KIJHL Notebook


Before getting into the KIJHL Notebook, we want to give you a couple of facts about player and team performances.

Three players in the KIJHL have earned a first star three times this season – they are Reed McLennan of the Fernie Ghostriders, Jordan Lario of the Golden Rockets and Ethan Shebansky of the Grand Forks Border Bruins. McLennan and Shebansky are both goalies. McLennan and Lario have also earned second stars once, giving them a total of four. Six players have earned two first stars as well as one second star.

There has yet to be a three-on-five goal scored this season. It would be interesting to see if one does eventually come. According to league data from HockeyTech, one wasn’t scored last season.

Bill Ohlhausen Division

The Princeton Posse have won seven of their last 10 games. Of the 48 goals the Posse have scored, 22 have come in the first period. Sean Mitchell, who is tied for the team lead in goals with nine and leads the team in points with 15 in 13 games, has three winners. Rookie Kassius Kler, who has 14 points in 12 games has two winners. Rookie goalie Ethan Rau earned his first KIJHL shutout against the North Okanagan Knights making 35 saves. Rau joined the Posse from the AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys.

“We all were competing to our best ability. We have been hit by the injury bug and some illness here early on, but with that comes opportunity for everyone to contribute,” said Head Coach Mark Readman. “We had guys step up in every way this weekend. Guys were asked to play more minutes, defensively and offensively, and fill the void left by other players being out. One was Ethan Rau. With a bit of a bug going through our group, Rau was asked to play all three games, and in every single game he gave us big saves and gave us a chance to win each night. A three-in-three is not an easy task for goaltenders, but in each game he stepped up in a big way and has begun to solidify himself as a top-end goalie in this league.”

The Osoyoos Coyotes lost both their games on the weekend, but have won six of their last 10 games. Offensively, Jack Henderson led with two assists, while Hunter Harwood and Ethan McKinley scored their lone goals. Rookie Carter Yarish has 18 points in 10 games, while Henderson has 17 points in nine games and leads the Coyotes with a 1.89 points per game average. Kenny Gerow has four wins with a 3.12 GAA and a .900 SP.
The Summerland Steam have four wins in their last 10 games, and after losing to Fernie on Friday, they erased a 3-0 deficit heading into the third to win 4-3 in OT. Connor Nicolay’s fourth goal of the season tied the game at three, then he scored the winner. He also had an assist. Austin Cameron and Kyle Flodell each had two assists on the weekend.  Cameron leads the Steam with 13 points in 12 games, while rookies Connor Nicolay and Kent Moors lead with five goals each.

“As of late, our team hasn’t been impressed with the way we have been playing,” said captain Cole Waldbillig. “With the young group that we have, we have yet to put together a game where we feel as though we competed shift after shift for a full 60-minutes. However, this past weekend, we ended our little skid with a thrilling overtime comeback win against a very competitive team in Kimberley, after entering the third period down by three. We are building on the way we competed in the third period of Saturday’s game this week in practice, and feel confident going into our three games this Sunday.”

On Nicolay: “Nics is a highly talented player, who also plays with an edge which is rare to see. He sees the ice well and has a heavy shot, which saw him net clutch goals for us and he moves the puck well on the power-play. He provides a threatening option for a one-timer. We will rely on him moving forward as a guy who can put the puck in the net in crucial situations.”

The North Okanagan Knights lost both their games last weekend and have all five of their wins in the last 10 games. Rookie Grayson Williamson led the Knights with two assists in one game, while Cash Anderson and Jake Anderson scored their goals on the weekend. 

Jake Watson was recently named to Team Great Britain as a reserve player for the World Junior Championships. 

“Jake has been a staple of our No.1 ranked penalty kill and has been chipping in offensively as well,” said the team in a social media post. Watson is eighth on the Knights in points with two goals and six points in 11 games.

