After dropping their two previous games at home, the Silverbacks travelled to Vernon to last Wednesday to renew their bitter rivalry.
Midway through the first frame Carson Bolduc silenced the more than 1,600 fans at Kal Tire Place.
As in previous meetings, emotion fuelled the game and both teams traded scoring chances and penalties.
Speedster, Ross Heidt beat the Vipers starter Andrew Shortridge, for his team-high 20th goal of the season courtesy of Josh Laframboise and Taro Hirose.
The Interior Division rivals traded goals a minute apart in the middle of the second period.
Elijiah Barriga gave the ’Backs a commanding 3-0 lead, before Jagger Williamson scored an unassisted marker for the home team chipping away at Salmon Arm’s lead.
The league’s fourth ranked power play went to work with Vernon’s captain, Colton McCarthy in the box for goaltender interference.
Chase Zieky notched his seventh goal with the man advantage this season, a team-high for the Silverbacks.
Early in the third, Vernon clawed back when the Viper’s diminutive forward Odeen Tufto halved the ’Backs lead.
At 11:42 Barriga scored his second of the game to seal the 5-2 victory for the Silverbacks, and their fourth consecutive win against Vernon this season.
“It was huge to get the win after those two losses last week,” said defenceman Michael Winnitoy. “Hopefully we can continue to carry the positive rhythm forward throughout the month.”
On Friday evening the Silverbacks hosted Penticton, the nation’s number one team.
“Just because we are playing Penticton doesn’t mean we will treat the game with any more importance than any other game. They are just another team, it’s not a big deal,” said Silverbacks assistant coach Misko Antisin, before the game.
The first half of the opening 20 minutes saw the majority of the game played in the neutral zone.
Neither team could maintain offensive zone time, and as a result, there were only three shots on net between the two top teams in the league.
There was noticeable tension in the crowd, and the building blew it’s top when Carson Bolduc scored the game’s opening marker at 14:47.
“I got a pass from Taro out of the corner and I just put it on net. I actually didn’t even realize I scored until the fans starred cheering,” said Bolduc of his 10 goal of the season.
Bolduc added a second goal in the period when he intercepted a pass along the left boards at the hashmarks and threw the puck towards Penticton’s goalie Zachary Driscoll, beating him short side.
“We were fortunate to have some lucky bounces tonight,” said Bolduc.
The Vees’ talisman Scott Conway got the visitors on the board in the second but goals from Colton Thibault and Zieky just 42 seconds apart increased the ’Backs lead to 4-1 heading into the third period. In the final 20 minutes Penticton pushed back, but Angus Redmond was up to the task as he made 14 saves in the period.
“Angus was great again tonight, he put in another first-star performance in my books,” said head coach Brandon West.
Penticton cut the ’Backs lead in half midway through the period when Conway was found wide open in the slot and beat Redmond over his left shoulder.
West says the team gave up too much time and space to Penticton’s forwards in the third, but after Conway’s second goal he was pleased with his sides response. Elijiah Barriga scored an extra insurance goal in the third, for the 5-2 win and Redmond’s 15 win of the season.
“We were fired up to play the top team in the country, and we used our speed and skill to our advantage,” said Redmond.
In the second leg of the home-and-home series with the Vees, Conway scored the double-overtime game winner on Saturday evening in Penticton.
After a goal-less first 20 minutes the Vees exploded for three goals in the first nine minutes of the second period.
Darius Davidson, Mitch Brooks and Liam Lytton did the damage for Penticton.
Former Vee, Laframboise netted his ninth of the season to get the ’Backs within two goals.
Barriga, the BCHL Player of the Week, scored two goals in the third, giving the California native five goals in three games against Penticton, and forcing OT.
Conway found the game winner with two minutes remaining in the second period of OT for the 4-3 win.
The Silverbacks visit Trail to play the Smokies on Friday before returning home to host the Powell River Kings at 7 p.m., in their last game before the Christmas break.