Penticton Vees play host to Salmon Arm Silverbacks —
Penticton prevails 4-2 over visiting Salmon Arm
Ryan Sandelin potted two goals, including the game-winner, as the Penticton Vees doubled up the visiting Salmon Arm Silverbacks 4-2 on Friday night in B.C. Hockey League action.
James Miller and Eric Linell also scored for the Vees, who moved into a two-way tie with the idle West Kelowna Warriors for second place in the Interior Division, while Nick Unruh and Aiden Jenner replied for the Silverbacks.
Jack LaFontaine stopped 24-of-26 shots to pick up the win between the pipes, while Matthew Armitage was also stellar in turning aside 28-of-31 shots in the losing effort.
The Vees, coming off a 3-2 overtime win Wednesday in Vernon, had a first period to forget with the shots 12-3 in favour of the Silverbacks, who were foiled on two late breakaways by LaFontaine.
After a more inspired start to the second period, the Vees finally broke the deadlock about halfway in when Miller drifted a high wrist shot from the point past Armitage.
It was Miller’s sixth goal in six games and 11th on the season.
Unruh pulled the Silverbacks even with just under two minutes remaining in the middle frame when he took a pass in the slot and buried a shot up high over LaFontaine.
The score stayed deadlocked at 1-1 until almost midway through the final stanza when Sandelin buried a rebound off the end boards from in close.
Sandelin made it 3-1 when he took a blind pass from captain Massimo Rizzo and one-timed it high blocker side with just over eight minutes to play.
Jenner brought it back to 3-2 when he buried a rebound from in close about two minutes later, but that was as close as the Silverbacks got, before Linell buried an empty-netter with 30 second left to seal the win.
The Vees (12-6-1-2) host the Trail Smoke Eaters (8-11-3-1) tonight, 6 p.m. at the SOEC.
MERRITT 4, VERNON 3
At the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, Matthew Kopperud, Christian Sabin, Nicholas Wicks and Nick Granowicz tallied for the host Centennials, while Sebastian Streu, Ben Helgeson and Teddy Wooding responded for the Vipers.
The teams traded goals until Granowicz put it away for good with just under seven minutes left. The Vipers outshot the Centennials 44-27. Merritt (14-8-0-1) now has sole possession of first place in the Interior Division with 29 points, followed closely by Penticton and West Kelowna with 27 points apiece.
Vernon (8-6-5-2) is back in action tonight in Salmon Arm (12-7-1-0) in what will be a battle for third place in the division.
WARRIORS HOST SURREY
The West Kelowna Warriors (13-7-0-1) will be looking for their eight consecutive win when they play host tonight to the listless Surrey Eagles (6-17-0-1). Puck-drop at Royal LePage Place is 7 p.m. The Warriors are well rested following a five-day break.
Last week, the Warriors picked up a 4-3 victory in Wenatchee over the Wild, and then hung on to defeat the Powell River Kings 5-4 at Royal LePage Place.
Forward Mike Hardman and defenceman Wyatt Head were named BCHL’s Player of the Week honorable mentions.
Hardman, 19, is tied for the league lead in game-winning goals with six, while Head, 19, has registered seven assists in his past three games.
Surrey has lost 10 of its past 13 games.
Penticton Vees forward Jackson Niedermayer, left, hooks up with Salmon Arm Silverbacks blueliner Andy Stevens in pursuit of a loose puck during BCHL action Friday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The Vees won 4-2.