Playoff-bound Silverbacks win one on Island road trip

‘Backs at the Shaw Centre on Friday, Jan. 31, for tilt against the Merritt Centennials

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks’ found mixed results on a road trip to Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

The team kicked off a trio of away games by facing off with the Powell River Kings on Jan. 24.

Fans watching the game at Powell River’s Hap Parker Arena got their money’s worth as it ended in an overtime thriller. The ‘Backs gave up two goals in the first, but then owned the second period to leave them up 3-2 after 40 minutes.

A dead-heat third period ended with a last-minute goal from the Kings to tie the game 5-5 and send it to overtime. The home team put the game away with a goal two minutes into the first overtime period.

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The following night, the Silverbacks took on the Victoria Grizzlies. The Shuswap squad came out flat again, giving up two goals early in the first. In the second, the Grizzlies scored their third of the game 8:27 after the first face-off. Henri Schreifels of the Grizzlies followed up with a pair of power-play goals to leave the home team up 5-0.

The Silverbacks averted a shutout with a late-period goal from Lucas Breault, assisted by Daniel Rybarik and Noah Wakeford. The period ended with the Silverbacks down 5-1.

Just before the halfway point in the third, the Grizzlies added a sixth goal to their total. Drew Bennett pulled off some unassisted heroics later in the period for another Silverbacks goal, but the score of 6-2 stayed on the board until the final buzzer.

Back on the mainland, the Silverbacks took on the Surrey Eagles in an afternoon game on Jan. 26 to finish off their road trip. Rather than letting the previous nights’ losses get to them, the ‘Backs came out hot, scoring the first period’s only goal. The home team tied the game in the second period, but a pair of ‘Backs goal,s which the Eagles could only answer one of, ended the game at 3-2.

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The Silverbacks have already punched their ticket to this year’s BCHL playoffs but the race to improve their divisional ranking will likely go down to the wire; they sit in third place in the Interior Division. The win against Surrey inched the Silverbacks ahead of the Vernon Vipers and broke the fourth-place deadlock they were in with the Wenatchee Wild. With both teams still nipping at their heels, each of the Silverbacks coming games will have implications for the playoff bracket.

The next home game for the ‘Backs at the Shaw Centre will be a Friday, Jan. 31 tilt against the Merritt Centennials scheduled for a 7 p.m. puck drop.

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