Incorporating three new players into the fold, the Salmon Arm SilverBacks worked the late shift both nights last weekend and were probably unlucky not to come away with more than just two of a possible four points.
Forward Evan Anderson and defenceman Mitchell Ferguson, acquired from the Penticton Vees last week in exchange for Brock Balson, got acclimated quickly as Salmon Arm needed overtime against both the West Kelowna Warriors and Surrey Eagles. The ’Backs settled for a draw on the road versus the Warriors but suffered a 3-2 loss at home at the hands of the Eagles.
Goalie Dustin Nikkel was added from the Junior B North Okanagan Knights after Salmon Arm sent Colin Dzijacky to the Woodstock Slammers of the Maritime Hockey League for future considerations. Nikkel did not play last weekend but Robinson says he will see action soon.
In West Kelowna, a winner could not be determined despite high drama when Warriors defenceman Brett Zarazun was awarded a penalty shot in double overtime. Adam Clark stared him down and made the stop to keep the game alive.
“His performance (so far this season) is what allowed us to place Colin Dzijacky in a place he wanted to go,” said SilverBacks head coach Scott Robinson of Clark, who is the clear number-one goalie now.
Anderson assisted on Salmon Arm’s first goal by Sean Flanagan, and Ryan Schwalbe got the equalizer with under four minutes left. Robinson liked his team’s spirit in tying it late and in overtime.
“They had a couple of guys who were dominant; Marcus Basara was very good and gave us all we could handle but we did bounce back and in overtime I felt we had the better of the chances.”
Losing to the Eagles at Shaw Centre Friday was particularly tough to swallow given how dominant the Gorillas were. In the second period, Salmon Arm outshot the visitors 17-2.
“Our goaltender (Clark) came over at one point and said, ‘I don’t know what to do; I’m getting cold over here,’” said Robinson. “As the team gets better, hopefully that happens more often but we had a 2-1 lead going into the third instead of 3-1 or 4-1. They got one opportunity (in overtime) and it was in.”
SilverBacks goals were scored by Harlan Orr in the first and Jeff Kennedy in the second but the team’s undoing was a lack of finish when they owned the Eagles in the middle frame.
Salmon Arm went on the power play just twice the entire weekend, both against Surrey.
“We certainly thought in West Kelowna we could have gotten a couple of calls but teams throughout the league are playing pretty disciplined hockey,” said Robinson.
A three-game weekend is up for the ’Backs as they visit Penticton Friday and then host Merritt Saturday and Prince George Sunday.