Kelowna Sparta

Senior AAA Hockey

Kelowna Sparta Senior AAA Hockey

Senior AA Sparta earn another shot at Coy Cup hockey title

A pair of wins over the visiting Powell River Regals on the weekend has earned the Kelowna Sparta a berth in the Coy Cup tournament in Williams Lake next month.

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Sparta edged the Regals 5-4 on Friday and cruised to a 10-4 victory on Saturday at the CNC to win the senior AA independent hockey league’s best-of-three semifinal in two straight games.

Meanwhile, Sparta, scheduled to meet the North Island Capitals in the league final series, received word on Monday the Vancouver Island team is forfeiting the best-of-three affair, leaving Sparta with the fourth berth at the Coy Cup tournament that will determine B.C.’s senior AA champion.

“North Island just felt they couldn’t put together a competitive team against us, especially for the long road trip,” explained Sparta’s Kelly Loudoun, whose team had won three of four games against the Capitals this season. “It’s disappointing because we could have used the good competition. As it is now, we’ll be just practising until the Coy Cup tournament (March 27-31).

Sparta, runners-up at the Coy Cup last season, will be joined in Williams Lake by the hosts, as well as Central Interior Hockey League-champion Terrace, and Dawson Creek of the northern B.C. independent league.

The provincial tournament begins with a round-robin format, with the top team earning a bye into the final and the second- and third-place teams meeting to determine the other finalist.

A three-goal performance by Marcel Fuchs — including the overtime winner — led Sparta to the 5-4 win on Friday. Taylor Jordan and Alex Ozielski added single goals for the hosts while Shane Mainprize stopped 32 of 36 shots for the goaltending win.

On Saturday, Sparta trailed 2-0 until midway through the first period but pulled even by the end of 20 minutes and then scored five unanswered goals in the second on the way to clinching the series.

Loudoun scored three times to lead Kelowna’s scoring parade while Tylor Branzsen added a pair of goals to go along with singles from Jordan, Lane Stopanski, Aaron Buat, Dave Mann and Sasha Golin. Mainprize again earned the win in goal, stopping 39 of 43 Powell River shots.

Photo Gallery (75 photos) on KelownaNowSports Facebook page

-Lorne White, KelownaNow

Senior Hockey: Sparta ousts Powell River, off to Coy Cup

Marcel Fuchs and Kelly Loudoun scored hat-tricks to send Kelowna Sparta back to the Coy Cup senior men’s AA hockey championship tournament, to be held March 27-31 in Williams Lake.

Fuchs netted three goals, including the overtime winner, as Sparta prevailed 5-4 over the visiting Powell River Regals this past Friday at CNC in the opener of their semifinal series.

Loudoun matched that feat in a more lopsided 10-4 victory on Saturday as Sparta advanced to the Coy Cup for the second year in a row. The Kelowna club finished as runner-up to the host Whitehorse Huskies last year in Sparta’s inaugural season.

Shane Mainprize backstopped both wins for Sparta, making 32 and 39 saves, respectively.

On Friday, Taylor Jordan opened the scoring for Kelowna in the opening frame and Fuchs’ first goal — a power-play marker — made it 2-1 through two periods.

The teams traded four goals in the third period, with Alex Dzielski scoring the 3-2 goal on a power play before Fuchs’ second go-ahead goal put Sparta up 4-3.

Powell River pulled even for the fourth time late in regulation, but Fuchs put on the finishing touch at 11:19 of the first overtime period.

Saturday’s rematch started off close again, with the teams tied 2-2 after the first period — Sparta getting goals from Tylor Branzsen and Layne Stopanski.

However, Kelowna pulled away with five unanswered goals in the second period, including Loudoun’s first of the night that made it 6-2. Aaron Buat, Jordan, Dave Mann and Branzsen, with his second of the game, also scored in that dominant middle frame.

Loudoun scored again on the first shift of the third period — just 15 seconds in — and completed his hat-trick at 11:30 in running the rout up to 9-2.

Powell River pushed back with two late goals before Sasha Golin rounded out the scoring for Sparta in the final minute.

The Coy Cup will be a four-team tournament featuring Sparta, host Williams Lake, Dawson Creek and Terrace.

-Larry Fisher, The Daily Courier