The Salmon Arm Silverbacks kicked their offensive lines into high gear Friday night, putting the visiting West Kelowna Warriors down 5-1 after taking a big lead in the first period.
The ‘Backs first point came just five minutes into the opening frame. Logan Shaw got the puck up the left side, passing it off to Olson Werenka who made an initial attempt, which was cleanly deflected into the net by Aiden Jenner.
Exactly five minutes later, Matthew Verboon doubled the Silverbacks’ lead on a play with Shaw and John Little.
This second unanswered goal sparked a bit of an offensive push from West Kelowna, who very nearly had a point in their favour but were cut short. On the powerplay, Salmon Arm made quick work out of a third goal as Nick Unruh scored off the assist from Darren Rizzolo.
Just a minute into the second period, Unruh raised the Silverbacks’ lead to a comfortable 4-0 with his second goal of the game.
In the third, West Kelowna would evade the shutout loss by a single point, former Silverback Austin Chorney picked up this goal for West Kelowna.
Jarrod Semchuk of the Silverbacks would put the final nail in the coffin as the Warriors’ pulled their goaltender late in the third, scoring off a pass from John Little and sealing the game 5-1.
After their landslide 5-1 victory on home ice, the Silverbacks travelled to West Kelowna Saturday for the rematch against the Warriors. While it looked to be a rough one for the Salmon Arm squad in the early-game, by the end it would turn into a huge upset in the Silverbacks’ favour.
Out of the gate, West Kelowna scored three unanswered goals. In the first period, Parm Dhaliwal and Anthony Bishop fired off points into the Silverbacks’ net, with Willie Reim sinking a third for the Warriors early in the second period.
Down 3-0 after 23 minutes, the majority of the second period turned into a stalemate as both teams struggled to find purchase on their plays. At 16 minutes into the second, however, the Silverbacks opened the floodgates and points began to pour in.
John Little opened the scoring for Salmon Arm, assisted by Akito Hirose and Trevor Adaams. Two minutes later, Nick Unruh fired off a goal, assisted by Adams and Andy Stevens. Now only trailing by a single point, the Silverbacks headed into the third determined to close the gap.
Just three minutes into the third, Adams would make the game a stalemate with a goal of his own, adding to his assist. The game hung in the balance at 3-3 until the halfway mark in the period, when Matthew Verboon came down and scored off the assist from Hirose and Marino Bordin. Salmon Arm held the 4-3 lead for another seven minutes, before goals from Jack Sampson and Verboon extended their lead by another two, finishing the game 6-3 by the buzzer.
This pair of victories bumped the Silverbacks up in the BCHL rankings, tying West Kelowna for overall points despite having one less game played. Owing to their success on the ice this week, three Silverbacks players were also named as honourable mentions for the league’s player of the week: Nick Unruh, Matthew Verboon and goaltender Ethan Langenegger.
This week, the Silverbacks face the Coquitlam Express Tuesday at the Shaw Centre, before another double-header on the road against the Trail Smoke Eaters, Friday and Saturday.