Kamloops, BC (ISN) Specialty teams were the difference as the UVic Vikes downed the Eastern Washington University Eagles 6-1 in the 2012 BCIHL Championships opener at Memorial Arena on Thursday afternoon.

The Vikes scored two short handed goals and one on the power play. Victoria opened the scoring at the 9:54 mark on a goal from Frank Gonella (forward, Quebec City, QC).

Then Victoria’s special teams went to work. Vikes player of the game Dennis Pavlina (forward,Osyoos,BC) scored on the power play with Gonella drawing the assist at 55 seconds of the second period. Then they went up 3-0 on a shorthanded breakaway by Eli Wiebe (forward,Tswwassen,BC).

The Eagles cut the margin to 3-1 when Ryan Pajimola (left wing,Spokane,WA) scored with assists going to Jake Flynn (center,Wenatchee,WA) and Shane Horlocker (center,Spokane,WA).

The third period belonged to Victoria. Pavlina scored on a short handed breakaway to restore Victoria’s three goal advantage at 2:50 of that period. That was followed up by goals from Matt Bell (forward, WestVancouver, BC) and Brent Sutherland (forward, WestVancouver, BC).

The Vikes outshot the Eagles 24-20 including a 10-5 margin in the first period. Eastern Washington did outshoot Victoria7-5 in the final stanza. Jason Margolus (goaiie,Vancouver,BC) was in nets for Victoria. Cash Ulrich (goalie,Spokane,WA) was in net for the Eagles.

The Vikes now play number one seed SFU Thursday night at 7:30 pm at Memorial Arena while Eastern Washington will play at 4 pm against the loser of the second game of the tournament which is set for tonight (Wed Mar 14) between the Okanagan College Coyotes and the host Thompson Rivers University WolfPack.