Silverbacks’ defenceman Akito Hirose moves to swing the puck around Merritt Centennials skaters as they come up behind him during a November 2018 game at the Shaw Centre. (File photo)

Salmon Arm Silverbacks and Merritt Centennials split thrilling double-header

One game ended in overtime, the other in a high-scoring final period. Both were a treat for fans.

In the hotly-contested BCHL Interior Division, games often go down to the wire. The Salmon Arm Silverbacks vs. Merritt Centennials double-header over the weekend lived up to the expectation for excitement.

The teams met at the Shaw Centre on Friday, Nov. 8.

The first period passed scoreless, but the Silverbacks wasted no time getting on the board after the face-off to open the second. Less than a minute in Antonio Andreozzi scored assisted by Nick Unruh and Drew Bennett.

Merritt’s Joey Berkopec made it an action-packed start to the second period by tying the game three minutes in. The Cents’ goal was followed by Unruh getting one of his own on some shorthanded heroics. Noah Wakeford stretched the Silverbacks’ lead to two goals later in the period and they held on through the rest of the period.

It looked as though the Silverbacks would be able to hold on for the win as the 10-minute mark of the third period passed without the Centennials making any progress to counter the ‘Backs two-goal advantage. With just over five-minutes to go Payton Matsui changed that, beating the Silverbacks’ Ethan Langenegger backhand to make the game close as the clock ticked down.

The Centennials pulled their goalie after both teams drew late minor penalties creating a five-on-four advantage for the visitors. With less than 30 seconds remaining a shot from Talon Zakell hit a player in front of the Silverbacks’ net but he got ahold of it again and found the back of the net to send the game into overtime.

In the overtime period, Unruh and William Poirier rushed the net on a two-on-one. Poirier’s backhander from in tight was held off by Centennials’ goaltender Ryan Winter. Veteran D-man Akito Hirose was there for the rebound, catching the visiting netminder out of position and putting the game to bed with a sudden-death goal to wrap up a 4-3 win.

Read More: In Photos: Salmon Arm residents pay tribute

Read More: Sockeye salmon return to Okanagan Lake for first time in decades

The ‘Backs jumped on the bus to Merritt the following day to settle scores with a Centennials squad eager for another crack at them.

The second game of the weekend began in front of 685 fans at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. The tension remaining from last night’s game was apparent with Holden Knights and Merritt’s Olson Wrenka getting misconduct penalties before the puck had been dropped.

The Silverbacks got off to an early lead off the stick of Daniel Rybarik, but Merritt’s Wyatt Marlow evened the score seconds later. The tie held up through the rest of the period and power-play chances for both teams.

Read More: Shuswap family makes tradition of tending to grave of fallen soldier

Read More: Community meeting will discuss crime in South Shuswap communities

Merritt’s Brett Roloson scored early in the second and then Thomas Manty built on the home team’s lead. Unruh scored later in the period to leave the score 3-2 Cents going into the final 20 minutes.

A goal from Joey Berkopec early in the third gave the Silverbacks a big hole to climb out of and less than a period to do it. A Drew Bennett goal at 9:32 made it a closer game but Roloson potted his second of the night a minute later. Andreozzi found the back of the net on his second of the weekend, but the home team was able to reply once again leaving the score 6-4 with a minute and a half remaining.

Hirose scored the last goal of the game once more with 40 seconds to play, but the Silverbacks couldn’t score another to force overtime. At the buzzer the scoreboard read 6-5 Centennials.

Fans should mark their calenders for Jan. 31 2020 to see which team will come out on top when the Silverbacks and Centennials meet again.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Salmon Arm’s request for red light camera on Highway 1 draws attention of province

Years of lobbying for camera at Trans-Canada Highway intersection might be generating results

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP surprised by Conservative leader’s resignation

Arnold predicts Conservative party will remain united in its quest to become government

Highway 1 now clear following vehicle accident

The accident occurred between Canoe Beach Dr NE and Bernie Rd

VIDEO: Your favourite Christmas light displays in the Shuswap

Residents recommend decorated homes worth checking out

‘A pretty big deal’: Salmon Arm prepares for the ultimate hockey fan experience

City awarded new hockey net/hoop by Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour

‘Not a decision I came to lightly:’ Scheer to resign as Conservative leader

Decision comes after weeks of Conservative infighting following the October election

‘British Columbians are paying too much’: Eby directs ICBC to delay rate application

Attorney General David Eby calls for delay in order to see how two reforms play out

Vernon bylaw says Frosty has to go: store owner

Vernon Teach and Learn told to take down inflatable snowman

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Couple who bought $120k banana duct-taped to wall say artwork will be ‘iconic’

Pair compared it to Warhol’s ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans,’ which was initially ‘met with mockery’

In Photos: Young Sicamous dancers move to the music

Rec program dance class hosts year end recital.

Race to replace Andrew Scheer could be a crowded one

Many familiar faces, such as Maxime Bernier, Jason Kenney, Doug Ford and Kevin O’Leary, have said no

Junior Salmon Arm bowler advancing to provincials

Young Lakeside Bowling team represent city in zone competition

Vernon business evacuated after gas line hit

A natural gas line was struck, emergency responders unsure of size

Most Read