A pair of home games over the weekend didn’t go the Salmon Arm Silverbacks’ way.
The ‘Backs played their first game of the new year against BCHL Interior Division leaders the Penticton Vees.
The first period passed scoreless as Silverbacks’ netminder Ethan Langenegger turned away 14 shots and Yaniv Perets in the opposite crease stopped 11.
Daniel Rybarik scored his 21st goal of the season on the power play, getting the Silverbacks on the board three minutes into the second frame. The Vees tied things up a minute later with a goal from Jackson Niedermayer.
Noah Wakeford restored the ‘Backs lead at the 11 minute mark.
An unassisted marker from Penticton’s David Silye in the final seconds of the period led to a tie game going into the final 20 minutes.
The visitors scored two goals just seconds apart in the opening minutes of the third period. The ‘Backs couldn’t crack Penticton’s defence so they pulled Langenegger from net late in the game. An empty-net goal by Penticton’s Jack Barnes wrapped up a 5-2 loss for the Silverbacks.
The following night, the Silverbacks hosted the league-leading Coquitlam Express. In a defensive struggle, neither team was able to score in the first two periods. The Silverbacks peppered Coquitlam’s goaltender Jack Watson with 20 shots in the opening period and 16 shots in the second, but were unable to find the back of the net.
Greg Lapointe scored for the Express midway through the third period, and the final score of 1-0 held until the final buzzer.
Following the weekend’s games the Silverbacks are in a three-way dead heat with the Wenatchee Wild and Vernon Vipers at 44 points. The ‘Backs and Vipers records are identical at 21 wins and 17 losses, with each team getting two additional points for one overtime and one shootout loss. The Wild’s 20-17 record has earned them 44 points as well because three of their losses came in overtime and one in a shootout.