Sunday, April 8, 2007

Trying to keep up with the Jones Boys (April 8/07)

CONNOR and KELLEN JONES are certainly a pair of "cool" customers, on and off the ice.
While others would expect two 16-year-olds to be a bundle of nerves, they have been far from it, acting with the professionalism of two veterans of the ice wars.
Tonight in Nanaimo's Frank Crane Arena, the spotlight will probably be on the "name" stars from the visiting Vernon Vipers, who will battle the hometown Clippers in the first game of the best-of-seven BCHL championship series, but the Jones Boys, up from the KIJHL's Beaver Valley Nitehawks, along with their "major midget" linemate, David Robinson, from the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets, could steal the show.
They have in the past.
In fact, Connor has scored three goals along with five assists for eight points in 10 Vernon playoff games while brother, Kellen, has collected seven points with three goals and four assists in an equal number of games. Linemate Robinson has two goals and four assists in six games.
And while the veterans such as Hunter Bishop, Andrew Coburn, Patrick Cey, Mike Ullrich, Kyle St. Denis and others have been the club's mainstays, during the playoff doldrums it has been the Jones Boys and Robinson, who have shown their savvy in thrusting the Vipers past Trail and Penticton in the Interior playoffs.
Of course, the Jones' twins were "superstars" with the Junior B Nitehawks, coached and managed by their father, Terry, who was on the 1983 Memorial Cup-winning Portland Winter Hawks.
Although they played most of the past season with the Nitehawks, Connor scored one goal and had two assists for three points after being called up for two regular-season games with the Vipers while Kellen picked up an assist in his two games. Robinson, the captain of the Rockets, played four games with Vernon although he didn't record any points.
To illustrate their nerves of steel, the Grade 11 students were being "marked" by their teacher, Bernie Pimm, in the Vernon office while a few halleujahs and amens seeped through the walls from the more than 1,200 attending the Good Friday services in the Vernon Multiplex.
Then the two retired from the tests to the team's dressing room where the veteran teacher turned associate coach Pimm gave some last-minute instructions before the Interior Conference champions headed for Nanaimo.
Then the pair took time out to be interviewed.
Although they've had terrific success during their tenure with the Mark Holick-coached Vipers, it's not known if they will return next season. They'll make that decision over the summer.
As for their linemate Robinson, they said in unison: "He fitted in because he plays like us."
Both have found the BCHL "a little quicker and you have to think a little faster."
As for their next opponent, they had the same answer: "We don't know anything about Nanaimo since we haven't played them this year ... We'll just go out and play."
Of course, the Clippers haven't seen the likes of the line of Connor and Kellen Jones along with David Robinson. With their speed and agility the Coastal Conference champions might not be ready for such a surprise.
THAT'S ICE: The Clippers boast such standouts as rookie Russell Goodman, Cody Danberg, Kyle Ostrow, Max Grassi, Mikael Bedard and Joe Bitz. They reached the BCHL final by eliminating the Cowichan Valley Capitals four games to two. The Vipers, meanwhile, stopped the Penticton Vees 4-1 in the Interior final.

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