The Vernon Vipers started Pod Season on a strong note with a 4-1 win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Friday night.
The BC Hockey League returned to action April 2, with Vernon, Salmon Arm and the West Kelowna Warriors forming one of a handful of pods that will play one another exclusively in a very different season format amid COVID-19.
Ryan Shostak and Jack Glen had two points apiece for the Vipers in the season opener at Kal Tire Place, which will be home to the local pod for the next six weeks.
The Silverbacks were the first to strike early in the first period as Drew Bennett was first to a rebound and put it past Vipers goaltender James Porter Jr., who made 32 saves off 32 shots on the night for a sparkling .970 save percentage.
The Vipers responded quickly. Two minutes after his team gave up the lead, Ryan Shostak finished off a nice passing play to tie the game 1-1. A neutral-zone turnover then saw Reagan Milburn set up Logan Lorenz for his first BCHL goal to give the Snakes a 2-1 advantage after one.
Salmon Arm tilted the ice their way for much of the second period, but saves from Porter Jr. would be the difference maker in the middle frame.
The Vipers capped off the night in the third with a powerplay marker from Cam MacDonald — who had nine points for the team in just five games in last year’s playoffs — and an empty-net goal from his linemate, Jack Glen.
The Vipers return to action Sunday, April 4 versus the Warriors, who are playing the Silverbacks tonight at 6 p.m.