FRIDAY: Around the BCHL

BCHL-180x240Tristan Bukovec almost surpassed on opening night his goal total from all of last season as the Alberni Valley Bulldogs defeated the host Nanaimo Clippers 4-1.

Bukovec had all four ‘Dogs goals, after registering six in 40 games in the 2015-16 season, to lead Alberni Valley to victory and take an early lead in the BCHL scoring race. The Penticton product opened the scoring late in the first and then scored 48 seconds into the middle frame on the power play. He followed that with another pair of goals to make it 4-0 in the second before Matt Creamer got the Clips on the board.

The third period was scoreless. Brody Claeys made 39 saves for the win, including 15 in the final frame.

The West Kelowna Warriors raised their RBC Cup 2016 national championship banner to the rafters before their home opener and then went out and earned a 3-1 win over the visiting Trail Smoke Eaters. West Kelowna’s Jake Harrison and Trail’s Tyson Slater swapped power-play goals in the first and after a scoreless second, Michael Ryan’s tally midway through the second was the winner. Reed Gunville added the insurance and Shane Farkas made 25 saves for the win.

Ty Taylor made 31 saves in his BCHL debut and Jimmy Lambert scored twice as the Vernon Vipers grabbed a 6-3 road win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Vernon led after one on a goal by Hunter Zandee but the game was tied 3-3 after two as the teams traded goals. The final frame belonged to the Snakes as they got the winner from Nick Rasovic followed by Lambert’s second and an empty-net marker by Derek Osik. Connor Sundquist had a pair for Salmon Arm.

Justin Michaelian’s third-period goal was the winner and Matthew Galajda made 27 saves for the win as the Victoria Grizzlies downed the visiting Powell River Kings 2-1. Brett Stirling’s power-play goal in the first was the only goal of the first two periods. Michaelian made it 2-0 at 12:10 of the third and it looked like Galajda was in line for the shutout until Liam Lawson spoiled it with just 40 seconds left in regulation.

Owen Stout’s second of the night was the winner and capped a wild affair in Surrey with the Coquitlam Express prevailing over the Eagles 8-7. After Keegan Jones scored 41 seconds into the game (first goal of the BCHL season), Luca Leone made it 2-0 Express only to see the Eagles respond with goals by Logan Mostat, Jeffrey Stewart, Andrew Kemp and Mitchell Williams to lead 4-2 after one. The Express scored five in the second, taking a 7-5 lead to the third. Tyler Cooper and Logan Mostat scored for Surrey to tie it but Stout answered to give Coquitlam the lead they would not surrender. Surrey had a 45-27 edge in shots on the night.

The Merritt Centennials and host Prince George Spruce Kings skated to a rare draw on opening night, a 2-2 final. PG’s Brett Mennear opened the scoring on the power play but Nick Fidanza tied it late in the first. Jamie Huber put the Spruce Kings back in front but a power-play marker from Brett Jewell drew the Cents level again. The third period and two overtime sessions settled nothing. Stefan Wornig made 35 saves for PG.

Kale Kane’s goal at 6:07 of the second would be the winner for the Chilliwack Chiefs in a 6-3 road win over the Langley Rivermen. Nick Ponak opened the scoring early for Langley but David Jankowski and Jordan Kawaguchi replied for the visitors to put them up a goal after 20 minutes. Ryan Barrow tied it for Langley shorthanded in the second but Connor McCarthy and Kane tallied 1:09 apart to put Chilliwack ahead for good. Zac Masson scored to get Langley back within one but Linden Hora put Chilliwack up two once again and McCarthy got his second goal of the night in the third to round out the Chiefs’ scoring.