It was a victory and a little special-teams practice all rolled into one.
The Kamloops Storm opened the KIJHL regular season with an 8-3 victory over the Spokane Braves at McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre on Friday. Kamloops has the rest of the weekend off, while Spokane is in Chase tonight to play the Heat at 7 o'clock.
The Storm did a lot of things well in the opener, most notably killing off 11 of 12 Spokane power plays.
But even that wasn't enough to put a smile on the face of Brad Priestlay, who won his first game as head coach of the Storm.
"We had, what, over 60 minutes in penalties? That's unacceptable," said Priestlay, who took over from Geoff Smith in the offseason. "Playing like that against teams like Revelstoke, they would bury us."
Kamloops started slowly, with Spokane getting the first eight shots on goal.
But the line of Ian Chrystal, Taylor Ward and Blake Culbert helped turn the tide, with Chrystal scoring 4:02 into the game, and Culbert making it 2-0 three minutes later. After that, the Storm was on its way.
"The puck just seems to follow all three of them," Priestlay said. "They all go to the net and the dirty areas, and I think they complement each other very well out there."
Spencer Schoech ended with two goals, and Ward, Scott Smith, Brett Watkinson and Daniel Buchanan also scored in the victory.
Justin Loepker, Matt Thurston and Kurtis Redding replied for Spokane.
Spokane goaltender Keegan McHenry made 38 stops in the loss, while Kamloops' Marcus Beesley turned aside 36 shots.
Beesley was solid throughout, and allowed the Storm to blow open what had been a close game in the third.
"Luckily we had Beesley in net - he pretty much stole the game for us," Priestlay said. "It's something that I'm not going to stand for as a coach, and there's going to be consequences for guys who put their team a man down."