Former West Kelowna Warriors forward Grayson Downing is set to begin his professional hockey career.
The 22-year-old Abbotsford native signed a two-year entry level contract with the NHL's Minnesota Wild this week.
The NHL portion of the deal will kick in next season.
Downing played three season with the Warriors, from 2008 through 2011. He amassed 65 goals and 64 assists in 132 games with the Warriors.
He went on the the University of New Hampshire, where he compiled 56 goals and 56 assists in 144 games over four seasons.
Downing's 21 goals this season led New Hampshire in scoring. They ranked him third in Hockey East and 13th in the NCAA.
According to the Wild, Downing will report to the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League on an amateur tryout agreement for the remainder of this season.
Meanwhile, the San Jose Sharks signed former Penticton netminder Joel Remple to a one-year entry level contract.
He will be assigned to the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League.
During two seasons with the Vees, Rumpel posted a career 46-15-3 record in the BCHL to go along with a .914 save percentage, 2.34 goals-against average and three shutouts.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder backstopped Wisconsin to two appearances in the NCAA tournament and was a 2014 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.
The Penticton Vees started off the BCHL round robin with a convincing 4-1 victory over the Island Division champion Nanaimo Clippers.
The Vees, coming off a thrilling 2-0 game seven victory over the Vernon Vipers Sunday in the Interior final, didn’t disappoint following up with a great effort from top to bottom on Wednesday, and in front of a great crowd of 2,433 at the SOEC.
However the Vees did face some adversity early, as Nanaimo went ahead eight-minutes into the opening frame. Cole Maier picked up a loose puck right in front of the Vees net and snapped a wrister past Hunter Miska’s glove at 8:07.
Dante Fabbro brought the Vees back level early in middle stanza, as he wired a shot over Guillaume Decelles blocker at 2:39. As a Vees power-play expired, Fabbro stepped over the blue-line and picked the corner on the far-side; his third of the post-season.
That goal acted as a springboard for the Vees, as they scored three more to cruise to their third straight win.
Riley Alferd scored his third goal in five games late in the second, giving the Vees their first lead of the night.
Inside the final three-minutes of the frame, Alferd found a loose puck in front of the net and stretched out and wrapped it around the pad of Decelles at 17:07.
Pat Newell kept it going in the opening moments of the third, as he made it 3-1 sixty-seven into the frame. Newell was first to a rebound at the side of the net and put just enough English on the puck, to force it over the goal-line and past the stick of a Nanaimo defender; Newell’s third and second in three games.
Dakota Conroy gave the Vees power-play a much needed jolt three-minutes later.
On a rare four-on-three man-advantage, Conroy found the corner of the net from the left-circle at 4:23; his fifth capping off the scoring.
Coast Division champion Chilliwack will host Nanaimo Friday in game two of the three team double round robin.
The Vees will play in Chilliwack Sunday before hosting the Chiefs Tuesday.
The two teams with the best records will meet in the best-of-seven BCHL championship series.
The Penticton Vees have captured the BCHL's Interior Division title in a thrilling 2-0 win over the Vernon Vipers in game seven Sunday night in Penticton.
There were no goals at all until late in the third when Patrick Sexton scored for the Penticton Vees at 17:07 of the final frame for what turned out to be the game winner.
Penticton had three power-play opportunities through regulation and Vernon was given two but neither team could convert on special teams. Penticton outshot Vernon 20-16 through 40 minutes and 29-17 overall.
Sexton's goal was all they needed as Hunter Miska posted his second series-ending shutout of the playoffs. Matthew Serratore added an empty-netter in the dying seconds.
Penticton will be the #1 seed for the round three double round robin. They will host Nanaimo in game one of round three on Wednesday, March 25.
In Nanaimo, Cole Maier's goal just 18 seconds into the third period stood up as the game- and series-winning goal for the Clippers in a thrilling game seven win at home over the Powell River Kings.
Spencer Hewson got the Clips on the board 2:36 into the first and it remained 1-0 Nanaimo until Stephen Hiff equalized for Powell River after the midway point of the second. Nick Gushue and Derin Hamilton then swapped goals to make it 2-2 going to the final frame.
Maier wasted no time, talling the decisive marker on the first shift of the third period. Powell River poured all they had at the Clips in the final 20 minutes outshooting them 12-9 and 35-34 for the game but couldn't beat Guillaume Decelles to tie it.
Nanaimo advances as the #2 seed for the double round robin.
Chilliwack is the number three seed after earlier dispatching the Prince George Spruce Kings in the Coast Division final.
By Wayne Emde
The Penticton Vees evened their BCHL playoff series with the Vernon Vipers, Saturday.
The Vees downed the Vipers 5-1 before a near-sellout crowd at Kal Tire Place in Vernon, evening the series at three games each.
The Penticton win forces a Game 7, which goes Sunday evening in Penticton.
In the photo above, Vees forward Cam Amantea beats Vipers goalie Danny Todosychuk in the second period to put his team in the lead.
Luke Voltin opened the scoring and then closed it in double overtime while Danny Todosychuk made 48 saves and the Vernon Vipers defeated the Penticton Vees 4-3 to take a 3-2 series lead.
Vernon led 1-0 after one on Voltin's tally but Penticton scored three times in the second, including goals seven seconds apart by Steen Cooper and Connor Chartier to take a two-goal edge to the third period.
In the final frame, Mackenzie Bauer scored unassisted early and Riley Guenther forced it to OT with his equalizer at 17:48. Voltin's winner came at the 5:37 mark of the second overtime when his pass attempt ricocheted off a leg and into the Vees net.
Vernon became the first team in the series to win on the road.
Game six goes Saturday in Vernon.
There will be a Game 7 in the Island Finals as the Powell River Kings held serve at home with a 4-2 win over the Nanaimo Clippers.
Cole Maier opened the scoring for Nanaimo in the first but Powell River responded with a pair of goals 2:30 apart by Jeremy Leclerc and Stephen HIff to lead 2-1 after one.
Jacob Pritchard put the Kings up two midway through the second with what proved to be the game-winner. Spencer Hewson got one back for the Clips but it was the last puck to get past Brett Magnus on the night as he made 26 saves for the win.
It remained a one-goal game until the waning moments when Hiff got his second of the night, into an empty net, to seal the deal.
Game 7 goes Sunday at 7pm in Nanaimo. It's the second-straight series in which Nanaimo has gone the full seven games. The home team has won each game of this series so far.
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