The Salmon Arm Silverbacks started their double-header against the Trail Smoke Eaters by locking down an overtime victory last night on home ice.
After a long slog playing three or more games every weekend, the Silverbacks prepped for back-to-back games against the Smoke Eaters this weekend at the Shaw Centre.
It was a quiet first period on the scoreboard, with no shots reaching the back of the net despite seven attempts apiece by both teams.
Coming into the second, the stalemate held for well over half the period before Salmon Arm finally made the go-ahead goal. Matthew Verboon caught the puck from a succesful face-off win and fired it on a crowded net, sneaking the puck past the defenders and into the Trail goal. Cole Nisse and Justin Wilson were tagged with the assist on this goal, setting the Silverbacks ahead with a fragile 1-0 lead heading into the third.
This lead would be tested at the halfway mark of the third period, as the Smoke Eaters came in for a pair of goals that seemed they might turn the tide of the game. Hayden Rowan scored the first goal for trail, with Chase Stevenson coming in for the followup just a minute later.
After this pair of goals gave Trail the advantage at such a critical time in the game, the Silverbacks made a furious push to reclaim the lead. Things were looking dire for Salmon Arm as the clock ticked down the final minute of play in regulation time, but the Silverbacks made the call to pull their netminder and take advantage of an extra player to turn the tide.
With just 53 seconds left, Silverbacks’ forward Nick Unruh scored the clutch goal that would keep the win within their grasp. Assisted by Verboon and John Little, Unruh’s last-minute goal would send the game into overtime.
The extra frame was short-lived, lasting just over a minute, and both teams had good chances during the fast-paced OT play. Ethan Langenegger made a great save to rob the point from Trail, and Justin Wilson grabbed the loose puck after the save. Wilson and Silverbacks’ defenceman Akito Hirose made a two-on-one play together against the Trail net, with Wilson making a well-timed shot against Trail to score and end the game with an OT victory.
Tonight, Saturday, Jan. 26, the Silverbacks face off with the Smoke Eaters once more for a a grudge match. The puck drops at 7 p.m. at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm.