The BCIHL regular season returned with a bang this weekend as the expansion team Okanagan Lakers took to the road for a pair of games on Vancouver Island.
On Friday, the Ian Stewart Complex roared back to life as Vikes Nation packed the house for the Vikes hockey home opener.
Vikes hockey is in front of the library rallying support for their season opener this friday pic.twitter.com/Il9VFqiRdC— UVic Hockey (@UVicHockey) October 20, 2021
It was Okanagan who made the first impression however, as Garrett Gilbertson (Oceanside Generals, VIJHL) scored the first regular season goal in team history at 7:31 of the first period. Zach Gabruch (Prince George Spruce Kings, BCHL) and Tyson McLean (Surrey Eagles, BCHL) added insurance as the Lakers and head coach Kevin Bathurst cruised to their first win in team history.
The story however was netminder Daniel Paul, the UVIC transfer, making 31 saves to shutout his former team.
On Saturday, the VIU Mariners welcomed the Lakers for their home opener featuring Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson and MP Lisa Marie Barron for a ceremonial puck drop.
#Nanaimo @VIUMariners are up 2-1 over the @OkanaganLakers. What do you say to that, @CanningsNDP!?@LisaMarieBarron & I are here to cheer on our team (and we dropped the puck for the Mariners’ Home Opener).— Sheila Malcolmson (@s_malcolmson) October 24, 2021
Great to be out at #NanaimoIceCentre tonight. pic.twitter.com/880nw0vFSL
The Mariners offence continued to show its punch, outshooting the Lakers 35-16 and cruising to a 4-1 victory. Veterans Gavin Rauser (Powell River Kings, BCHL) and Garrett Dunlop (Nipawin Hawks, SJHL) led the way with rookies Brock Palmer (Kimberley Dynamiters, KIJHL) and Parker Bergstrom (Kerry Park Islanders, VIJHL) adding to the offence. Noah Turanski (Kindersley Klippers, SJHL) had the lone Okanagan goal on the powerplay. Mariners netminder Derek Krall, an NCAA D1 transfer from University of Alabama-Huntsville made 15 saves on the night while Lakers netminder Jaden Little (Coquitlam Express, BCHL) made 31 saves and picked up the game's second start.
The game wasn't without incident as Lakers forward Riley Smoler and assistant coach Ryan Hawes were ejected in the final minute for verbal exchanges with officials, and will serve suspensions.
The BCIHL awarded Player of the Week for October 24th to Okanagan Lakers' Daniel Paul for his 31 saves and blanking the Vikes on 5 powerplays in the opener.
The action continues on Saturday, October 30th as UVIC heads to VIU and SFU heads to the Okanagan for single game matchups. Catch the action live on www.hockeytv.com
British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League
Burnaby, British Columbia
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