The Silverbacks will head into the Christmas break on a positive note as they downed the Vees, splitting their home-and-home series with the league’s top club over the weekend.
On Friday evening in the South Okanagan, the Vees’ Taylor Ward rescued a victory in overtime after they surrendered a two-goal advantage in the third-period. The game was scoreless after one and in the middle frame, the Vees went up a pair with Jared Nash and Nic Jones doing the damage.
It looked like the lead was safe well into the third period but Salmon Arm rallied with goals less than two minutes apart from Elijiah Barriga and Justin Wilson to draw level and force the extra frame. Ward redeemed the Vees just 1:31 into the first overtime period to give Penticton their 28th win of the season.
The Vees’ Mat Robson stopped 25 for the win while Nic Tallarico made 20 saves for the ’Backs.
The following night at the Shaw Centre, a three-goal second period helped lift the Silverbacks to a 5-2 home win over their Interior Division foes. A hotly contested first period was capped off by a goal for each club. Riley Risling and Ryley Booth traded goals in the first period but the second was all ’Backs.
The ’Backs scored in the beginning, middle and end of the period with Connor Sundquist, Mitch Skapski and Justin Wilson doing the damage.
The Vees’ were shut down offensively, only registering three shots in the frame and their tempers boiled over towards the end of the period. Marcus Mitchell and Risling squared off following a scrum and Spencer Hora and Nicholas Jones dropped the gloves soon after. The rough play carried over to the final 20 minutes as bother fight broke out just over two minutes into the period.
Sundquist notched his second of the game and 10th of the season rounding out the scoring for the home side.
Tallarico made 26 saves for the win, his fourth in seven starts this season. Despite an improved run of play in December, the ’Backs still find themselves at the foot of the Interior Division, on par with Merritt and only two points behind the third place Warriors.
The club seams to have found stability in goal with the Vancouver-native Tallarico, who boasts a 2.88 GAA and a .921 save percentage. Since Tallarico took over as the starter, the ’Backs goal difference has slowly been getting smaller, a welcoming sign for the club that struggled early in the season to keep the puck out of their net.
The ’Backs will reboot their season on Dec. 29 in Vernon, then return to the Shaw Centre the following evening for a home-and-home series.