The Salmon Arm Silverbacks evened the distance between themselves and the Wenatchee Wild, took a tough loss against the Cowichan Valley Capitals and kept their perfect record standing against the Vernon Vipers during a three-game streak this weekend.
The Silverbacks had a few rough games against the Wild earlier this season, taking a pair of losses as the Wild racked up 15 goals in the span of two games. During the Dec. 14 game at the Town Toyota Centre in Wenatchee, Washington, however, the Silverbacks came within one goal in the 4-3 overtime finish.
Wenatchee opened up the scoring at the 11-minute mark in the first, with Brandon Koch scoring for the Washington squad with a short-handed goal. The Silverbacks were quick to tie things up at 1-1 as Logan Shaw made a breakaway attempt and John Little scooped up the rebound and fired off his second goal of the season.
The stalemate held until just 16 seconds into the middle period, with Wenatchee’s Murphy Stratton picking up a goal right after the opening faceoff.
There was a timeout called partway through the second period, and immediately after the players were back out on the ice Salmon Arm brought the game back to a 2-2 tie. Hudson Schandor came fast down the left wing and snapped a shot into the Wenatchee net-minder’s right hand side for his ninth of the season.
Right at the end of the second, Wenatchee edged out another lead as Christophe Fillion put the Washington squad up 3-2.
After receiving just three power plays in their first two games against Wenatchee combined, Salmon Arm went to their fourth man-advantage of the game in the third. A perfect cross- ice feed went from Nick Unruh to Justin Wilson who shot it in to tie the game with his seventh point in seven games since returning from an injury.
In overtime both teams traded chances, but the Wild’s leading goal scorer came out to play in a big way. From on his knees in the corner, Lucas Sowder sent a puck to the front of the net for Matt Gosiewski to bang home and lock down the victory for Wenatchee.
Capitals’ PK comes up clutch
The Silverbacks had 10 power-plays against the Cowichan Valley Capitals, but it wasn’t enough to shut down the Capitals’ penalty-kill line during their Dec. 15 game in Salmon Arm.
The Silverbacks were put on the back foot early in the home game against the Capitals, being put behind by two goals early in the first off the sticks of Paul Selleck and Keegan Craik. Silverbacks’ forward Hudson Schandor came in towards the end of the period on a power-pay to even the gap, scoring off the assist from Noah Wakeford and Andy Stevens.
The second period was a tense 20 minutes as the Silverbacks tried to make the most of a pair of five-on-three power-plays that were stopped short by some purely defensive play from the Capitals. Fans were on the edge of their seats, shouting encouragement as the ‘Backs tried to hammer in a goal through a cluster of Capitals’ skaters surrounding their net. Despite Salmon Arm’s efforts, however, the Capitals held strong throughout the second and Brady Lynn managed to score a goal against the Silverbacks.
Things looked to be on the upswing for the Silverbacks in the third, with Wakeford scoring off the assist from Schandor and Justin Wilson at the 15-second mark, followed by Wilson scoring just a minute later. This 3-3 stalemate held for nearly the entire period, but the Capitals made a blitz in the last three minutes to double their goals to six. Preston Brodziak picked up one goal, and Lynn sniped two more for himself to make it a hat-trick.
The final score against the Capitals was 6-3, a last-minute upset that would be redeemed the following night against the Vernon Vipers.
An exhausted Silverbacks squad, down five players from their regular lineup, dropped the Vernon Vipers for the fifth time this season in a 3-2 victory. Salmon Arm had three affiliate players called up to play for this game, and Vernon also had an entire forward line of affiliates as they were missing players as well.
Silverbacks’ goaltender Ethan Langenegger made two clutch saves in the first period, which seemed to put him in the zone as he went on to stop 49 more goals. This was the second highest shot count Langenegger has faced this year, only behind the 54 shots Merritt fired his way earlier in the season.
It looked like the game might stay at 0-0 heading into the second, but Justin Wilson had a quick reaction to a rebound from Sam Schoenfeld and Noah Wakeford and fired one home for Salmon Arm with two minutes left.
The second period was a back-and-forth race on the ice as both sides fought for control. Vernon came in for a goal during their second power-play of the game, with Ben Hegelson picking up that point for Vernon.
Tied at 1-1, the third period was where something decisive needed to happen. Salmon Arm took an early lead as Wilson picked up his second goal of the game off the assist from Ethan McLaughlin and John Little, with Vernon’s Teddy Wooding making the reply just two minutes later to tie it up again.
Trevor Adams came off a line change with perfect timing, setting himself up to intercept the puck from a Vernon player. He quickly moved in after the clutch turnover and ended his 11-game scoring drought, securing the victory for Salmon Arm in the process.
In comparison to the previous night’s game against the Capitals, with 17 power-plays between the two teams, the Vernon match was a gentlemanly affair with only one penalty per period.
The Silverbacks’ next game is on Friday, Dec. 21 against the Langley Rivermen at the George Preston Arena in Langley.