Junior hockey: Rockets fall to Blazers in OT, Chiefs surprise Vees – Okanagan


A roundup of junior hockey results from the Okanagan and area.


The league’s worst team managed to again defeat the Rockets this season.

At Kelowna, Nathan Behm scored twice, including the game-winner at 4:55 of overtime as Kamloops downed Kelowna 4-3 on Friday night.

Ashton Ferster and Jordan Keller also scored for the Blazers (12-28-3-2), which has now beaten the Rockets twice in three meetings this season. The other win was a 3-2 win in Kamloops on Dec. 27. In the other match, Kelowna won 6-4 on Dec. 29.

Scoring for Kelowna (21-21-3-0), which led 2-1 after the first period, were Gabriel Szturc, with two goals, and Andrew Cristall, who had a three-point outing with a goal and two assists.

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Cristall opened the scoring at 4:48 of the first, with a five-hole shot, though Behm responded two minutes later at 6:31 to make it 1-1. In turn, Szturc responded in kind with a loose-puck backhand at 9:22 to make it 2-1 for the home team.

After a scoreless third, the Blazers jumped ahead with a power-play goal at 21 seconds, then a long rebound at 8:34. Six minutes later, at 14:33, Szturc tied the game at 3-3 when he netted his second of the night, a wrister from the left faceoff circle.

In overtime, with five seconds remaining, Behm finished the game, taking a great pass from the blue-line to the slot and knifing home the backhand winner.

Kelowna was outshot 43-31, with Jari Kykkanen making 39 saves for the Rockets and Jesse Sanche stopping 28 shots for the Blazers.

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Kelowna was 0-for-2 on the power play while Kamloops was 1-for-3.

The two teams are back in action on Saturday evening as they clash in Kamloops. Next week, Kelowna will visit Portland twice, on Jan. 31 (Wednesday) and Feb. 2 (Friday), then visit Spokane on Feb. 4 (Sunday).

Earlier in the week, the CHL held its Top Prospects Game in Moncton, N.B., on Wednesday, and Tij Iginla of the Rockets played for Team White, which lost 3-1 to Team Red.

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Iginla was named player of the game for Team White.

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Friday’s results

  • Calgary 8, Brandon 0
  • Lethbridge 6, Regina 1
  • Moose Jaw 6, Medicine Hat 5 (SO)
  • Prince Albert 5, Saskatoon 4 (SO)
  • Red Deer 6, Edmonton 3
  • Spokane 4, Prince George 3
  • Portland 3, Tri-City 2
  • Vancouver 5, Victoria 3
  • Seattle 6, Wenatchee 3

Saturday’s games

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  • Moose Jaw at Swift Current
  • Victoria at Regina
  • Saskatoon at Prince Albert
  • Vancouver at Brandon
  • Kelowna at Wenatchee
  • Prince George at Portland
  • Tri-City at Medicine Hat
  • Seattle at Everett

Sunday’s games

  • Edmonton at Calgary
  • Spokane at Medicine Hat
  • Prince George at Everett

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At Penticton, the Vees outshot Chilliwack 49-21 but could only light the lamp once, with Vladimir Nikitin posting a 48-save effort for Chilliwack on Friday night.

Connor Dick, who opened the scoring midway through the third period at 10:11, and Brady Milburn, with back-to-back goals at 11:17 and 17:26, scored for Chilliwack (18-13-3-0-0). Milburn’s second of the night was a shorthanded marker into an empty net.

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Replying for Penticton (24-7-2-2-0), which leads the Interior Division with 52 points, was Billy Renfrew at 19:09. Will Ingemann made 18 saves.

Both teams were scoreless on the power play, with Chilliwack at 0-for-2 and Penticton at 0-for-4.


At Prince George, Isaac Lambert tallied a hat trick in leading the Silverbacks past the Spruce Kings on Friday night.

Maddux Martin and Cole Cooksey also scored for Salmon Arm (23-10-0-2-0), which led 1-0 and 4-1 at the period breaks.

Kazumo Sasaki, Max Ranstrom and Lucas Veilleux replied for Prince George (12-19-3-0-0), which outshot their visitors 33-29.

Eli Pulver made 30 saves for the Silverbacks, with Ryan Sanborn stopping 24 shots for the Spruce Kings.

Salmon Arm was 1-for-5 on the power play while Prince George was 2-for-4.


At Merritt, the Warriors burst out of the gate, scoring four times in the first 15 minutes, in a romp over the Centennials on Friday night.

Michael Salandra and Isaiah Norlin, each with two goals, Brennan Nelson, Callum Hughes, Felix Caron and Trent Wilson scored for West Kelowna (23-7-5-0-0), which led 4-1 and 5-3 at the period breaks.

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The win also drew the Warriors to within a point of front-running Penticton in Interior Division standings.

Replying for Merritt (12-19-3-1-0), which was outshot 35-29, were Michael Felsing, with two goals, and Aidan Lindblad.

Matthew DellaRusso made 26 saves for the Warriors. For the Centennials, starter Karlis Mezsargs lasted just 15 minutes, with 3 saves on 7 shots. Andrew Ballantyne stopped 24 of 28 shots in relief.

West Kelowna was 1-for-2 on the power play while Merritt was 0-for-3.

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Friday’s results

  • Alberni Valley 4, Cranbrook 2
  • Coquitlam 6, Cowichan Valley 5
  • Nanaimo 4, Powell River 3
  • Victoria 3, Trail 0
  • Surrey 5, Langley 3

Saturday’s games

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  • Nanaimo at Powell River
  • Surrey at Penticton
  • Salmon Arm at Prince George
  • Vernon at Trail
  • Chilliwack at West Kelowna
  • Victoria at Merritt
  • Cowichan Valley at Langley

Sunday’s game

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Friday’s results

  • Fernie 3, Columbia Valley 2
  • Creston Valley 6, Nelson 5 (OT)
  • Kimberley 6, Golden 4
  • Princeton 7, Osoyoos 2
  • Revelstoke 4, Chase 1
  • Kamloops 5, North Okanagan 1
  • Sicamous 3, Castlegar 2 (SO)
  • Beaver Valley 7, Grand Forks 5
  • Spokane 3, Summerland 1

Saturday’s games

  • Golden at Fernie
  • Grand Forks at Creston Valley
  • Princeton at Kelowna
  • Spokane at Osoyoos
  • Chase at Revelstoke
  • Castlegar at Beaver Valley
  • Sicamous at Nelson
  • Kamloops at North Okanagan

Sunday’s games

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  • Sicamous at Beaver Valley
  • Summerland at Kelowna


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