The Kelowna Chiefs lost both their games on the weekend, outscored 8-3. Rookies Dain Levesque and Zack McCormick had two points on the weekend. The two assists for McCormick pushed him into the team lead for points with five. Levesque, Jesse Lee and Jack Pass scored for the Chiefs.
Doug Birks Division
The Revelstoke Grizzlies have won six of their last 10 games, and defeated Kelowna after losing in overtime to Chase. Jake Wallace had three goals on the weekend to bump his total to four in nine games. Defenceman Brandon Gallo leads the team in points with 14 in 10 games, while Carter Bettenson leads in that category with seven in 12.

Captain Will McPhee said that despite having some losses, their work ethic is there.

“Our foundation is on hard work and eventually the scoring will come once you are comfortable with the systems,” said McPhee. “Our first-year guys are doing great and contributing in their own ways. We’re excited to see how they progress and we are hungry this year. We want to win another championship.”

The Sicamous Eagles split their games on the weekend, picking up a win against Princeton in their second game. Nicholas Hughes led with three points and has five points in six games since joining the team in a trade from Columbia Valley. Rookie Zack Brandson leads the team with 10 points in 10 games. Rookie goalie Damon Cunningham has four wins in five games and leads the KIJHL with a .950 SP. He has made 171 saves on 180 shots in 300 minutes of action.
The Chase Heat won both their games last week led by KIJHL Top Forward Trevor Kennedy who had six points in two games. Defenceman Mikkel Hrechka had three points in two games. Aiden Brown leads the team with 12 points in 11 games and 18-year-old rookie defenceman Parker Garries leads the blueline with six points, all assists in 12 games. 

Head Coach Brad Fox said the best description of the team is that they’re “an ordinary group of skill set that works really hard.” 

“And when we do, we play right and we compete and we are committed,” he said. “We’re pretty happy with, because they are buying in and they understand now that there are no short cuts.”

The addition of Carter Spring from the Kimberley Dynamiters has been huge for the Heat. Fox said that Spring has been outstanding.

“When you bring character and respect into a dressing room and then add that he has played in the league for four years there is a lot to be said for that,” he said. “He has helped not only the new guys, he has just been a great asset to assisting the guys who have played in the league before. Kudos to him. It makes you better right away.”

The Kamloops Storm picked up a pair of wins on the weekend with Ryan Larsen and Jake Phillips-Watts recording three points. Harrison Ewert scored an impressive OT winner against the Osoyoos Coyotes. Two of Phillips-Watts points were goals giving the 16-year-old three for the season. Larsen leads the Steam with eight goals and 14 points.
The 100 Mile House Wranglers lost both its games on the weekend, outscored 11-2. Presley Gordon scored his second of the season, while 18-year-old rookie Keegan Landry also netted his second goal and has four points.
Eddie Mountain Division
The Golden Rockets won both their games on the weekend and earned a 5-3 win over Fernie on the road Tuesday, with Liam Furlong netting the winner. They are currently on a three-game win streak. Levi Hall earned his sixth win of the season, while Levi Lamotte racked up five assists in two games and leads the team with 18 assists. Lamotte has already set career high in points 20 in 14 games. Last season split between Osoyoos and Kelowna, Lamotte had 14 points in 31 games.

Rockets Head Coach & GM Chuck Wight said they are starting to come together and play a full 60 minutes.

“There were a lot of games where we’ve had some difficulties, you kind of lose focus and then you get back on. Recently we have been a lot more focused with more attention to detail every shift and that’s a big part of the improvement this season,” said Wight. “The discipline as well goes with that. Discipline for positional play and staying out of the penalty box.”

Wight added when they play at even strength, they are able to put a lot of pressure on teams and either get counter attacks or create turnovers.

“Levi Hall has been very solid in net and the D around him are doing a good job as well,” he said.

The Kimberley Dynamiters travelled to the Okanagan for a three-game road trip in which they won one of three games and earned three points. Defenceman Cam Reid led the team with four points, including a goal. Cash Regan had three points. Regan and Matt Saretsky led with two goals and Regan leads the Dynamiters with 17 points in 13 games. Trystan Self has five wins in nine games with a 2.58 GAA and a .919 SP.
The Columbia Valley Rockies won both their games last weekend to improve to eight wins on the season. Rookies Riley Cormier and Lucas De La Salle led with three points each. Rookie Keenan Ingram leads the Rockies with 15 points in nine games, while Harrison Aldridge is their top offensive defenceman with nine points in 12 games. Ewan McDevitt has five wins with a 2.24 GAA and a .936 SP.
The Fernie Ghostriders picked up wins in the Okanagan on the weekend and were led offensively by Ethan MacDuff, who had three goals in three games. Kaden Slobodian, Jack Karpyshyn and Kort Kisinger each had two points. MacDuff leads the Ghostriders with 21 points in 14 games, while Slobodian leads their defence with seven points. Goalie Reed McLennan has four wins in 10 games with a 2.25 GAA and a .922 SP.

