The North Okanagan Kingfishers won the inaugural West Kelowna Knights Challenge Spring Hockey Tournament, lassoing the Calgary Cowboys 12-3 in Sunday’s final.
JJ Milne paced the Kings with four goals, while Deagan McMillan notched the hat trick. Zac Milne added a pair and Taryk Filipuzzi had three helpers in support of Logan Killingbeck.
“For some reason our team struggles out of the gate and we were down 3-2 after the first,” said Kingfishers’ head coach Tim Milne. “Then the boys cranked it up a notch and scored five unanswered goals in the second. We stepped up the defensive game, attacked the puck and shut ‘em down.”
The Kingfishers struggled early in the tournament, defeating Prince George Blackhawks 4-3 before re-grouping with a 13-3 victory over the Chilliwack Junior Chiefs. The Kings then defeated the Calgary Cowboys 4-2 to run their round-robin record to 3-0.
In the semifinal, the Kingfishers defeated a tough Vancouver Junior Giants 4-1, setting the stage for a rematch with Calgary.
The Kingfishers were led by the Milne twins, McMillan and Erik Pastro on offence, all of whom finished near the top in tournament scoring. Strong performances were also turned in by forwards Filipuzzi, Owen Young, Zac Casagrande, Seth Burton and Theo Van Wyk.
Brayden Schwaerzle and Riley Cormier anchored a rock-solid defensive corps, teaming with Cosmo Wilson, Brady Kuziw and Teagan Evans to allow a tournament-low 11 goals.
Killingbeck and Austin Seibel shared goalie duties and were stellar.
The Kingfishers are sponsored by Kingfisher Boats of Vernon and feature top 2005-born players from Vernon, Salmon Arm, Armstrong and Enderby.
The 2002 Okanagan Lakers opened their AAA spring season by going 6-0 and winning the Pacific Spring Showcase in Delta.
The Lakers were an offensive force with 11 players finishing in the top-20 for points and outscoring all teams with 31 goals.
Vernon product Caden Danbrook led all players in total points, with Cole Boyarski also in the mix .
Team speed proved to be too much and the Lakers held their opponents to seven goals with some stellar defence from Cameron Moger, Tanner Brown, Logan Chapdelaine and Winfield’s Roan McCarthy. The Lakers are coached by Sandy Moger, Byron Dafoe, Jason Danbrook and Trevor Feist.
Up next for the Lakers (sponsored by Seasons Salon & Spa) is the Alberta Champions Cup, April 26-28, in Calgary.