Friday marked the first time this season Salmon Arm fell to the Vernon Vipers.
Heading in, the Silverbacks were a perfect 5-0 against Vernon with four of those games being decided by just one goal.
In Kal Tire Place, Salmon Arm began their second triple header in as many weeks. Both teams came out to roaring starts with Vernon controlling the first two minutes, and the Silverbacks flipping the switch to dominate for a few minutes five minutes in. Vernon nearly opened the scoring 40 seconds in when former Back Josh Latta was setup alone in front, but Matthew Armitage making the start was able to rob him. Five minutes later, John Little and Matthew Verboon went down on a two-on-one with Verboon shooting and the rebound popping out but they were unable to capitalize. Shortly after Little fed the puck from the corner to Jutsin Wilson in front but the Silverbacks 20 year old was stopped by Aidan Porter.
Shortly after the halfway mark, Vernon would head to their first power play of the game. The best chance was Matt Kowalski getting setup alone in front but again Armitage got in the way. With a little more than six minutes left, the Vipers would eventually get past Armitage who had shut them out 2-0 in the last meeting at Kal Tire Place. Coleton Bilodeau blocked a shot at his own blue line, and went down alone on a breakaway to make it 1-0 Vernon. Salmon Arm went to a power play of their own, but another blocked shot led to a Josh Latta breakaway who slid the puck under Armitage for the 2-0 Vipers lead. Extracting revenge on the man advantage, Matthew Verboon played the puck down low to John Little, who passed it right back for the forward to knock in for his 14th of the season in his return to the lineup.
The second period saw just one goal, with Vernon scoring on their third power play of the game. Connor Marritt was setup by Latta to provide the Vipers another two goal lead. Shortly before the goal, Salmon Arm had nearly tied things up when a cross ice feed from Verboon to Jomathan Krahn was stopped. The Silverbacks had a good push late in the second to score, and the best chance came from a shot the Hudson Schandor sent right across the goal line, but it went out the other side without taking a deflection in.
Pushing in the third to get back into the game, a pinch at the offensive blue line for Salmon Arm led to a two-on-one the other way for Vernon. Elan Bar-Lev-Wise finished the play off for the final goal of the game making it a 4-1 final for Vernon.
Salmon Arm will look to bounce back Saturday night at home as they take on the Powell River Kings. Powell River was also in action Friday night losing 5-3 against the Penticton Vees.
Making his return for the first time in a month, Matthew Verboon looked very confident on the ice following his World Juniors stint. He had the lone goal in the game, and had a number of good chances at more while also setting up some good opportunities for teammates. In his Silverbacks debut, Darren Rizzolo played in all situations spending time on the power play and penalty kill. The first game seemed to go well, and he showed off a strong shot from the point which came very close to finding twine a few times.