California product Elijiah Barriga pocketed 2+1 as the Salmon Arm Silverbacks upended the Vernon Vipers 5-2 Wednesday night before 1,602 B.C. Hockey League fans at Kal Tire Place.
Salmon Arm also got goals from Carson Bolduc, Ross Heidt and Chase Zieky as they ran up period leads of 2-0 and 4-1. The Silverbacks are 4-0 versus the Vipers this season.
Vernon, playing without second-leading scorer Liam Finlay (in Ontario for the World Junior A Hockey Challenge with Team Canada West), showed some pushback in the third period, getting an early snipe from Odeen Tufto before Barriga went top shelf from the right circle with a corker over Viper goalie Andrew Shortridge’s shoulder.
Bolduc bagged his ninth of the season midway through the opening 20, his shot from in tight just trickling over the goal line. Josh Laframboise drew the assist, his first of two on the night.
Heidt, a roadrunner who was dangerous all night, made it 2-0 on a gorgeous cross-ice feed by Laframboise with 57 seconds to play in the period. Heidt became the first Silverback to reach the 20-goal plateau.
Barriga, who has two multi-goals on the year, pushed it to 3-0 nine minutes into the middle frame, going right on Shortridge’s doorstep and tipping in a point shot by Phil Middleton. Barriga has six goals in his first year with the Silverbacks. He compiled eight goals with the NAHL Amarillo Bulls last year.
Viper workhorse winger Jagger Williamson, who moved to centre on a line with Riley Brandt and Brett Stapley, picked up an errant clearing pass and beat Silverback goalie Brandon Kegler with a low wrester, 63 seconds later.
Chase Zieky converted on a Salmon Arm power play 3:31 after the Viper snipe, burying a wild rebound after a shot by d-man Kodi Schwarz for his 13th. Vernon captain Colton McCarthy, a Salmon Arm product, was in the penalty box for goalie interference. Schwarz, who has a Christmas birthday coming up, sparkled on the Gorilla back line all night.
Tufto gave the Vipers some hope at 3:39 of the third period when he backhanded in a nifty pass from Jimmy Lambert, who had streaked down the right sidewall. Tufto, a Minnesota native, has a dozen goals on the year.
The Silverbacks outshot the Snakes 38-32 with Kegler improving to 5-3, Salmon Arm rested starter Angus Redmond since they open a home-and-home series with the Interior Division-leading Penticton Vees Friday night at the Shaw Centre.
Penticton head coach/GM Fred Harbinson and director of player personnel David Michaud were pre-scouting the game. The Vees are 28-2-1 and rated No. 1 in the nation. Salmon Arm is second in the division at 19-8-2-1.
Vernon dipped to 14-18-0-2 and visit the Langley Rivermen Saturday night.