Three goals in the second period led to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks defeating the Penticton Vees 4-2 at the Shaw Centre Friday night to open the BCHL season.
Elijiah Barriga scored twice for the Silverbacks, including a short-handed tally in the second, while Angus Redmond earned first star honours, stopping 33 of 35 shots.
Easton Brodzinski was a bright spot for the Vees as he scored his first two BCHL goals. Brendan Barry started in goal, stopping 19 of 23 before being relieved by Anthony Brodeur to start the third period.
The Vees started strong but went to the dressing room down 1-0 after Barriga put the Silverbacks ahead late. After a quick cycle down low, Barriga beat Barry shortside from in close at 16:36. Barriga then doubled Salmon Arm’s lead in the second as he pounced on a Vees turnover. On the power-play, Penticton turned the puck over at the Salmon Arm blue-line, which allowed Nick Hutchinson to break the other way on a two-on-one rush with Barriga. The puck came over to Barriga and he buried it into the open net at 7:29.
Brodzinski got the Vees back into the game seven minutes later on a solo rush. Seamus Donohue sprung him on a partial break and the forward held off the defenceman before sliding the puck through Redmond’s legs at 14:03. The momentum didn’t last long as the Silverbacks answered with a goal 29-seconds later. Two former Vees worked together as Josh Laframboise threw the puck to the net and Josh Blanchard tipped it by Barry at 14:32. Then Ross Heidt pushed the Silverbacks lead to three four minutes later late in the middle stanza. Heidt took a pass from behind the net and roofed it glove side at 18:41.
Penticton needed a spark in the third and Brodzinski provided it. As a Vees power-play was winding down, Brodzinski walked out of the corner and beat Redmond shortside post and in at 4:46, cutting the deficit to two. He earned third-star honours. The Vees just couldn’t build upon their second goal, despite some pressure in the back half of the third period.
The Vees will look to bounce back and earn their first win of the season on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. when they host the Vernon Vipers in their London Drugs Home Opener. It’s the first “Wicked Wednesday” of the season as tickets are $5 and beer is $3.75. Tickets can be purchased at the Valley First box office (at the SOEC). The Vees will have a special pre-game banner raising ceremony, as they celebrate last year’s championships.
In other league action, the Cowichan Valley Capitals defeated the Victoria Grizzlies 3-2. The Wenatchee Wild brushed aside the Prince George Spruce Kings at the Prince George Coliseum 5-1. Five players scored for the Wild with Brendan Harris leading the team with a goal and three points. Chase Perry made 17 saves for the win. The Langley Rivermen doubled up the Surrey Eagles 6-3 in Surrey. Ben Butcher and Matthew Graham led the Rivermen offence with two goals. Bo Didur made 33 saves for the win.
The Trail Smoke Eaters defeated the Vernon Vipers at Kal Tire Place. Rhett Willcox scored twice for the Smoke Eaters, while Kurt Black collected two helpers, including setting up Harlan Orr for the winner. Bailey MacBurnie turned aside 36 shots in the win. Jarrod Schamerhorn made 35 saves in a losing effort. The West Kelowna Warriors sent their fans home happy with a 6-4 win over the Merritt Centennials. They erased a three-goal deficit in the second period while receiving balanced scoring from six players. Daniel Mannella made 16 saves in the win.