A promising 2-1 lead going into the third period wasn’t enough to carry the Salmon Arm Silverbacks to victory in their final home game against the Penticton Vees, after a four-goal upset in the final frame.
The first period against the Vees was a mad scramble for possession and good scoring chances, though it was a quiet 20 minutes on the scoreboard. Silverbacks goaltender Ethan Langenegger contended with a few close calls from the Vees as they hammered shots his way, but none made it in. Coming into the end of the period, the Vees took a late penalty, setting Salmon Arm up to start the second with an edge.
The Silverbacks edged out the beginnings of a lead early in the first during the powerplay, with Nick Unruh capitalizing on a good angle to slip the puck past Vees’ goalie Jack LaFontaine. Massimo Rizzo of the Vees came in to tie things up late in the period, though shortly after a penatly put Penticton on the back-foot and Unruh skated in to bag his second powerplay goal of the night.
Heading into the third at 2-1, the Silverbacks had a tenuous lead that they struggled to maintain. The first six minutes of the period was a turning point for Penticton, who drew two powerplays and scored on both occasions. Later in the period, a big push by the Silverbacks was stopped short by a turnaround that sent the play back towards the ‘Backs zone, giving Jack Barnes the room to fire one past Langenegger and increase Penticton’s lead to 4-2. Salmon Arm pulled their goalie in a last-ditch attempt to turn the game around, but an empty-net goal by Penticton was the final nail in the coffin.
The Silverbacks get a rematch against Penticton Saturday, Feb. 23, on the Vees’ home ice in Penticton. Up next, as league standings are finalized the Silverbacks will soon know their playoff opponents and schedule for the 2019 BCHL playoffs.