As the BCHL’s Interior teams gathered in Penticton for the annual league showcase games, the Salmon Arm Silverbacks geared up to take on divisional rivals, the Wenatchee Wild, as well as the Coquitlam Express. The BCHL Showcase Festival, split this year between Penticton and Chilliwack, allows all BCHL teams to play in front of scouts from leagues such as the NCAA and NHL.
The ‘Backs played Wenatchee to start off the Showcase on Oct. 4 in Penticton. This was the first of seven times this season the Silverbacks will meet the squad from south of the border.
The Wild and the ‘Backs both had slow starts offensively with only three and six shots on goal respectively and no score after 20 minutes.
Aidan Curran got ahold of a rebound and slipped it by Daniel Chenard between the Wild’s pipes; this was Curran’s first BCHL goal. Before the period was out, Nick Unruh fired off a one-timer giving the ‘Backs a two-goal lead with 3:40 left in the second.
The ‘Backs started the third period off with more of the same pressure, but a bad bounce gave the Wild’s Luke Ormsby a breakaway six-and-a-half minutes in. The Scottsdale Arizona native went five-hole on Ethan Langenegger, finding the back of the net for the Wild’s first goal of the game.
The Silverbacks looked to keep their lead safe, getting after the Wild on the power play after Matt Dorsey was called for tripping. Will Poirier got the puck, scoring his eighth of the season and leaving the Silverbacks up two with just over 10 minutes remaining.
The Wenatchee squad scored with six minutes left but it was too little too late as the ‘Backs held on for the win.
The following night the Silverbacks had the Coquitlam Express opposite them on the South Okanagan Events Centre ice. The first period had few bright moments for the Silverbacks. The Express kicked off scoring just before the five-minute mark with a goal from Cooper Connell. Tyler Schleppe added to the tally 1:30 later beating ‘Backs goalie Dylan Kruss unassisted. Massimo Rizzo added to the Express’ tally just a few seconds later. The Silverbacks’ coaching staff had seen enough for one night from Kruss and put Langenegger between the pipes.
The Express scored twice in the second frame and chalked up a sixth goal two minutes into the third. Before the final period had reached the halfway point, Daniel Rybarik cradled a pass from Ben Hamilton and took off on a breakaway, denying Thomas Wardle the shutout.
Ryan Tattle of the Express sent the ’Backs packing with a lat period goal. At the buzzer the scoreboard read 7-1 Coquitlam.
The Silverbacks will look to get back to their winning ways in a home game against the Chilliwack Chiefs on Oct. 11.
– With files from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks