The Kelowna Sparta spoiled the Williams Lake Stampeders’ chance at playing in the Coy Cup Senior Men’s AA championship taking a 3-2 semifinal win over the hometown team to advance to tomorrow night’s final.
“It was a pretty even game both ways. Just look at the shots on goal,” said Williams Lake Stampeders president Kelly Kohlen following the game as shots narrowly favoured Kelowna, 31-30. “Just the bounces never went our way.”
Williams Lake got on the board first just three and a half minutes into the contest on a snipe from a streaking Justin Bond down the right-wing side.
Kelowna would tie it up at 1-1 after Tye Moses of Williams Lake scored with just over seven minutes to play in the frame.
Aaron Baut made it 2-1 Kelowna with just 1:39 remaining in the second, fooling a screened Stamps’ netminder Justin Foote on a wrister from inside the blueline, before Brandon Redschlag gave the Sparta a two-goal cushion with 3:58 to play in the third.
Williams Lake would cut the deficit to one with 45 seconds left on a goal from Andrew Fisher, but weren’t able to find the tying marker as time wound down.
“It’s disappointing, but I think the boys on both teams played a really good game,” said Stampeders past president Marko Zurak.
“We played them four times this year and they were all close games,” Kohlen added.
Both Kohlen and Zurak thanked the overwhelming support the team received from the fans, and the tournament sponsors, throughout the week as all of the team’s games packed the stands at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex to near capacity.
“It was a success again,” Kohlen said of hosting the tournament.
“Our fans and our sponsors — we can’t give them enough credit,” Zurak said. “Without the players, the fans and the sponsors we don’t have any of this.
“Kelly and I would both also like to thank all the volunteers who helped out this week. They did a great job.”
Williams Lake finished the four-team tournament with round robin wins over the Terrace River Kings and, Thursday, a 6-4 win over Kelowna. Wednesday, they tied Dawson Creek 2-2.
The Canucks, meanwhile, are waiting in the wings after receiving a bye to Saturday’s championship after finishing the round robin with two wins and a tie.
Saturday’s championship gets underway at 8 p.m. at the CMRC.