The Salmon Arm Silverbacks did something no team in the BCHL has done at the South Okanagan Events Centre — leave with two points.
As hard as the Vees tried, including pulling goalie Zachary Driscoll to give themselves a six-on-four edge on a late third period power-play, they bowed to the Silverbacks 4-2 Saturday in front of a crowd of 2,612. The Vees record at home is now 19-1-0-1.
“I thought we played alright. They are a good team,” said Vees forward Nicholas Jones, who had given the home team a 2-1 lead on the power-play. “Can’t play alright when they are a great team. We got to play better.”
After a scoreless opening frame, Jared Turcotte and Elijah Barriga set up Chase Zieky for his 17th goal of the season. Zieky was able to get around Driscoll and slide the puck past him. That lead didn’t last long after the Silverbacks took back-to-back penalties, the second giving the Vees a two-man advantage with a minute remaining on the first penalty. A little over two minutes after Zieky’s goal, Scott Conway, the game’s second star, buried his 39th of the season. The second penalty was a double-minor for high sticking and Jones scored his 11th, 2:23 later. The Silverbacks used a power-play of their own to strike back. Passing the puck around high in the zone, Carson Bolduc got the puck back from Taro Hirose and fired a shot top corner past Driscoll’s glove at 11:18.
The Vees opened the third period with a power-play but couldn’t capitalize. At 13:21, Ross Heidt, the games third star, provided the winner when he made his way into the high slot and fired a shot past Driscoll, who finished with 25 saves. When asked about the play on the winning goal, Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson said there wasn’t anything his team could have done different. Kodi Schwarz iced the game with an empty-net tally at 18:47.
“I thought we played hard for big chunks of the game,” said Harbinson. “It was two good teams going at it. We didn’t capitalize. We hit the post I think three times. We gave up a tough goal in the third period. It ended the game for us.
“We had opportunities to blow the game open,” continued Harbinson. “Their goaltender (Angus Redmond, 39 saves and the first star) played much better than he did a week ago.”
The Vees clinched a playoff berth in a 4-1 win over Vernon on Friday.
In other action around the BCHL, Tanner Campbell scored twice, including the winner, as the Prince George Spruce Kings went 3-for-7 on the power play on the way to a 4-3 road win over the Coquitlam Express. Adam Brubacher and Campbell had goals in the first and Corey Hoffman made it 3-0 for the Spruce Kings in the second. Coquitlam’s Owen Stout got the Express on the board in the third and after Campbell’s second tally, Blake Hayward and Taylor Green got the Express within one. Affiliate goalie Joseph McLeod made 23 saves for his first BCHL win.
Jordan Kawaguchi’s goal 2:55 into double overtime gave the Chilliwack Chiefs a 2-1 win over the visiting Trail Smoke Eaters. Mitch Skapski for the Chiefs and Nick Halloran for the Smokies traded goals in the second for the only scoring of regulation time. Nothing was settled until 3-0n-3 play when Kawaguchi finished a play set up by Jesse Lansdell and Dennis Cholowski. Aidan Pelino made 37 saves for the Chiefs while Bailey MacBurnie stopped 40.
Odeen Tufto set up three goals for Vernon and Brendan Barry made 36 saves, helping the Vipers to a 6-3 road win over the Merritt Centennials. The teams traded two goals aside in the first, but goals in the second by Riley Brandt, Hunter Zandee (game-winner) and Joe Sacco put the Snakes ahead for good. Brett Jewell had a response goal in the third for Merritt but Jimmy Lambert’s second of the night capped things off for Vernon.
Sheldon Rempal scored twice, giving him 47 on the season, to lead the Nanaimo Clippers to a 3-2 home win over the Powell River Kings. After Will Reilly and Rempal put the Clips up a pair in the first, Carter Turnbull and Chris Protopoulos responded for the Kings in the second. The game remained even until 15:09 of the third when Rempal’s second of the night won it. Evan Johnson made 28 saves for the win.
After falling behind by two in the first period, the Cowichan Valley Capitals responded with five unanswered tallies to take a 5-2 home win over the Langley Rivermen. Zach Bleuler and Justin Szeto put the visitors ahead but they’d be the only ones to beat Storm Phaneuf who finished with 31 saves for the win. Matt Hudie and Josh Adkins scored to tie it heading to the first intermission and Kade Kehoe scored a pair in the second to put the Caps in control. Luke Santerno rounded out the scoring with a goal in the third.