The Silverbacks have won four consecutive games, and have points in their last five after a convincing 7-1 victory at home over the West Kelowna Warriors last night at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm as the ‘Backs prepare to host the league leading Penticton Vees tonight at 7p.m.
The Warriors came into the game with 2 AP goalies, as both Andy Desautels and Scott Patton are injured and 20-year-old Brett Huber of the Summerland Steam in the KIJHL got the start. But Huber took himself out of the game 10:31 into the first period with an apparent injury and 16-year-old Colten Lancaster of the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna came into the game.
The Silverbacks had the best scoring chance early, as Taro Hirose found the puck in the right wing corner and the passed it into the slot for Carson Bolduc who fired a shot that just missed 9:07 into the first period.
The Warriors then took the first penalty of the game as Andrew Johnson was called for tripping behind the ‘Backs goal at 13:44 and just 30 seconds later Liam Blackburn of the Warriors was penalized for tripping, which gave the Silverbacks a 5-on-3 power-play for 90 seconds. And on the man-advantage Andrew Farny skated the puck out to the blue-line and let a shot go from the left side, through traffic and opened the scoring with his 9th of the season from Bolduc. The goal was scored just 14 seconds into the 5-on-3 power-play at 14:28 leaving the ‘Backs with a lengthy 5-on-4 which they were unable to convert on.
The Silverbacks lead 1-0 after 20 minutes, as each team had 6 shots.
Ross Heidt opened the scoring 5:24 into the middle frame, with his 9th from Bryden Marsh as Heidt moved the puck to Marsh in the neutral zone and the captain skated it in along the right wing before passing the puck back to Heidt who fired a shot from the right face-off circle, up and in glove side and the home team was in front 2-0.
The ‘Backs then got into penalty trouble, as Thomas Plese was called for slashing at 6:21 and Plese again at 9:19 with a 4 minute high-sticking penalty. And at 10:41, Johnson poked home his 12th of the season and opened the scoring for the Warriors on the power-play in front of a sprawled out Angus Redmond. Brayden Gelsinger sent the puck toward the net and Jordan Masters picked up the other assist as the Silverbacks lead was cut to 2-1.
But on the remaining portion of Plese’s double minor, Farny restored the 2 goal advantage with his 2nd of the game and a short-handed marker as he skated the puck from his own zone along the right side into Warriors territory and let a shot go onto Lancaster who allowed the puck to slide through him. Farny’s 10th of the season, unassisted at 11:27.
And Hirose increased the lead to 4-1 before the period was over, as Farny sent the puck toward the net from the left point and Hirose found the rebound in the left circle for his 12th of the season from Farny and Bolduc at 15:49.
The Warriors out-shot the ‘Backs 12-11 in the middle frame.
The Silverbacks opened the scoring in the third period, as AP Cam Coutre skated in on a breakaway from centre and shot the puck low and under the Warriors netminder for his 1st BCHL goal. The 16-year-old was playing in his 5th BCHL game this season and is a South Island Royal in Victoria in the BC Major Midget League. Coutre’s goal was unassisted at 6:39 and increased the lead to 5-1.
Farny then worked the puck down deep into the West Kelowna zone and sent it out in front across to Colton Thibault who was waiting at the left side of the net and Thibault deposited his 10th of the season at 13:04 from Farny as the ‘Backs went ahead 6-1.
Farny would finish the scoring with his hat-trick goal and 11th at 15:21 from Marsh, as Farny skated in over the blue-line along the left-wing and fired a shot that beat Lancaster on the glove side.
Despite the ‘Backs scoring all 3 goals in the third period, the Warriors out-shot the Silverbacks 9-6 and out-shot the ‘Backs 27-23 overall. As Angus Redmond made 26 saves for his 11th win of the season.
The Silverbacks power-play finished 1-for-3, while their penalty-kill was 3-for-4 with a short-handed goal.
The ‘Backs are now 14-13-3-5 with 36 points in 35 games and are in 5th place in the Interior Division, 6 points behind the Merritt Centennials and 7 back of the Warriors. The Silverbacks have 1 game in hand on the Cents and 3 in hand on the Warriors. The ‘Backs will be in West Kelowna on Friday, January 9th at 7p.m.
The Vees won their third consecutive game last night, 3-0 at home over the Vernon Vipers. Penticton is 15-3-1-1 on the road this season, while the Silverbacks are now 6-7-2-2 at the Shaw Centre.
The Vees are 29-5-2-1 with 61 points in 37 games and are in 1st place in the Interior, 14 points ahead of the Vipers and 10 points up on the Nanaimo Clippers for 1st place overall in the BCHL.
The Vees lead the season series with 2 regulation wins, a double overtime victory and a tie. The last meeting ended 2-2 at the Shaw Centre on Friday, December 12th. The Vees won 3-1 at the Shaw Centre on Sunday, October 26th, and 4-3 in double OT in Salmon Arm on Saturday October 4th, after a 5-1 Vees win in Penticon to open the season series on Friday, October 3rd.
The Vees have scored 145 goals and have allowed 70, compared to the Silverbacks 118 goals for, and 115 goals against. Riley Alferd and Patrick Newell lead the Vees in scoring with 35 points each in 37 games. Alferd has 17 goals and 18 assists, while Newell has 12 goals and 23 assists.
Andrew Farny leads the Silverbacks in scoring and is the second highest scoring defenseman in the BCHL, and 21st overall with 11 goals and 27 assists for 38 points in 35 games.
Tonight is the 2nd of 3 consecutive home games for the Silverbacks as they will host the Trail Smoke Eaters on Wednesday, January 7th at 7 p.m. The ‘Backs play 14 games in this month of January, their busiest month of the season with 7 games at the Shaw Centre.