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Junior hockey: Vees sweep Warriors, advance to BCHL final

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

B.C. HOCKEY LEAGUE

PENTICTON 6, WEST KELOWNA 1

The Penticton Vees and Nanaimo Clippers will be battling for the BCHL championship.

On Wednesday, the Vees closed out their third-round playoff series by posting a 6-1 victory over West Kelowna. The win gave Penticton a four-game sweep of the Interior Conference championship.

The Vees, who had the league’s best offence during the regular season, outscored the Warriors 25-4 in those four games. Penticton won by scores of 8-1, 6-0 and 5-2 in Games 1 through 3.

In Game 4, Jackson Nieuwendyk, with two goals, Ethan Mann, Casey McDonald, Josh Nadeau and Adam Eisele scored for Penticton, which led 2-1 and 3-1 at the period breaks.

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Nick Roukounakis, who opened the scoring at 10:15 of the first period, replied for West Kelowna.

Kaeden Lane turned aside 27 of 28 shots for the Vees, with Johnny Derrick stopping 25 of 29 shots for the Warriors.

Penticton was 1-for-3 on the power play while West Kelowna was 0-for-6.

During the regular season, Penticton had the league’s best record at 43-8-3, tallying 89 points. The Vees also scored the most goals (256) and allowed the fewest (123), giving them a goal difference of plus-133.

They’ll now face Nanaimo in the league final, as the Clippers swept the Langley Rivermen in the Coastal Conference final.

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During the regular season, Nanaimo (33-17-4) finished third overall in the Coastal Conference with 70 points. The Clippers scored 210 goals during the regular season and gave up 172 for a goal difference of plus-38.

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On Wednesday, Nanaimo beat Langley 6-1 to win that series 4-0. The Clippers outscored the Rivermen 18-5, posting two shutout wins.

In this spring’s playoffs, Penticton has won 12 of 13 games, including 12 straight, while Nanaimo is a perfect 12-0. No dates have been set yet for the league final.

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE

Four Okanagan products are listed on the NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking list for the NHL’s 2022 draft.

Issued Thursday by NHL Central Scouting, the list is broken down into four sections: top North American skaters, top international skaters, top North American goalies, and top international goalies.

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Making the top North American skaters list were Jace Weir and Austin Roest, both of Coldstream; Ben King of Vernon; and Max Graham of Kelowna.

Weir, a 6-foot-2-inch defenceman who plays for the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, is the top Okanagan player and was listed at 56th.

King, a 6-3 centre who also plays for Red Deer, was listed at 96th.

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Graham is a 6-2 centre who plays for his hometown Kelowna Rockets who’s listed at 156th, while Roest is a 5-9 centre for the Everett Silvertips who’s ranked at 180th.

The Kelowna Rockets also had another player listed, centre Nolan Flamand. From Saskatoon, Flamand is ranked 218th.

Overall, 53 players from the WHL made the list, led by Winnipeg Ice centres Matthew Savoie of Alberta and Connor Geekie of Manitoba. The two are respectively ranked fourth and fifth among North American skaters.

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Savoie had 35 goals and 90 points in 65 games, while Geekie tallied 24 goals and 70 points in 63 games.

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The top-ranked North American skater is Shane Wright, a six-foot centre from the Kingston Frontenacs who scored 32 goals and 94 points in 63 games this past season.

The top-ranked International skater is Juraj Slafkovsky, a 6-3 forward from Slovakia. At the 2022 Olympics, he had seven goals in seven games for Slovakia.

The top-ranked goalies, both of whom are listed at 6-3, are Tyler Brennan of the Prince George Cougars and Topias Leinonen of Finland.

The final rankings feature the top 224 skaters and 32 goalies in North America, plus the international’s top 140 skaters and top-10 goaltenders.

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