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Kelowna team wins B.C. Hockey’s U18 provincial championship

Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association Rockets go undefeated at tourney
North East Trackers player Brody Mickey is checked by Central Okanagan Rockets player Evan Nichols during the provincial championship game Thursday, March 21, at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

A Kelowna team came out on top against British Columbia’s best minor hockey teams this week.

B.C. Hockey’s U18 Tier 1 provincial championships were held Monday through Thursday, March 18-21, at the Nanaimo Ice Centre, bringing together eight teams from around the province for pool play and playoffs.

Kelowna’s Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association Rockets are this year’s provincial champs, as they went undefeated at the tourney, ending with a 6-2 victory over Fort St. John’s North East Trackers in the gold-medal game.

The final was the second game of the day for both teams, which factored into game-planning.

“We knew that if we just kept skating hard we could probably tire them out a bit in the third and I think a little bit of that happened,” said Tim Nikolai, coach of the Rockets.

He said his team got some good bounces, but earned those bounces with their skating.

Brogan Wood, Rockets captain, said it was hard to describe the feeling when the final buzzer sounded.

“It made it all worth it … we worked so hard the whole year,” he said. “It was really enjoyable and a lot of happy feelings.”

The coach said the players showed a lot of buy-in all season long and listened and learned.

“Everything that we tried to implement, they would listen and they would do it. It’s a really cohesive group that way,” Nikolai said. “It’s really fun group to coach – I tell them that all the time.”

Wood said this year’s Rockets team had a lot of chemistry, helped by having a core of players returning from the previous season.

“We’ve got a really good group of boys here and we were motivated to get the job done…” he said. “Our commitment to the team allowed us to get the gold medal.”

In the final, Christopher Kilduff led the Rockets with two goals, and Wyatt Fuhrmann, Ryder Kinjerski-Nielsen, Jayden Mackie and Dylan Toews also scored. Matthew Sowinski was the winning goalie. For the Trackers, Mason McGinnis and Brody Mickey scored.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards honour athletes, coaches, teams

Central Okanagan Rockets players Nathan Tateyama, left, Charles Shaw and Wyatt Furhmann celebrate at the final buzzer of the gold-medal game Thursday, March 21, at B.C. Hockey U18 Tier 1 championships in Nanaimo. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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