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Sharks hold off Giants for playoff title
The Corbett Office Plus Sharks capped an undefeated season by holding off the Interior Savings Giants 5-2 in the all-Vernon Okanagan North Super Bantam Hockey League playoff final Monday night at Civic Arena.
Captain Nick Mitchell pulled the hat trick for the Sharks (18-0), including an empty netter with 58 seconds remaining. D-man Tyson Sampert drew assists on two of Mitchell’s snipes and one of Brennan Schwark’s rocket slapper which tied it at 1-1 early after the ice clean. Mitchell’s mid-level wrister snuck through Garrett Adams to make it 2-1 Sharks two minutes later. Kevin Sullivan finished off a sweet 2-on-1 with Schwark for the 3-1 lead before Keefer Kaempf beat Rhys Larsen with a hard, low wrister five minutes later.
Tyler Semeniuk buried a low howitzer at 8:40 of the first period for the Giants, who got sensational work from Adams as he stoned Schwark on a pair of breakaway dekes in the first half.
Mitchell, Schwark and Sampert frantically jumped on a loose puck inches from Adams, with Mitchell jamming it in for the 4-2 lead with 5:52 to play. D-men Jonas Ramsey, Lucas Towers, Jake Pelletier and Alex Laurilla joined Sampert on a bold back end.
Scott Horsfield’s gutsy Giants (8-10) pressed hard in the second half, but were denied a handful of times by Larsen. Giants’ d-men Noah Debalinhard and Dakota Becker and forwards Jaden Steinke and Brendan Horsfield had strong showings.
“The boys never got down after we kept getting robbed by Garrett in the first 30 minutes,” said Sharks’ head coach Hedley Larsen. “They love coming from behind and the Giants made them work very hard for that victory.”
The Sharks advance to the Valley Championships starting Friday in Clearwater.
In semifinal action Sunday at Nor-Val Sports Centre in Armstrong, the Sharks iced the Winfield Bruins 6-2, while the Giants blanked the DCT Chambers Marauders 3-0.
Schwark (2), Seb Wenger, just 21 seconds into the game, Branden Lehoux, Sean Howard and Sampert handled the Office Plus offence. Howard and Mitchell each had two helpers.
Adams recorded his second shutout in 24 hours (iced Winfield Bruins 4-0 Saturday) out-dueling the Marauders’ tandem of starter Sam Knox and Noah Foufoulas, who played the second half.
Adams and Knox traded save-for-save over the first 30 minutes, as the teams were scoreless at the ice clean. Brendan Horsfield scored what turned out to be the winner at 18:12 of the second period, snapping a shot from the right face-off circle inside the far post past Foufoulas. Horsfield made it 2-0 at 10:51 of the third and Kaempf booked the Giants into the final on the powerplay at 14:57.
The Marauders qualified for the final four with a win-and-your-in 5-3 victory over the Five Star Awards Cougars Saturday in Winfield. Cole Martin scored twice in the final period for DCT.
Landon Currie, Sam Frisby, on a great pass from linemate Chris Aldrich, and captain Zach Agar had the other goals for the Marauders. Miles Wohlford squeaked a shot through Knox’s pads early in the third period to bring the Cougars to within a goal. Nicholas Mann, on a rebound, and Darius Stone, on a deflection, had the other goals for the Cougars.