The Vernon Vipers will have the opportunity to earn a record-setting sixth Canadian Junior A Championship after they punched their ticket to the 2009 RBC Cup in Victoria on Wednesday night.
The Vipers put the finishing touches on a four-game sweep of the Alberta Junior Hockey League champion Grand Prairie Storm, winning 5-2 on the road to capture the Doyle Cup. Vernon had taken a pair of games at home on the weekend before travelling to Grand Prairie, where they set up the potential sweep with a 2-1 victory on Tuesday.
Connor Jones once again led the way offensively for the British Columbia Hockey League champions, netting a hat trick and adding an assist to finish the Doyle Cup with five goals and ten points in four games. Linemates Sahir Gill and Kellen Jones also made an impact, combining for another ten points.
Former Prince George Spruce King and Surrey Eagle Morgan MacLean led the Storm with three points in the series.
The Vipers had advanced to the Doyle Cup after a playoff run that culminated with a six-game series win over Powell River to capture the Fred Page Cup. Vernon had previously defeated Penticton and Salmon Arm to earn the finals berth from the Interior Conference.
The Fred Page and Doyle Cup champions now advance to the 2009 RBC Cup, which begins May 2nd in Victoria. They join the hometown Grizzlies, the tournament hosts, to put a pair of BCHL squads in the five-team field. Series to decide the West, Central and East representatives in the event are still ongoing.
The RBC Cup is composed of a round-robin tournament that will take place over a six-day span, leading into a pair of semi-final games on Friday, May 8th and the National Championship game on Sunday, May 10th.
The Vipers and Grizzlies are scheduled to meet during the RBC's preliminary round on Tuesday, May 5th.