Vipers lose heartbreaker

The Vernon Vipers lost a heartbreaker in the final seconds of Sunday's game in Chilliwack. 

The Vipers went into the third period leading the Chiefs 2-1, after goals from Teddy Wooding and Sebastian Streu. However, the Chiefs quickly tied it up, before potting the winner with 21 seconds left in the game. 

Vipers goalie Max Palaga, who received the games second star, made 37 saves in the game. 

Next game for the Vipers will be Wednesday when they host the Trail Smoke Eaters at KalTire Place.

The Vipers have a record of four wins and five losses to start the season.


Vees capitalize on penalties

The Penticton Vees made easy work of an undisciplined Cowichan Valley Capitals Saturday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre during a 4 - 1 win.

Cowichan opened scoring with what would be their only goal of the game on a shorthanded breakaway as Paul Selleck beat Derek Krall through the five hole. The Vees went 0-for-4 on the power play in the first, but went into the intermission tied.

The Capitals began to get into penalty trouble in the second, and Eric Linell made them pay the first time by scoring his first as a Vee.

Another two powerplay goals would come in quick succession from James Miller and David Silye.

Late in the third period is where the Capitals began to implode. Off a face-off in the Cowichan zone, three Vees players were jumped as all the Capitals players dropped their gloves to try and start fights. No Vees retaliated and the end result was a seven-minute power play for the Vees.

Shortly after that began, the Capitals were called for a blow to the head minor giving the Vees another full two-minute 5-on-3 power play. While they didn’t score, the Capitals bench continued to grow smaller and smaller as players were ejected.

With under a minute to go in the game, Preston Broadziak slashed Peter Muzyka as he skated by the Capitals bench, resulting in another ejection. Cowichan had five players remaining on the bench at the end of the game.

The Vees move to 7-4-1 with the win and now head to West Kelowna for the season’s first game with the Warriors Friday before returning home to play the Chilliwack Chiefs on Saturday.

Warriors fall in shootout

For just the second time in franchise history, the West Kelowna Warriors needed a shootout to decide the outcome of a hockey game.

Saturday's result, a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Nanaimo Clippers, was not nearly as positive as the first.

Their only other shootout was at the RBC Cup in Lloydminster two-and-a-half years ago. Then, Liam Blackburn scored the only goal of a five player shootout as the Warriors edged Trenton en route to their only national title.

On this night, Mike Hardman, Chase Dubois and Matt Kowalski were all stymied by Clippers netminder Landon Pavlisin.

Gunnar Wegleitner, Nanaimo's first shooter, scored the lone goal of the shootout.

The Clippers twice battled back from one goal down to eventually force overtime then the shootout.

Matt Kowalski opened the scoring with his first of two on the night in the final minute of the second, cashing in on a three-on-one break.

Willie Reim picked up an assist, extending his point streak to 12 games.

It's the longest streak by a Warriors ever to start a season, and four games shy of the overall club record of 16 established by Blackburn in the 2015-2016 season.

The Clippers tied it early in the third, but a little more than three minutes later, Kowalski tipped home Lucas Bahn's point shot to again put the home side up a goal.

Nanaimo got that one back 11 minutes in to force extra time.

Again, as in past games, the Warriors power play let them down.

West Kelowna hand seven minutes of power play time in the second period, including a five-minute advantage  when Connor Wetsch caught Cavin Tilsley with a blow to the head. The Warriors were unable to capitalize.

They finished 0-2 on the power play,. Nanaimo was 0-1.

Managing just a point over two games on the weekend sent the Warriors all the way down to a tie for fourth in the ultra-competitive Interior Division, four points in arrears of the division-leading Trail Smoke Eaters.

The Warriors return to the ice again Tuesday when they host the reigning RBC Cup champion Chilliwack Chiefs at Royal LePage Place.




Cents throttle Warriors

The West Kelowna Warriors came pout on the short end of a wild affair in Merritt Friday night - a game that featured 12 goals, 96 penalty minutes, and the ejection of head coach Geoff Grimwood in the second period.

The Centennials erased a 3-1 deficit with three unanswered goals late in the first period, then added three more unanswered in the third in an 8-4 victory.

Merritt opened the scoring two minutes in, but it was the Warriors who grabbed the momentum. Goals from Mike Hardman and a pair from Willie Reim gave West Kelowna a 3-1 lead 12 minutes in.

The Warriors were unable to build on that lead.

Goals from Brad Ziemer, Brendan Schneider and Matthew Kopperud four minutes apart gave the Centennials a 4-3 lead after one. It was a lead they would not relinquish.

The Warriors Got themselves into all sorts of penalty trouble in the second, and eventually, it cost them when Matthieu Gosselin made it 5-3 with the Warriors two-men short.

After another penalty, Grimwood was assessed a bench minor and ejected from the game.

That gave the Warriors a bit of a spark. They killed the ensuing penalty, then, on their own power play, Tyler Pang scored his first to cit the deficit to one.

The goal also snapped an ugly 0-20 stretch with the man advantage.

But, it was the Centennials, aided by seven third-period power play, who were able to do all the damage in the third.

Brock Baier went the distance for the Warriors, allowing all eight goals on 48 shots.

The Warriors went 1-5 with the man advantage. Merritt scored three times on their 14 chances.

The Warriors, 6-6 on the season, are back home Saturday to host the Nanaimo Clippers.

Vees business boss leaving

The Penticton Vees have announced a staple in their front office is moving on.

Director of corporate partnerships and alternate governor David Michaud will be leaving for an opportunity in Victoria at the end of October.

Michaud will be joining the newly-created Keycorp Sports and Entertainment as the company's president. The parent company, Keycorp Development, owns the Victoria Shamrocks lacrosse team, and Michaud will serve as the Shamrocks' director of corporate partnerships as well.

Michaud joined the Vees ahead of the 2015-16 season and has run the team's business operations since then.

“David has done a tremendous job in elevating our presence in the corporate community in Penticton and the South Okangan over the past three years,” Vees head coach, general manager and president Fred Harbinson said in a news release.

“We wish him all the best both professionally and personally.”

Michaud said he's proud to have helped develop the Community Heroes Program this season and to have helped the team eclipse 3,000 fans per game a year ago.

"The point I want to get across is how special Penticton is and the support they offer for their hockey club... I think the community needs to be proud of that," Michaud said. 

"I couldn't leave without thanking Fred Harbinson for the opportunity to come in, and have my role expand over the years — being able to be a governor and work at the league level to help enact some change in the league and try and grow things was something really important to me.

Before joining the Vees, Michaud was the general manager of the Okanagan Rockets in the BC Major Midget League for five seasons.

The Rocket's best season in his tenure was in 2013-14 when they won the BCMML title, won regionals and finished third at the Telus Cup national midget championship. That year, the team was led by Tyson Jost who is now a Vees alumni and current playing for the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL.

In the meantime, the Vees said they're searching for a person to fill Michaud's shoes, and said candidates can send a resume and cover letter to [email protected]

“This is an attractive opportunity that I’m confident will garner a great amount of interest,” Harbinson said.

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