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KIJHL Notebook

There have been many impressive team and player performances this season and this week’s KIJHL Notebook touches on what players from the respective teams did over the weekend, including some of the games during this week.

Bill Ohlhausen Division

The Princeton Posse improved to 6-2 on the season with a pair of wins against the Kelowna Chiefs, outscoring them 10-5. Sean Mitchell led the team with five points, including four goals, while rookie Jonathan Ward, Vin Jackson and Luken Murray each had three points. Since joining the Posse from Revelstoke, Jackson has three goals and five points in three games, including two power-play assists. Head Coach Mark Readman said they lost a player early into the season with what is likely a season-ending injury so the Posse acquired Jackson, who Readman knows from when he coached in Creston Valley to fill the offensive hole created. 

“He’s definitely providing what we were looking for in terms of the offensive surge,” said Readman. “There is also the intangible things that he brings as well as he was around for a bit of the Grizzlies post-season run last year. He got to spend some time in that organization and have a bit of an eye-opener himself as a player just in terms of seeing what it takes to really be successful on every given day. He is helping bring that competitive edge to our group.” 

Austin Cameron had a big performance for the Summerland Steam as he scored twice, including a short-handed goal and OT winner against Kelowna on Sunday. Sam Dixon and rookie Connor Nicolay each had three points during the weekend. Along with Cameron and Nicolay, Kyle Tuttle and Cole Waldbillig have scored winners.

Last season Cameron took pride in being a penalty-kill specialist. Combining that ability with his added speed and confidence gained in the off-season to score and help the team win was rewarding for him.

“The group has had some success so far which I think we’re all happy with. This team has a lot more potential to grow into,” said Cameron. “The biggest thing for us to focus on right now is to stick to our game plan for a full 60-minutes. This team gets along very well, but there is room to improve our chemistry collectively as the season progresses. I’m confident that with these two attributes, our team will be hard to compete against this season.”

Hunter Harwood has five goals and 16 points in eight games to lead the Osoyoos Coyotes. Coletyn Boyarksi took over the team lead in goals with nine, thanks to a four-goal performance in a 7-2 win over North Okanagan on Wednesday. Zach Park leads the Coyotes with two game-winners.
Since returning from the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals, Kevin-Thomas Walters has seven and 12 points in eight games for the North Okanagan Knights. Walters hit the 100-game milestone in the KIJHL, scoring twice, over the weekend. Tyler Burke and Brodie Pearson have the other winning goals for the Knights.
Eight players scored for the Kelowna Chiefs, who lost all three of their games over the weekend. Zach McCormick, Jesse Lee and Ezekiel Kirkness each had two points in three games. Aiden Morcom leads the Chiefs with three points, all goals.
Doug Birks Division
Brandon Gallo, the KIJHL’s Top Defenceman last season, is half way to matching last season’s offensive output. He leads the Revelstoke Grizzlies with 12 points in seven games, including 11 assists, which is tied for second overall in the league. The Grizzlies have yet to lose in regulation time, but lost to the 100 Mile House Wranglers in a shootout. The Grizzlies are the sixth highest scoring team in the league with 30 goals. Local rookie Kurtis Kinoshita recorded his first junior goal in the first game against the Wranglers on the weekend.
Sean Smith, Zack Brandson and Parker Fournier all lead the Sicamous Eagles with six points, while Smith leads the club with five goals. Fournier and Alex Smith led the team with two points in the lone game they played last week, a 5-3 loss to Golden. Since joining the team from Fernie, Aiden Kalin has three points in four games, including a game-winner.
Ryan Larsen, who leads the Kamloops Storm with six goals and 13 points in nine games, had five points in a three-game road trip. Harrison Ewert is second on the team with six points. Defenceman Brody Johnston and Evan Clark each had three points in the three games. Nate Hoffman earned the lone win in goal.
Last season it took Braeden Huth 38 games to earn six points. He’s done it in eight this season to lead the Chase Heat. Rookie Kieran Armitage is tied with him for the lead and has two goals. In a weekend series with the North Okanagan Knights, Garrett Martin led the group with three points. Roderic May earned the win, his first win in six games.
Nathan Bohmer returned to the 100 Mile House Wranglers from the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express and scored twice in their 4-3 shootout win over the Revelstoke Grizzlies. Rookie Jack Mulder scored their other goal as they were shutout in the second game against Revelstoke. Wranglers Head Coach & GM Dale Hladun says they’re lucky to have Bohmer back.

“He played a pretty big role with our victory. Just having the leadership Nathan brings, elevates everybody in the room,” said Hladun. “We basically got 19 other players at a higher level as he was quite an impact for us.” 

