The Vernon Vipers started and finished the scoring in Saturday night’s B.C. Hockey League pod play game at Kal Tire Place.
In between, however, it was the Salmon Arm Silverbacks who dominated.
The Gorillas scored six unanswered goals in a 6-2 romp over Vernon, moving to within three points of the pod-leading Snakes. Salmon Arm can cut that gap to one point with a win over the West Kelowna Warriors Sunday, May 2, at 4 p.m.
“We kind of flashed the potential of our group tonight. It’s been something that we’ve been building towards. It hasn’t been a straight line to get here and we’re by no means finished, but it’s a really good step in the right direction,” said Salmon Arm assistant coach Carter Cochrane.
“I think our group kind of took it upon themselves, especially after last weekend, to just kind of say ‘enough is enough. We’re not going to be able to dictate the results all the time, but we can dictate how we can play.’ For 120 minutes now [against the Vipers], it’s very clear that we’re the most physical team and we’re imposing our way and our will on those guys. It was a huge step for our group to be able to do that.”
Logan Lorenz opened the scoring for Vernon on a powerplay seven minutes after the national anthem. The lead lasted all of 42 seconds as Tucker Hartmann tied the game for Salmon Arm. A minute later, the Silverbacks were whistled for another penalty but Drew Bennett scored a highlight-reel goal shorthanded to give Salmon Arm a 2-1 lead.
Goals by Braden Fischer – his first in the BCHL – and Cameron Recchi before the end of the frame gave the Silverbacks a commanding 4-1 advantage.
Simon Tassy extended the lead to 5-1 and Sullivan Mack added an impressive goal to make the score 6-1 Salmon Arm after 40 minutes.
The Vipers pulled starting goalie James Porter Jr. in favour of Roan Clarke for the final 20 minutes. Luke Pakulak finished the scoring for Vernon two minutes into the period.
Owen Say made 26 saves in goal for Salmon Arm to record the win.
The Vipers, who beat West Kelowna 3-2 Friday night, play the Warriors Monday, May 3.