Warriors bitten by Vipers

The West Kelowna Warriors got an outstanding performance from Connor Hopkins, but were unable to manufacture a goal at the other end.

Hopkins made 33 saves, but allowed the lone goal of the game as the Vernon Vipers nipped the Warriors 1-0 before more than 1,200 on the eve of Rogers Hometown Hockey at Royal Le Page Place.

Elan Bar lev wise notched the only goal of the game late in the opening period.

The Warriors misfired on a three-on-two going one way, allowing the Vipers to turn back for a two-on-one of their own.

Bar lev wise dashed down ice, and, using a teammate as a decoy, fired a shot that Hopkins was able to stop. But, the rebound popped back out to Bar le wise, whose backhand beat the Warriors netminder.

The Warriors best chance of the night came moments into the contest. Mike Hardman, whose 29 goals leads the Warriors, found himself alone in the left faceoff circle.

Aiden Porter made a great glove save to keep Hardman off the board.

The Vernon defence suffocated the Warriors the rest of the night, preventing West Kelowna from getting many real good looks at Porter. Shots were either smothered, or the rebound was cleared out of harms way.

"I thought we saw the best team in the league right now," said Warriors head coach Geoff Grimwood.

"They've played really good hockey since Christmas, it always seems to be 1-0 or 2-1 with them. So, I thought it was a good idea of what a playoff game is going to look like for our guys.

Hopkins kept his team in the game with several outstanding saves. He robbed Ben Sanderson with a sprawling glove save when the game was still scoreless, and sprawled to make a diving stop of a drive from Will Dow-Kenny in the third.

He gave the offence a chance to get back into the game, but the Warriors were just unable to find a way to get to the net.

"I think we have an offensively skilled group, but it's the old adage, in playoff hockey, the space gets smaller and loose pucks get tougher to get to.

"We need to find that level of grit. We'll get there, I'm confident of that, but it wasn't there tonight."

The loss snapped the Warriors two-game winning streak, and allowed the Vipers to creep to within three points of the fourth place Warriors.

Salmon Arm and Trail, who both lost Friday, are four and eight points back respectively as the bottom half of the Interior Division continues to tighten up.

The Warriors look to get back in the win column when they host the Prince George Spruce Kings Sunday at noon.



Niedermayer commits to uni

The Penticton Vees have announced forward Jackson Niedermayer has committed to Arizona State University for the 2021-22 season.

The son of NHL legend Scott Niedermayer is in his first BCHL season, coming to the Vees from the Anaheim Jr Ducks program.

In 36 games this season Niedermayer scored twice and recorded four assists. His season, however, was cut short due to an injury Dec. 19 against the Vernon Vipers.

Niedermayer will suit up for the Vees for two more seasons before making the jump to ASU, where he will be teammates with current Vees defenceman Carson Kosobud.

His commitment makes him the 18th player on the Vees roster with an NCAA Division I scholarship.

Vees win in shootout

The Penticton Vees snapped a nearly three-year, six-game losing streak at the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee with a 3-2 shootout win over the Wild Wednesday night.

After a scoreless first period Wenatchee opened scoring early in the second frame with a goal from AJ Hodges. Just two minutes later, the Wild extended their lead after a Murphy Stratton shot from the blueline was deflected off a Vees defenders leg and through the five hold of Jack LaFontaine.

The Vees would battle back through, equalizing with goals from Lukas Sillinger and Eric Linell, sending the game into overtime.

After the game went into a shootout, the first four shooters were turned aside before Luke Loheit gave the Vees a chance to win. Lucas Sowder was able to sneak a shot over the pad of LaFontaine that barely rolled over the goal line to keep the shootout going.

After LaFontaine stopped Christophe Tellier who had a chance to win it, Rizzo fooled Park with a backhand-forehand move to give Penticton another chance to end it. Matt Gosiewski, the former Vee, jumped over the boards but was turned aside by the blocker of LaFontaine as Penticton won 3-2.

The win pushes Penticton’s lead at the top of the Interior Division to four points over the Merritt Centennialls. The Vees are back on home ice Friday when they welcome the Prince George Spruce Kings who have lost four of their last five games.


Vipers dethrone Kings

The Vernon Vipers are continuing their winning ways in 2019, beating the visiting Power River Kings 5-2 Sunday at Kal Tire Place North.

The Vipers special teams dominated scoring four out of five goals on the power play or shorthanded.

Josh Latta opened the scoring for Vernon just 73 seconds into the game.

Teddy Wooding found the back of the net to make it 2-0 at the end of the opening frame.

Lane Zablocki scored in the second to give the Vipers a dominating 3-0 lead.

Tyler Ho put the game out of reach with his third goal of the year making it a 4-0 lead for the home team.

Wooding scored a shorthanded marker in the third to put the game away.

The Vipers are now off until Friday night when they travel to West Kelowna to tangle with the Warriors.

The Vipers are currently sitting in sixth place of the Interior Division of the BC Hockey League.

Vees snap Clippers' streak

The Penticton Vees stopped the BCHL’s hottest team at home Saturday, handing the Nanaimo Clippers a 4-1 loss and snapping their 10 game winning streak.

Massimo Rizzo started scoring 11:15 into the first frame after finding a loose puck behind goaltender Jordan Naylor.

His goal would stand alone until over halfway through the third when the Vees would strike again. Just as a power play expired, Rizzo skated into the slot and fired a wrist shot that beat a screened Naylor to make it 2-0.

Luke Loheit would make it 3-0 less than a minute later.

The game got ugly with three minutes remaining as Peter Muzyka had Zack Dallazzana lined up for a huge hit. Dallazzana ducked and avoided the brunt of the collision, but the Clippers didn’t like the hit and three of them charged Muzyka and jumped on top of him.

A massive scrum erupted in front of the Vees bench with Muzyka throwing punches at Connor Wetsch, who was on his first shift of the game. Both players were ejected from the game, and inexplicably the Clippers ended up on the power play.

“Things kind of boiled over, they got frustrated after we scored the third goal...the refs did a real good job of keeping it under control," Vees coach and GM Fred Harbinson said after the game. "They [Nanaimo] did a lot of talking and I guess we’ll see, we’ll be there in a few weeks and should make for an exciting night.”

Mackenzie Merrimann ended Jack LaFontaine’s shutout bid by beating him with a wrist shot from the right circle with 2:16 remaining.

The Vees would answer back however, as the Clippers were called for two penalties in quick succession giving Penticton a 5-on-3 power play. Lukas Sillinger jumped on the rebound of a Rizzo shot and put it into the net with 0.3 seconds remaining.

The win snapped Nanaimo’s 10-game streak and put the Vees in sole possession of first in the Interior Division. The Vees next game action is Wednesday in Wenatchee against the Wild.

Announced attendance was 2,964.

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