Vernon products Colton Thibault and Alex Gillies each scored twice as the Salmon Arm SilverBacks stopped the Vernon Vipers 6-1 Friday night at the Shaw Centre.
Connor Brown-Maloski, on a penalty shot, and Jack Berezan also scored as the SilverBacks gained their first win in three B.C. Hockey League starts.
Matty Saharchuk replied for the Vipers, who trailed 1-0 and 3-1 by period scores. The Vipers outshot the SilverBacks 34-28. The teams meet again Saturday night at Kal Tire Place in Vernon.
The Vipers lost captain Ryan Renz midway through the opening period when he sprained his ankle in a rousing fight with Salmon Arm captain Blake Box at centre ice.
“The boys played really hard tonight and this was the first of many wars we’ll have with Vernon,” said SilverBacks’ head coach Troy Mick. “We got the first win and now we have to have a short memory and get ready to go at it again tomorrow night as well.”
The Vipers, who were without 20-year-olds Colton Sparrow and Josh Bryan (injured reserve), went 0-for-7 on a rapid-fire powerplay that looked sweet but lacked finish against a solid netminder Angus Redmond. The Vipers were also outworked by the speedy SilverBacks.
“It’s definitely a step back when you lose a game like that, but it’s early,” said Vernon head coach Jason Williamson. “There’s lots of positives where guys are getting better. Obviously, having three 20-year-olds banged up already doesn’t help our new group, but that’s gonna make us better in the end, I hope.”
Please see Sunday’s Morning Star for further game coverage.