-25-1-2) posted their first win in February and fifth victory since Jan. 1.

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READ MORE: WHL Roundup: Friday, February 14, 2020

In B.C. Division standings, the Rockets are fourth with 51 points, 19 behind the front-running Kamloops Blazers (33-16-3-1), who have 70 points. Victoria (29-19-4-1) is second with 63, while Vancouver (27-20-3-2) is third with 59.

Kelowna has 16 games remaining, and is currently slotted into the seventh playoff seed out of eight in the Western Conference. Seattle (21-25-3-3, 48 pts.) will likely be the eighth seed, with Prince George (16-28-3-4, 39 pts.) and Tri-City (16-31-4-1, 37 pts.) seemingly out of post-season contention.

The WHL playoff structure has the conference’s top two teams respectively playing the seventh and eighth seeds. The other two series will see division battles, with the second-place team playing the third-place team. In B.C., this will likely mean second-place Victoria playing third-place Vancouver.

Should Kelowna overtake Vancouver for third – a tall order, given the Giants’ eight-point lead with only 16 games left for Kelowna – the Rockets would play Victoria instead of either top-seeded Portland (38-7-3-4, 83 pts.) or Kamloops in the first round.

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In WHL action on Friday night, Red Deer (18-31-2-3, 41 pts.) fell 5-3 to Kamloops, with the Blazers outshooting the Rebels 30-22. Also, Vancouver beat Victoria 5-2.

Red Deer is 0-3 on its five-game swing through B.C., having also lost to Victoria and Vancouver.

In other action for Saturday, Victoria visits Kamloops while Vancouver visits Seattle.

On Monday, Kelowna will host Calgary (29-18-4-1, 63 pts.) in a 2 p.m. match on Family Day. The Hitmen start a five-game swing through B.C. in Prince George on Saturday night.

B.C. HOCKEY LEAGUE

Express 3, Vees 2

At Penticton, Coquitlam goalie Clay Stevenson posted a 41-save effort as the Express held off the Vees in a battle of the league’s top two teams on Friday night.

Adam Trotman, Cooper Connell and Greg Lapointe scored for Coquitlam (44-8-1-1), which was outshot 43-30.

Trotman opened the scoring midway through the first and Lapointe closing out the scoring early in the third. Connell made it 2-2 at 8:07 of the second after Penticton took a 2-1 lead early in the middle frame.

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Lukas Sillinger, who made it 1-1 at 10:59 of the first, and Jay O’Brien, who gave the Vees a 2-1 lead at 5:23 of the second, replied for Penticton (41-12-1-1). Yaniv Perets stopped 27 of 30 shots for the home team.

The Express were 2-for-5 on the power play while the Vees were 1-for-4.

Wild 5, Vipers 2

At Vernon, Sam Morton had a three-point night for Wenatchee as the Wild jumped out to an early lead, then added more in a three-goal victory over the Vipers.

Noah Lugli, Dylan Herzog and Ethan Wolthers, with two goals, also scored for Wenatchee (28-22-3-1), which led 2-0 and 4-1 at the period breaks.

Dawson Holt scored both goals for Vernon (28-23-2-1). He made it 2-1 at 4:28 of the second period, then 4-2 at 14:21 of the third.

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Daniel Chenard stopped 27 of 29 shots for the Wild. For the Vipers, Reilly Herbst turned aside 32 of 36 shots.

Wenatchee was 1-for-3 on the power play while Vernon was 0-for-2.

Saturday’s Games

  • Alberni Valley (25-25-1-2) at Penticton (41-12-1-1), 6 p.m.
  • West Kelowna (14-31-6-3) at Vernon (28-23-2-1), 6 p.m.
  • Salmon Arm (28-20-4-1) at Merritt (11-38-1-3), 7 p.m.

Sunday’s Game

  • Wenatchee (28-22-3-1) at Salmon Arm, 7 p.m.

KOOTENAY INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

Friday’s Results

  • Chase 3, Princeton 1
  • Castlegar 6, Grand Forks 3
  • Kamloops 4, Sicamous 1
  • Revelstoke 3, 100 Mile House 2 (OT)
  • Kelowna 3, Summerland 1
  • North Okanagan 4, Osoyoos 3

Saturday’s Games

  • Kelowna (31-11-2-0-2) at Revelstoke (37-6-1-0-3), 7 p.m.
  • Sicamous (15-29-1-0-1) at Chase (28-15-1-0-2), 7 p.m.
  • North Okanagan (13-25-1-0-5) at 100 Mile House (21-19-2-0-2), 7 p.m.
  • Princeton (25-15-1-0-5) at Osoyoos (8-34-1-0-2), 7:35 p.m.

Sunday’s Game

  • North Okanagan at Kamloops (20-26-0-0-1), 5 p.m.