Jedd Soleway and Louie Nanne set the tone for the Penticton Vees in their BCHL Interior Conference semifinal series opener against the Salmon Arm SilverBacks.
Soleway dished out a big hit and Nanne teed up a slapshot seven minutes into the first period to help the Vees win 4-2. Three minutes after Nanne’s goal, John Siemer made it 2-0 on the power play. Siemer watched a Sam Mellor point shot go just wide with the puck bouncing back towards the net as SilverBacks goalie Adam Clark was unable to protect the post quick enough.
Travis Blanleil pushed the lead to three just past the five-minute mark of the middle frame. Blanleil took the puck at the Silverbacks blue line and drove to the net. He put a shot from the left circle through Clark.
The Vees fourth and final tally came from defenceman James de Haas who beat Clark on the blocker side, ending his night as Angus Redmond started the third period.
De Haas was pumped up about his goal.
“It’s been a while,” said De Haas. “We did good work down low and Michael Rebry made a good play.”
The SilverBacks struck twice in the final 10 minutes as Brett Fagerheim managed to find a hole through Chad Katunar’s legs. Then Josh Bowes put a buzzer-beater behind Katunar’s glove.
De Haas said it was good for the Vees to get that first win.
“From opening puck drop we were good,” said De Haas.
Asked if the SilverBacks were flat, De Haas said they might have been a little, but the Vees came out with a lot of energy.
“Tomorrow (Saturday) they will come out harder,” he said. “We have to match their energy.”
SilverBacks coach Scott Robinson said his team played “very individual and without communication.”
He was please that they held the Vees to five shots in the first period, then seven in the second. He just wasn’t happy with their offence.
“We didn’t generate anything,” said Robinson, whose team was outshot 22-21. “We have to find a way to get that accomplished. We want our team back tomorrow. I’m disappointed and pissed off. We didn’t give ourselves a chance to win.”
Vees notes: A crowd of 1,472 was in the South Okanagan Events Centre for Game 1. Game 2 is at the SOEC at 7 p.m. Okanagan Auctions will be on hand helping auction off the Vees Save-on-Foods third jerseys. Partial proceeds are going to the B.C. Children’s Hospital and the 22 jerseys will be up for bid in both intermissions.