The Wranglers also boosted their goaltending with the addition of Tysen Smith, who started the season in the AJHL with the Spruce Grove Saints, played both games and made 71 saves on 77 shots for a .922 save percentage in his season debut on the weekend. The Prince George product is a player that Hladun is familiar with playing for the Cariboo Cougars program.

“He was in Spruce Grove and had good numbers in the Alberta Junior Hockey League and when he became available, I’m really happy that he chose our program. For his first game to be introduced to our fans and getting a game star with Bohmer, that’s their first games. He’s big and calm and he made a lot of key saves. He shutout Revelstoke in the shootout and they are a competitive, hard team.”

Smith was back between the pipes on Wednesday night making 27 saves in a 3-2 win against Kamloops.

Eddie Mountain Division
Ty McRuvie and Cash Regan led the Kimberley Dynamiters with four points in picking up two wins on the weekend. Regan had three goals, including scoring the first goal in both games. Regan leads the team with 13 points in eight games, while Cam Reid leads their blueline in offence with seven points in eight games and has two winning goals.
Rookie Keenan Ingram led the Columbia Rockies with four points in three games on the weekend. He also leads with 13 points in eight games and has the team lead in goals with seven. Second-year forward Kayde Kinaschuk, who returned from the MJHL Titans, had three points in four games and 10 points in eight games.
Jordan Lario had three goals and six points for the Golden Rockets in their three weekend games, while Levi Lamotte had five points. Kade Cochlan and Dominic Fiorentino each had a pair of goals. Lario continues to lead the league in points with 19. On defence, Nathan Kaye had four assists in three games and now has six points in nine games.
Ethan MacDuff (five) and Taylor Haggerty (four) combined for nine points for the Fernie Ghostriders on the weekend as they split their games. MacDuff leads the Ghostriders with 14 points in nine games, while Haggerty has 10. Reed McLennan earned the win against Kamloops stopping 14 of 15 shots for his second win of the season.
Luke Chakrabarti, named the KIJHL’s Top Forward this week, had six goals and eight points in three games to help the Creston Valley Thunder Cats win three straight games. Blake Anderson had six points in three games, while Stavros Koutsantonis scored twice, including the overtime winner against Summerland. Head Coach & GM Brad Tobin has seen that there is no quit in his group. On Friday, they trailed heading into the third period against Osoyoos, and battled back, it was the same against Summerland, as he talked about them being down 3-0 and said the players found a way to keep it going.

“Not being out of a game and still having that drive to keep pushing all the way to the end is something that started to show more,” he said. 

With three straight wins, it’s a building block in his view.

“It was something that this team needed. There are a lot of rookies who are slowly starting to get the grasp of the league. Going into a tough three games in three nights on the road in Osoyoos, Summerland and then North Okanagan was big for the team.”

Tobin talked about Chakrabarti scoring timely goals and has been a major factor in the Thunder Cats securing those wins. 

Jacob Burnside played two solid games, including against Osoyoos he kept us in it. The North Okanagan game he played really well,” said Tobin as Burnside earned the nod for Top Goalie. “For a rookie goalie to get two wins on a weekend road trip is quite positive for him moving forward.”

Neil Murdoch Division
Joel Smyth, Nathan Dominici and Beau Manegre each had two points for the Beaver Valley Nitehawks last weekend as they split their games. Dominici’s came in one game and now he leads the team in goals, with six, and points, 11 in eight games. Smyth and Manegre are right behind with nine points each. Connor Stojan earned the win against Grand Forks with a 37-save performance as he’s now won all three games he’s played in.
The Grand Forks Border Bruins lost their lone game last weekend, with Jonah Smith scoring the only goal. Cody Laybolt leads the Border Bruins with 10 points in nine games, while Reid Schechtel and Ben Edwards leads the defence in scoring with six points, but Schechtel has played two fewer games. On Tuesday, the Border Bruins edged the Nelson Leafs 7-6 in overtime. Tyson Tokarz was the OT hero with his fifth goal, while Ethan Shebansky earned the win with 25 saves on 27 shots.
Lucas Byrne, Joe Davidson and Marko Pavlovic led the Nelson Leafs with four points in two games. Byrne had three goals. Ryan Quast leads the Leafs with nine points in nine games, while Tyson Lautard leads the blueline with seven points, all assists. Four players have scored winners for the Leafs.
Daytn Kulynych and Evan Calder had five and four points respectively for the Castlegar Rebels in three games over the week as they earned one win over Nelson. Calder and Kulynych, both rookies, lead the Rebels in points with 10 and eight, respectively. They also share the team lead in goals with five.