Exciting win over rivals
Though they picked up two of a possible four points last weekend, a mental lapse at the start of the second game cost the Salmon Arm SilverBacks a chance for an even better outcome.
The thrill of a 2-1 overtime road win over the Vernon Vipers was followed by something of a letdown at the start of the next game against the Trail Smoke Eaters and a 5-2 loss at home was the result.
“Against Trail, we lost our structure for a period of time and it cost us the hockey game,” said ’Backs head coach Scott Robinson. “It was like two different teams; we came off a big high of a win on the road in Vernon and forgot what made us successful. We got behind and Trail played a good road game, kept it simple and made the lead stand up.”
Goals by Luke Sandler and Connor Collett put the Smokies up 2-0 before the game was seven minutes old. Harlan Orr replied for the Gorillas but that was as close as the game ever got. Brent Baltus, with his first of two, put the visitors back up a pair shortly after Orr’s goal.
Robinson did like the response of his team in the second and third periods as they outshot Trail 23-13 in that span, but former SilverBacks affiliate player Lyndon Stanwood stood his ground in the Smokies’ crease.
“Other than the start, the rest of the game I felt like we controlled the issue,” said Robinson. “We all know the percentages of teams scoring first going on to win the game. And Stanwood was very good in net for them too.”
On Friday at Wesbild Centre in Vernon, Adam Tambellini put the home side up with a power-play goal in the first, but Brandon Mistal tied it with a goal nine minutes into the second. That was all the scoring until double overtime when Carter Lukenda buried a rebound chance from the side of the net.
Adam Clark made 37 saves for the win. It was Salmon Arm’s fourth overtime triumph this season and third against the Vipers.
“It’s always good to win against your rival,” said Robinson. “It started with very good goaltending, good structure and we worked very, very hard. That’s the recipe for us to be successful. We seem to play our best hockey against the Vipers.”
In the Trail game, three affiliate players (Connor Brown-Maloski, Connor Fynn and Spencer Hewson) suited up as Riley Hunt, Anthony Croston and Josh Bowes are all out with various ailments. The ’Backs also lost captain Bennett Hambrook early against Trail but Robinson says he is day-to-day.
“We wanted to take a look at a few guys and they acquitted themselves well,” said Robinson of his call-ups.”
Next up is a Friday visit to West Kelowna. On Saturday, Salmon Arm hosts the Nanaimo Clippers.