MacDuff said the group is happy with how they are playing as they have only gone four games without a point.

“The league is pretty tight this year,” he said. “We’re only two points out of first and we have improved as the season goes on and we are looking forward for what’s to come.”

MacDuff added they have been very good defensively and their penalty kill is picking it up again. He added that McLennan is playing well. The areas they want to improve their offence and power-play needs work. They have changed things which resulted in a power-play goal by Dayton Nelson.

The Creston Valley Thunder Cats won one of three games last week after losing both weekend games. Luke Chakrabarti led the team with three points and his brother Max had a goal and an assist in three games. Max scored his first KIJHL goal against Fernie and has five points in 12 games. Luke leads the Thunder Cats with 13 goals and 21 points in 10 games. Parker Forrest earned their lone win, making 68 saves on 71 shots on two games for a .958 SP. Parker has three wins on the season.
Neil Murdoch Division
The Grand Forks Border Bruins split a pair of games with Beaver Valley on the weekend, then defeated the Nelson Leafs on the road Tuesday, thanks to Chad Bates’ seventh goal being the eventual winner. Tyson Tokarz led the Border Bruins with three points on the weekend. Cody Laybolt leads the team with 18 points in 15 games and he’s tied for the team lead in goals at nine with Tokarz. Ben Edwards leads their defence in points with 15. Ethan Shebansky was in goal for Tuesday’s win, which gives him seven on the season.
The Beaver Valley Nitehawks won two of their three games last week, getting a split with the Border Bruins. Rookies Beau Manegre and Eithan Grishin led the team with four points in three games. Nathan Dominici leads the Nitehawks with 14 points, while Grishin leads the defence with eight points, and was named the KIJHL’s Top Defenceman this week. 

Nitehawks Head Coach & GM Terry Jones said his team needs to start games on time.

“It was great to come back Friday night versus Grand Forks after being down 3-0, but we need to be focussed and ready when the puck drops,” he said. “It always comes down to being consistent over the entire 60-minutes.”

When asked about Manegre and Grishin, Jones said each brings different elements. 

“First and foremost, they are solid, hard-working, character players,” he said. “Beau always brings a great attitude and spirit to the game, and has shown a great capacity to make intelligent passes to his linemates. Eithan brings a level of size, grit, toughness and offensive skill. He has a great point shot, and is hungry for rebounds and net-front play on the power-play.”

The Nelson Leafs won both their games on the weekend against the Castlegar Rebels, then lost on Tuesday to Grand Forks on home ice. Seamus Boyd and Dawson David led the team with two goals. Ryan Quast, Boyd and Tyson Lautard all have 11 points, tying them for the team lead. Quast leads the team in goals with six, while Lautard leads the defence in points. Goalie Jasper Tait has five wins in nine games.

Head Coach Adam DiBella said they are a young team improving each game, though they are still finding their consistency. 

“We like the potential our group has, but there is an emphasis on maintaining our focus shift to shift,” he said. “We are looking to improve our power-play.”

The Leafs are eight-for-60 on the power-play, executing at 13.3 per cent. 

DiBella said Quast has been a “nice offensive surprise for us.” 

“He is a meat and potatoes type player and is ready every shift to make whatever play is needed,” he said.

The Castlegar Rebels lost their three games last week to division rivals, Beaver Valley and Nelson. Rookie Bradley Beals led the team with four points in three games, including two goals. Rookie Evan Calder leads the team in points with 10 and shares the lead in goals of five with Daytn Kulynych. Goalie Ethan Lawczysnki has four wins.