KIBIHT: Tier 2 Raiders eye playoff berth

The Kamloops Players Bench Raiders found their way into the win column in the Tier 2 Division of the Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament on Thursday.

The Raiders hammered Team Seattle 7-1 at Interior Savings Centre to improve to 1-1. The Raiders opened the 16-team Tier 2 Division with a 6-5 loss to the North Shore Winter Club on Wednesday, and will finish their round-robin today, 7:30 a.m., against the Sherwood Park Leafs at McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre. A victory will move the Raiders into the quarterfinals, with a chance to reach Sunday's final.

The Raiders put away Thursday's game with a four-goal first period - Garrett Kellington, Carter Eschyschyn, Gabe Graham-Boyde and Mark Takeuchi struck - before Conan Poss and Brett Olstad made it 6-0 in the second period. After Eschyschyn made it 7-0 in the third period, Seattle's Jake McNeil spoiled Kendra Woodland's shutout bid with eight minutes remaining.

Kellington ended the night with three points, as he also picked up two assists, and Rylan Van Unen had three helpers.

There are four pools in the Tier 2 Division, and the top two teams in each will move into the quarterfinals. Sherwood Park beat Seattle 3-2 on Wednesday but lost 9-2 to North Shore on Thursday.

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There were some blowouts in the Tier 2 Division on Thursday, with the Penticton Vees defeating the North Delta Sun Devils 7-0, thanks to a two-goal, three-assist effort from Josh Maser, and the Kelowna Rockets knocking off the Williams Lake Timberwolves 9-4, with Taylor Cooper striking three times for Kelowna.

Vernon's Reed Cashato had a goal and three helpers as the Vipers pounded the Spokane Chiefs 8-0, while North Shore's Dominic Davis, Douglas Kuo and Ben Landon each scored twice in a 9-2 victory over Sherwood Park. The Mission Stars defeated the Prince George Cougars 6-4 thanks to three assists from Nate Castonguay, with Evan Hughes's hat trick helping the Salmon Arm Silvertips over Penticton's Okanagan Hockey Academy, 6-3.

Ben Meng was credited with the shootout winner as Kelowna's Pursuit of Excellence defeated the Vancouver Thunderbirds, 6-5.

In the late games, the Vees skated past Williams Lake 5-1 and Prince George needed a shootout to defeat OHA, 2-1.

Salmon Arm and Mission were playing each late last night, as were Kelowna and North Delta - results were unavailable at press time.

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The Tier 1 Division produced a few closer games.

OHA defeated the Kelowna Rockets 2-1, with Shane Farkas backstopping the victory, while the Airdrie Xtreme got the shootout winner from Brodi Stuart in a 4-3 victory over the Langley Eagles.

Ian Scott had the shutout as the Calgary Northstar Sabres defeated the Alaska Aces 3-0, and James Ambrose and Michael Hua each had two goals and two assists to lead the Vancouver Thunderbirds over the Cloverdale Colts 8-2.

POE got three goals and three assists from Owen Hardy in a 12-1 victory over the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies.

OHA, POE, Kamloops and Airdrie are 2-0 and guaranteed quarterfinal berths heading into today's action.

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The Tier 2 Division will kick off its playoff round at noon, with the Tier 1 Division to start at 5 p.m. All four rinks - two at McArthur Island, along with ISC and Memorial Arena - will be used for the playoffs, which continue through Saturday. The championship games are scheduled for Sunday at 10 a.m. (Tier 2) and 2 p.m. (Tier 1). Both finals will be played on McArthur Island's Olympic side.

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