The Salmon Arm Elite Hockey School Female Bantam A Silverbacks hosted their home tournament at the Shaw Centre last weekend, emerging victorious from a five-team pool to claim the gold medal.
The first game on Friday saw them facing Peace River and the Silverbacks dominated from start to finish. Natasha Kociuba opened the scoring in the first, and then set up Paige Brayshaw later in the period for a two-goal lead. Mykal Martin would tap in a rebound just 30 seconds later to put Salmon Arm up by three and Hailee Hunt would add to the lead late in the first. Kaisy Huber would get two points and Kociuba would get her second with time winding down for a 7-2 victory.
Hailee Hunt would get the lone marker for Salmon Arm in their second game against Locoka, blasting hard down the right wing with a sweet wrister. This second game finished in a 1-1 tie, as the stalemate held through overtime.
Saturday, the Silverbacks faced the Northwest District team and they continued to own the ice. Jaylen Moraice-Budalich would get a pair to open the scoring, and Kociuba made it 3-0 Salmon Arm. Northwest clawed their way back with three unanswered goals to tie, but Parker Davidson assisted Kociuba for the tap-in to reclaim the lead. Kociuba would complete the hat-trick with less than a second left in the game to seal a 5-3 victory.
Next on Saturday, Salmon Arm faced a second Peace River team and the road-weary visitors were no match for Salmon Arm. Kociuba picked up another hat-trick, and Moraice-Budalich and Huber claimed a pair of goals each, earning a finals spot for the Silverbacks.
The gold-medal game was a rematch against Peace River, and the teams traded chances until Brayshaw potted a rebound to open the scoring for Salmon Arm. Jayda Brown’s tenacity set up Kociuba to extend the lead to 2-0 early in the first, and Huber sealed the victory and the gold medal for Salmon Arm with a bar-down wrist shot from the slot, set up on the play by hard-working Hayden Mead.
Chelsea West was strong as ever in net, and Ali Logan, Reanne Muller and Hanna Menzies were towers on defense for the Silverbacks.
Salmon Arm finishes regular season play this weekend with a pair of games against Kelowna at home and Kamloops on the road.
Submitted by Peter Kociuba