Almost every week, it seems Salmon Arm SilverBacks head coach Scott Robinson is describing the team’s latest ‘best game of the year.’
The most recent one of those was a 3-2 double-overtime home win over the Penticton Vees that gave the Shaw Centre fans more than their money’s worth. An Evan Anderson goal on a feed from Shane Hanna won it for the home side.
“The whole roster was going and we played some real solid north-south hockey, kept it simple and worked very hard,” said Robinson. “That’s the most work we’ve given (Vees goalie Chad) Katunar in all the games we’ve played them.
“It was a very entertaining, well-played game. The shots were 40-plus for both teams, and there’s always great chances in the BCHL overtime and we got the last one.”
Anderson now has 12 points in nine games since joining the ’Backs, and will likely remember his most recent goal for a long time as it came against his former team.
“It was a 2-on-1 in double overtime and Shane Hanna sent him in; he snapped it low to the gloves side,” said Robinson. “There were a lot of smiles; the team was very excited. (Anderson) is a good teammate; he wants to learn and he’s been a tremendous fit.”
Unfortunately, the two results prior to that were both losses, 3-0 in Penticton and 5-3 at home to the Merritt Centennials. The loss to Penticton did allow Robinson and his staff to create an adjusted game plan that led to the overtime win.
“In Penticton, we just didn’t generate enough chances,” said Robinson. “Our power play let us down a bit; we had a few chances and didn’t capitalize.”
The coach said his players weren’t getting in Katunar’s way as much as they need to.
“I don’t think he got tested a whole bunch, especially with traffic and rebounds. Anytime you let him see the puck, he’s real good. (Making traffic) is one of those things we have to continue to focus on; we were close to getting there but not close enough.”
Against Merritt, the Gorillas built a 3-1 lead midway through the second getting goals from Anderson and Brendan and Jeff Kennedy. But Salmon Arm would lose Brendan to an instigator penalty and the remaining five defencemen were gradually worn down by the increased ice time. The Cents scored the final four goals of the game to pull off the comeback win.
Robinson said the team built their lead while playing average hockey and let it slip away in the third despite a 10-3 edge in shots.
“We just let them back into the game; we don’t feel we were playing particularly well to have a 3-1 lead (but) for first five to eight minutes (of the third), we controlled the whole game. They got one shot and it was a goal. They found a way to score and (goalie Tyler) Steel was able to make the lead stand up.”
Salmon Arm’s only game this week sees them host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs Friday at 7 p.m. at Shaw Centre.
For the first time in years, select SilverBacks games will be heard live on the FM airwaves from Salmon Arm west to Sorrento, east towards Sicamous, to the North Shore and south towards Enderby. The games will be heard on community radio 93.7. The debut will be this Friday Dec. 7 as the boys in black, white and silver host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs at the Shaw Centre. Play-by-play announcer Scott Campbell will have the call beginning at 6:45 p.m.