The Salmon Arm Silverbacks hit the ice with determination on Friday night, spinning out a decisive 3-1 victory over the Penticton Vees in their first game of the new year.
It wasn’t all champagne and roses for the Salmon Arm squad, who faced a hefty series of tough penalty-kills over the course of the game, but they chalked up a win despite the fact.
During the first period against the Vees, the numbers might show the Silverbacks’ being down by a few shots on goal, but all attempts were stonewalled by Matthew Armitage in net for Salmon Arm. The Silverbacks remained scoreless as well during the opening period, sending it into the second with no advantage either way.
Coming into the middle period, Salmon Arm’s run of penalty kills would begin in earnest. The ‘Backs somehow managed to come out unscathed after a pair of five-on-three sessions in the second, before Wyatt Marlow scored his first BCHL goal against the Vees. Aiden Jenner was tagged on the assist for this one, making the shot which Marlow picked up on the rebound for the goal.
Not wanting to let this first point go unanswered, Penticton’s Andre Ghantous was quick to reply with a goal for the Vees. This goal came after Salmon Arm made a push to clear the puck from their zone, coming off a little slow on the play and being countered by the Vees who pushed right back for the goal.
The final frame started at a 1-1 stalemate, but the Silverbacks would take back the lead and hold it right up to the buzzer. Hudson Schandor made the ‘Backs next goal, catching a pass from Nick Unruh and slapping it home for a goal that, while not the last, effectively sealed the game for Salmon Arm.
Close to the end of the third, Penticton would pull their goaltender with just over two minutes to go. The extra man on the ice didn’t give them too much of an edge, however, and Trevor Adams would pick up a goal on the empty net off a pass from Jonathan Krahn, making it a 3-1 finish.
Matthew Armitage was singled out as one of the key players for the Silverbacks during this game, stopping 37 of 38 shots fired his way, even amidst a series of tough penalty-kills. Aiden Jenner was also given a nod, as he has managed to snag a point in every game against Penticton this season.
The win over Penticton puts the Silverbacks at 40 points for the season, five behind the West Kelowna Warriors who have three more games played. A trio of wins will put them effectively ahead of the Warriors and move them a spot up in the rankings.
Tonight, Salmon Arm hits the ice at the Shaw Centre for their first home game of 2019, facing off at 7 p.m. against the Surrey Eagles. Their last matchup against the Eagles saw the Silverbacks triumph in a close 4-3 game. On Sunday, Penticton visits the Shaw Centre for a grudge match against the Silverbacks, with that game kicking off at 3 p.m. and followed by a public skate with the Silverbacks.