Salmon Arm, B.C. — It was a wild first win of the BCHL’s Okanagan Cup for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Friday night — as they edged the West Kelowna Warriors by a 5-4 score.
The flurry of goals didn’t occur in this one until the second period, but in the first, the penalties came fast and furious — for both sides. Eleven minor penalties were called in the opening 20 minutes, six against Salmon Arm and five against West Kelowna.
After the Backs killed off back-to-back minors several minutes in, Carter Loney forced a Warriors turnover in their own end and quickly fed a pass to the slot to a wide-open Drew Bennett, who one-timed it home for his first goal of the pre-season.
The Warriors tied the game on a power play with under three minutes to go in the period, but then took consecutive penalties to give the Backs a 5-on-3 to open the middle frame.
Just 22 seconds into the second period, Simon Tassy scored on that two-man advantage, as he redirected home a Hunter Sansbury shot.
Under two minutes later, the St. Mark’s alumni connected to double Salmon Arm’s lead. Tucker Hartmann won the puck in the defensive zone and chipped an outlet pass to Danny Ciccarello, who out-raced Kyle Pow for the puck, made a power move to the net and squeaked one past Jay Thompson to make the score 3-1.
The Warriors made it a one-goal game several minutes later, but yet again there was a quick response from the Backs. On a power play — this time a 5-on-4 — Ciccarello took the puck out from the corner and worked his way into a shooting position, where he ripped an absolute bullet past Thompson.
Ciccarello completed the hat-trick 2:02 into the third period, potting home a rebound after the initial point shot by Will Lavigne was blocked.
The Warriors did score two goals in the third, but that was as close as they would get, with the 5-4 score holding up as the final.
For the full boxscore, click here.
THEY SAID IT
“I really liked the way we played with structure. I think you saw with our forwards in particular, we had a high F3 in the offensive zone a lot of he time, we were staying above their attacks and that allowed us to limit the odd man rush opportunities for them. I think we did a better job of playing an overall team game and sticking to a little bit more of a structured format. It was really impressive to see how quickly our guys were able to grasp it. We were lucky not to have to play last weekend and get two full weeks here of practice time to really drill it home and the guys responded really well with a more structured approach.” — Asst. Coach Carter Cochrane
SILVERBACK TOP PERFORMER
Danny Ciccarello – 3G
“What a game for him. He’s a guy who showed a lot in that second game against Penticton and he’s been working extremely hard over the last two weeks. To see him get rewarded for his efforts was really nice to see and I think it should give our guys a lot of confidence knowing that you get rewarded for putting the work in.” – Cochrane on Ciccarello’s monster game
The Silverbacks have a rematch with the Warriors at the Shaw Centre on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m.
Fans can stream all games on HockeyTV, but Saturday’s game will also be on Shaw Spotlight (local ch. 105, Shaw direct ch. 299) and on Mixlr.