Junior hockey: Vipers on road to start Interior Conference final

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

B.C. HOCKEY LEAGUE

Vernon vs. Wenatchee

It’s down to the final four in the BCHL, with the Vernon Vipers and Wenatchee Wild clashing in the Interior Conference final.

The best-of-seven series will start south of the border, with Wenatchee hosting Games 1 and 2 this Saturday and Sunday. The series will then shift to the North Okanagan for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Vernon advanced to the third round of the playoffs by defeating Merritt 4-1 in the first round, then Trail 4-3 in the second round. Meanwhile, Wenatchee eliminated West Kelowna 4-3, then Cowichan Valley 4-2.

In top-20 playoff scoring, the Vipers have two players: Jagger Williamson, in 10th place with 4 goals and 10 assists for 14 points, and Jesse Lansdell, in 18th, with 4 goal and 7 assists for 11 points.

The Wild have three players: Lucas Sowder, who is first (13 games played, 9-11-20); Murphy Stratton, who is fourth (13 gp, 5-11-16); and P.J. Fletcher, who is 16th (13 gp, 5-6-11). Of note, all three are Americans, while the two Vipers are Canadian, with both hailing from B.C. – Williamson is from Vernon, while Lansdell is from Langley.

Further, while Americans make up most of Wenatchee’s roster, as expected, the Wild do have two Okanagan products: forwards Josh Arnold (10 gp, 1-4-5) and Nathan Iannone (13 gp, 2-2-4), both of Penticton.

The Vipers have five Okanagan products: Williamson, Matt Kowalski of Vernon (12 gp, 5-4-9), Connor Marritt of Kelowna (12 gp, 3-2-5), Nicholas Cherkowski of Vernon (4 gp, 1-0-1) and Coleton Bilodeau of Vernon (12 gp, 2-0-2).

Coastal Conference final

In BCHL playoff action on Friday night, the Prince George Spruce Kings doubled up the Victoria Grizzlies 4-2 to take a 1-0 lead in the Coastal Conference final.

At Rolling Mix Concrete Arena in Prince George, Dylan Anhorn, Patrick Cozzi, Ben Poisson and Corey Cunningham scored for Prince George, which led 1-0 after the first period and 4-0 seven minutes into the second.

Alexander Campbell, at 10:00 of the second, and Cameron Thompson, at 14:18, replied for Victoria. The third was scoreless.

The Spruce Kings outshot the Grizzlies 40-27. Logan Neaton stopped 25 shots for Prince George, with Kurtis Chapman turning aside 36 shots for Victoria.

The Spruce Kings were 0-for-2 on the power play, while the Grizzlies were 0-for-1. The attendance was 2,067.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday night in Prince George, with Victoria hosting Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Tuesday.

KOOTENAY INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

Revelstoke 2, Kimberley 1

At Kimberley, Liam McGarva was near perfect for Revelstoke, stopping 24 of 25 shots, as the Grizzlies won the opening game of the KIJHL championship series on Friday night.

Cody Flann and Ryan Bedard scored for Revelstoke, which led 1-0 after the first period and 2-0 early in the third. Flann opened the scoring at 5:10 of the first, with Bedard making it 2-0 just 34 seconds into the third after a scoreless second.

Keegan McDowell, at 5:16 of the third to make it 2-1, replied for Kimberley. Adam Anderson stopped 18 of 20 shots for the Dynamiters.

Revelstoke was 1-for-4 on the power play, while Kimberley was 0-for-4. The attendance was 1,524.

Game 2 is tonight, 7 p.m., at the Kimberley Civic Centre, with Revelstoke hosting Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Tuesday.

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