’Backs split Island road games

’Backs split Island road games

A road trip to Vancouver Island yielded a win, a loss and a schedule shuffle due to road conditions.

A road trip to Vancouver Island yielded a win, a loss and a schedule shuffle due to poor road conditions for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

The ’Backs were stranded in Merritt as the Coquihalla Highway was closed due to a winter storm.

When the projected reopening time was pushed back to 2 p.m., head coach Misko Antisin and the team knew they would not be making it to Duncan in time for their game against the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday night.

The game against the Capitals was deferred until Feb. 22.

Once they finally made it onto the Vancouver Island ice, the Silverbacks shut out the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in Port Alberni on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Carson Bolduc got the Silverbacks on the scoreboard 10 minutes after the opening whistle, assisted by Elijiah Barriga and Carter Stephenson.

Both teams’ goaltenders played a solid second period, facing numerous shots but allowing no goals.

Marcus Mitchell added a second marker for the ’Backs early in the third frame.

Before the end of the period, Bolduc scored his second of the game and 16th of the season to wrap up a 3-0 shutout.

Bolduc was named the game’s first star and Silverbacks goalie Nic Tallarico was the second star for his perfect 34-save performance.

Antisin praised Tallarico’s performance against Alberni Valley and also the work that goaltending coach Lyle Mast has done with both of the team’s goalies.

“The three-nothing win was a good game for our group, we played very well and it was fun,” Antisin said.

Sunday’s game, against the Victoria Grizzlies, didn’t go Salmon Arm’s way.

The Grizzlies came out strong, scoring two goals within 30 seconds of each other in the first period.

Victoria scored again early in the second before Bolduc got the ’Backs on the scoreboard with an unassisted goal.

Victoria’s Lucas Clark stretched his team’s lead to 4-1 before the halfway point of the second period. Nick Guiney scored again for the Grizzlies in the final minutes of the period.

Salmon Arm made a valiant attempt to come back from the four-goal deficit in the final period.

Jared Turcotte got the puck past Victoria goaltender Tony Rehm three-and-a-half minutes into the third.

With the clock winding down, Bolduc scored again, assisted by Josh Latta.

Bolduc’s was the last goal of the game, leaving the final score 5-3.

“We played an OK first seven minutes but their speed and violence took over; they were very good,” Antisin said.

“In the second period we kind of watched them play and then in the third, we kicked their butt, we played very well.”

The Grizzlies outshot the Silverbacks 39-28 in Sunday’s game, but the ’Backs put more pressure on the goaltender in the third, with 13 shots to Victoria’s 10.

Antisin said the Silverbacks are a good team but will need to be able to string together three- and four-game winning streaks if they hope to compete in the playoffs.