A four-goal first period for the Wenatchee Wild put a damper on the Salmon Arm Silverbacks’ hope for a win in their grudge match Nov. 30, the second time these two teams have faced off this season.
Earlier in November, the Wild visited the Shaw Centre and put up a runaway 7-1 win up on the scoreboard, and their latest matchup saw the 2018 playoff champions in the Washington squad rack up another big 8-3 victory.
Things were slow for the early half of the first, but things ramped up quick. A goal for Wenatchee by PJ Fletcher at 12 minutes was followed up twice in quick succession by Christophe Fillion and Brian Adams, and with a minute left in the first Wenatchee’s Matt Gosiewski scored their fourth of the game.
In the second, an early penalty put the Silverbacks down a player when they least needed it, giving Wenatchee the one-man advantage and leading to a power-play goal by Lucas Sowder. Nick Unruh of the Silverbacks put Salmon Arm up on the board at the halfway mark of the second period, assisted by Noah Wakeford and Aiden Jenner. This goal, Unruh’s 11th of the season overall, puts him in a tie for Silverbacks’ leading scorer with Matthew Verboon.
Wakeford’s name has been coming up as an assist on a good percentage of the Silverbacks’ goals lately, tallying up at least one in the each of the last four games. He is proving to have a good eye for interceptions and is consistently right where he needs to be in order to get the puck out front to a teammate with a good angle to score. He was recognized for this during the Nov. 30 game, receiving the FortisBC Third Star award.
Going into the third, things looked to be picking up for the Silverbacks, with two goals sunk into the net in quick succession. Jonathan Krahn made his fourth goal of the season near the seven-minute mark, assisted by Sam MacBean. Akito Hirose followed that up with his third of the season shortly after, a wicked snipe from the face-off circle assisted by Matthew Verboon and Justin Wilson.
With 10 minutes remaining in the game, and a two-goal lead to close, things were looking rough but not impossible for the Silverbacks. However, a big pile-up into the Silverbacks’ net would leave goaltender Ethan Langenegger unable to play, replaced with call-up Kobe Grant from the Thompson Blazers for the remainder of the game and Wenatchee would make a blitz in the late minutes of the period to extend the gap by a further three points.
Nathan Ianonne started that scoring, followed by Brian Adams and Blake Bargar before the period was at a close.
The Silverbacks are on the road tonight, travelling to Merritt for another match against the Centennials – familiar opponents of the Silverbacks lately and a good choice for a new division rival after the ‘Backs recent successes over Vernon. The Centennials have been playing well this season, topping the division standings for a good chunk of time. The Silverbacks have been getting close to finally toppling Merrit’s win-streak against them, and will be looking to chalk up a win on the road tonight.