The Interior Conference Finals in the British Columbia Hockey League shapes up in part as a battle of Alaskans – the Vernon Vipers have four players from here and the Penticton Vees have three.
Vernon advanced to the third round in the chase for the Fred Page Cup by virtue of series-clinching 2-1 win Friday over the Trail Smoke Eaters, who had four Alaskans on the roster. Vernon’s Alaska connection rocked – Hunter Bishop of Fairbanks scored the Vipers’ first goal and assisted on the game winner by defenseman Jon Smith of Sterling, which earned Vernon the series, 4-1. Bishop’s goal was his 11th in 11 playoff games, tying him for the league lead. Vernon also includes defenseman Derek Bradish of Fairbanks and goaltender Steve Thompson of Anchorage.
Penticton’s Alaska connection is led by forward Evan Trupp, who has put up 3-12—15 totals in the Vees’ eight straight victories in the postseason. The Vees also feature defenseman Bryant Molle of Anchorage (0-3—3 in 8) and defenseman Elias Grossman of Delta (0-0—0 in 3).
A couple of UAA recruits remain alive in the BCHL. Winston DayChief registered two assists Friday in Cowichan Valley’s 4-3 overtime win, which eliminated the Victoria Grizzlies, 4-2. DayChief owns 6-8—14 totals in 12 games. Cowichan Valley will play the winner of the Nanaimo-Burnaby series (Game 6 is tonight). Burnaby includes UAA recruit Chris Rengert, who owns 2-10—12 totals in 11 games.