Vipers blow late lead in 3rd

A near 1-0 win slipped away late from the Vernon Vipers on Saturday at the B.C. Hockey League showcase in Chilliwack, where they fell 2-1 in overtime to the Surrey Eagles.

Vernon gave up a goal to the Eagles with 1:53 to play in the third, before Surrey scored to win at 2:02 of the first overtime.

The loss in extra time was the second so far this season for the Vipers, who are now 2-2-2 through six games.

Surrey had entered play at the BCHL's only winless team at 0-5.

Eighteen-year-old defender Austin Chorney had Vernon's only goal in the contest — his first as a Viper — which came midway through the opening period.

The Vipers held that lead for much of the game and outshot the Eagles handily, 36-22, all while successfully killing off eight minor penalties. 

Vernon now sits in a surprising sixth place out of seven teams in the Interior division. The only team below them, more surprisingly, is the 2-3 Penticton Vees.

The snakes now have six days off from game action before beginning of stretch of playing four of their next five games on home ice. They host the Merritt Centennials Friday at Kal Tire Place, and the Wenatchee Wild pay a visit the following night.


Spruce Kings chop Vees

Leading 2-1 early in the third period on Friday, the Penticton Vees allowed two goals in 16 seconds to the Prince George Spruce Kings, losing 3-2 at the B.C. Hockey League showcase.

The loss was the first ever for Vees in 14 games at the showcase, which has been played for the past seven seasons in Chilliwack.

Twenty-year-old Prince George forward Ben Brar, a former Vee, opened the game's scoring just under five minutes into the first period. Brar added a second goal later on, his BCHL-leading seventh in only his sixth game of the year.

Ryan Sandelin scored his third of year about 10 minutes after Prince George went ahead.

The game remained 1-1 until early in the third, when David Silye scored his team-leading fourth goal to give Penticton its first lead.

But after Brar scored to knot things up at 2-2, Nicholas Poisson scored the eventual-game-winner 16 seconds later, at 8:27 of the third.

The Vees led 30-26 in shots, including 16-6 in the third — a period they largely outplayed the Spruce Kings but were outscored in. 

Jack Lafontaine started for the second straight day in goal, stopping 23 of 26 shots. Logan Neaton stopped 28 of 30 in the Prince George crease.

Penticton falls to 2-3 so far in the young season. Apart from Silye (four goals) and Sandelin (three), the rest of the roster has combined for eight goals in the team's five games.

They now have a week off from game action before visiting the Merritt Centennials on Sept. 28. The Vees home opener will take place the following night, Sept. 29, against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

Warriors sweep Showcase

You can make it 10-in-a-row for the West Kelowna Warriors at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack.

The Warriors scored three times with the man advantage Friday afternoon in a 4-2 victory over the Nanaimo Clippers.

The win came on the heels of Thursday's 4-0 shutout of previously unbeaten Prince George.

Wyatt Head, Max Bulawka, Mike Hardman and Bennett Norlin all scored for the Warriors.

Parm Dhaliwal, Chase Dubois and Willie Rein all chipped in with a pair of assists, while Connor Hopkins turned aside 20 shots to earn the win.

Head opened the scoring on the power play 14 minutes into the opening period.

Bulawka with his second in as many games, and Hardman with his fourth of the year scored in the second, sandwiched between a goal from Nanaimo's Kyler Kovich.

Hardman's goal, his third in the Showcase event, was also his second straight game winner.

Norlin scored the Warriors third power play goal six minutes into the third before Nanaimo closed out the scoring with a meaningless goal in the final moments.

The Warriors, now 3-4 on the season, have the rest of the weekend off before preparing to host the Wenatchee Wild Wednesday.

Wenatchee beat the Warriors 4-2 in their previous meeting last weekend.

The Warriors will host Salmon Arm next Friday.


Warriors win in the 'wack'

There's something about the BCHL Showcase that brings out the best in the West Kelowna Warriors.

The Warriors won for the ninth straight time at the yearly, four-day event in Chilliwack – a 4-0 thumping of the previously unbeaten Prince George Spruce Kings.

The win also snapped the Warriors three-game losing streak.

Mike Hardman scored twice, including the eventual game winner. Mason Richey and Max Bulakwa also scored for the Warriors on a power play.

Connor Hopkins turned aside the 21 shots he faced for his first career BCHL shutout.

“I was really pleased with his performance," Warriors head coach Geoff Grimsood said of Hopkins.

"I really think Connor is a legit goaltender in this league; he has a great attitude, and was calm and cool back there today which was nice to see”.

Hardman opened the scoring near the seven minute mark of the opening period when he went nearly coast-to-coast before beating Bradley Cooper with a wrist shot to the top corner.

The Warriors broke the game open with three unanswered goals in the second.

Richey and Hardman, with his second, scored a little more than two minutes apart, spelling the end of the night for Cooper.

Bulawka pounced on a rebound for his first of the season with the Warriors enjoying the man advantage, beating Logan Neaton, who replaced Cooper in the Prince George net.

Any hope of a third period comeback was stymied by a smothering Warriors defence that allowed just one shot in the final frame.

Thursday's game marked the return of Matt Kowalski and Lucas Cullen to the lineup.

Kowalski missed the first four games with a suspension imposed at the end of last season, while Cullen was released back to the club by the Portland Winterhawks.

Brian Dale served as the backup to Hopkins. He was pressed into backup duties after the Warriors sent Brayden Missler to the Powell River Kings for future considerations.

The Warriors wrap up their portion of the Showcase Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. against the Nanaimo Clippers. Nanaimo edged Vernon 4-3 in overtime Thursday.

Vees win showcase matchup

The Penticton Vees downed the Surrey Eagles 4-1 in a rare morning game Thursday, at the B.C. Hockey League showcase in Chilliwack.

Forward David Silye led the way for Penticton with a pair of goals. Lukas Sillinger had three points, including the game's opening goal just 22 seconds into the first period.

Defenseman Kenny Johnson, a third-year Vee who last season's fan favourite award winner scored the team's second goal which held up as the eventual game-winner.

Jack Lafontaine stopped 31 of 32 shots in goal, earning his second win of the season. Penticton was outshot 32-27 by Surrey.

Prospera Centre, which seats more than 5,000, was nearly completely empty for the 10 a.m. start time — aside from scouts scattered throughout the building, as is the case in many of the showcase games. 

Penticton improves to 2-2 while Surrey drops to 0-5 to start its season. The Vees will face the 4-1 Prince George Spruce Kings at 4 p.m. on Friday.

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