The Silverbacks started their two-game weekend at home strong, defeating the visiting Cowichan Valley Capitals on Nov. 17, but their hopes of a second win were dashed in the final minutes of a thrillingly close game against the Trail Smoke Eaters.
The ‘Backs were in control of the game against Cowichan Valley from the opening minute. Twenty-eight seconds after the opening whistle Salmon Arm product Logan Mostat shot the puck past Cowichan goaltender Adam Marcoux.
Late in the period, Rhett Kingston skated in alone for the unassisted marker leaving the score 2-0 Silverbacks after 20 minutes.
Early in the second frame Julian Timba lit the lamp, fed by Tanner Campbell and Noah Wakeford.
Marshall Skapski chalked up Cowichan’s only goal of the game in the final minutes of the second.
The Silverbacks dominated offensively in the second, bombarding Marcoux with 14 shots while the Capitals could muster only six at the other end of the rink.
Late in the period a scuffle between Cowichan Valley’s Brendan Cherwalk and Silverbacks goalie Kyle Dumba lead to a two-minute penalty for each team — served by Wakeford for the ‘Backs.
The third frame resulted in a similar story to the second as the Silverbacks fired 11 shots at Marcoux while Dumba faced only eight.
A shot from Austin Chorney found the back of Cowichan’s net at 5:55 wrapping up a 4-1 victory for the Silverbacks.
Cowichan’s record for the season following the game is a dismal 2-19 while the Silverbacks climbed to 11-12.
Buoyed by their victory the previous night, the Silverbacks took the ice against league-leading Trail.
The teams’ previous meeting on Nov. 12 resulted in an 8-2 defeat and four injured players for the Silverbacks.
Trail pressured Dumba in the first frame, firing 14 shots at the recent acquisition from the AJHL. One shot late in the period from Tyler Ghirardosi found the back of the net as the ‘Backs were short a man with Trey Thomas in the box on a hooking call.
Thomas redeemed himself early in the second, tying the game off an assist from Wakeford and Rhett Kingston.
Trevor Adams scored halfway through the period to give the Silverbacks their first lead of the game.
Ross Armour tied the game back up as the second frame drew to a close. Four powerplay chances in the middle stanza helped the Silverbacks rain 18 shots down on the Trail goaltender, but both their goals came while Trail was at full strength. The shot clock read 23-22 Silverbacks and the score was deadlocked at 2-2 heading into the last period of a very closely-matched contest.
The game looked destined for overtime during the first half of the period as the teams swapped possession of the puck, generating few scoring chances.
Kingston skated in unassisted and blasted the puck over the Smokies netminder’s left shoulder at 12:25.
As the game reached its final minutes with the home team in the lead, victory seemed at hand for the Silverbacks, but Trail had other ideas.
With just over 1:30 left in the game Andre Ghantous tied the game for Trail, assisted by Kale Howarth who was named the game’s first star.
The crowd waited with baited breath in anticipation of an overtime period as evenly matched as the regulation time had been. The anticipation was shattered seconds later.
Just six seconds after Trail’s last goal, Girardosi scored again giving Trail the lead as the final seconds ticked down.
Following the weekend’s games the Silverbacks sit at sixth in the BCHL Interior division, seven points behind the West Kelowna Warriors in fifth.
The ‘Backs will be closing the month of November with a road trip to play Penticton on Nov. 24 before they head south of the border to face the Wenatchee Wild the following evening. Their previous game this season against Penticton ended in a 6-2 defeat, while they won 3-2 against Wenatchee in October.
The next home game for the Silverbacks will be on Dec. 1 against Wenatchee.