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Interior Playoff Update: Backs burst out of the gate

With nearly two weeks of rest under their belts after first round byes, the Vernon Vipers and Salmon Arm SilverBacks began their playoff runs with a pair of home games this weekend:

Westside (0) at Salmon Arm (2)

The SilverBacks may have had a run of poor results down the stretch in the regular season, but they appear to have regained their mojo after two solid wins over Westside.

On Friday, Salmon Arm broke open a close game with three unanswered goals — including a pair from trade deadline acquisition Brent Vandenberg — and cruised to a 6-3 win. Matt Wray also helped spark the SilverBacks offence, scoring twice in a two-minute span in the first period, while Ron Kelly, Jordan Gagne and Cory Pritz replied for the Warriors.

On Saturday, Bryan Gillis helped his team grab a 2-0 series lead with first star honours and a 29-save effort in a 4-2 win. Conor Morrison led the way offensively for Salmon Arm, scoring once and adding two assists during a first period that featured four power-play goals.

The series resumes on Tuesday night when the teams play their first of back-to-back games in Westside.

Penticton (1) at Vernon (1)

One of the league's top rivalries was renewed Friday in Vernon in what appears set to be a long series.

Vees forward and Interior Conference Rookie of the Year Garrett Milan opened and closed the scoring in Game 1, tallying just two minutes into the first and later scoring in overtime to cue a 4-3 Penticton win. While power plays were limited on Friday, goals were not; the teams combined to go 4-for-8 with the man advantage.

A night later the Vipers busted out to a 3-0 lead after two periods and evened the series with a 5-1 win. Vernon captain Chris Crowell was named first star after a three-point effort that included a pair of second period goals while Andrew Hammond held strong in net, stopping 24 shots.

The series resumes on Tuesday night when the teams play their first of back-to-back games in Penticton.