Junior hockey: Spruce Kings on cusp of sweeping Vipers for Cup

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

B.C. HOCKEY LEAGUE

Prince George 4, Vernon 3 (OT)

The Prince George Spruce Kings are one win away from claiming provincial glory.

The Vernon Vipers hope that win never comes.

The battle for BCHL supremacy continues Wednesday evening in Vernon with Game 4 of the Fred Page Cup. Prince George leads the best-of-seven series 3-0.

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In Vernon on Tuesday night, the Spruce Kings edged the Vipers 4-3 in overtime despite getting outshot 47-31.

“I’m extremely proud of the they played (in Game 3),” said Vipers head coach Mark Ferner. “We just didn’t get the result.”

“Vernon pushed hard,” said Prince George head coach Adam Maglio.

“We weren’t really happy with our start. I thought we really built our game a little bit. I felt we really found our legs in OT and obviously it was nice to come out with the win.”

Corey Cunningham, Max Coyle, Nicholas Poisson and Ben Poisson, with the winner in overtime, scored for Prince George. The Spruce Kings led 1-0 after the second and 3-2 early in the third.

Lane Zablocki, with two goals, and Teddy Wooding scored for Vernon.
After Cunningham opened the scoring at 15:32 of the first, Wooding levelled the score at 1:42 of the second. Coyle made it 2-1 for Prince George at 14:46, with Zablocki making it 2-2 at 18:27. In the third, Nicholas Poisson scored at 2:47 for Prince George, with Zablocki making it 3-3 at 17:40.

Ben Poisson scored at 12:07 in overtime following offensive zone pressure by Prince George.

Logan Neaton stopped 44 of 47 shots for the Spruce Kings, with Aidan Porter turning aside 27 of 31 shots for the Vipers.

“I think my (defence) did a good job keeping shots to the outside and letting me see pucks,” said Neaton. “We did a good job boxing out traffic, clearing rebounds.

“So for the shot volume, I think our defence did a really solid job.”

Prince George was 1-for-1 on the power play while Vernon was 1-for-2.

Down 3-0, Vernon is now in a deep hole.

“We gotta come out with the same effort,” Ferner said of Game 4 this evening.

Game time at Kal-Tire Place in Vernon is 7 p.m. Game 5, if needed, will take place in Prince George on Friday at 7 p.m.

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE

Kelowna Rockets defenceman named to national U18 roster

Kelowna Rockets defenceman Kaedan Korczak will soon be donning national colours.

This week, Hockey Canada announced its roster for the upcoming 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship, April 18-28 in Sweden. Korczak, who was invited to camp tryouts on April 5, was named to the team.

During training camp, Korczak played in two exhibition games as Canada defeated Belarus 6-5 on April 14, then Russia 5-4 on April 15. Korczak netted two assists in that win over Belarus.

Korczak, from Yorkton, Sask., has previously played for Hockey Canada twice. He won gold with the U18 team at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup last August in Edmonton. Korczak also played with Canada Black at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge back in 2017.

Action at 2019 U18 world championship starts Thursday, with Canada playing Finland at 10:30 a.m. PT. Canada will also play Switzerland on Friday at 6:30 a.m. PT, Belarus at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday and the Czech Republic next Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., as preliminary round play ends.

The tournament wraps up with the with the bronze and gold medal games on Sunday, April 28.

Canada has won seven medals at the IIHF U18 world championship, including three gold (2003, 2008, 2013), one silver (2005) and three bronze (2012, 2014, 2015).

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