Salmon Arm, B.C. — In a contest where there were five total power play goals scored, the Salmon Arm Silverbacks lost 5-2 to the Vernon Vipers on Friday night at Kal Tire Place. Their Okanagan Cup record is now 1-4.
The difference in the first period was special teams, with each club getting two power play opportunities. The Vipers took advantage each time, converting 56 seconds into their first power play and then just 12 seconds into their second, while the Silverbacks were unable to capitalize on a 5-on-3 for a 1:36.
After 20 minutes, the score was 2-0 for Vernon, courtesy of those power play markers, first from Jo-Jo Tanaka-Campell and second from Cameron MacDonald.
The first even-strength goal of the game came 7:03 into the second period, after Viper defenceman Hunter Donohoe held in a clearing attempt and then found Jeremy Rainville, who subsquently fed a strong backhand pass cross-ice to a waiting Ethan Mercer, who one-timed it home.
Several minutes later, the Silverbacks newest addition gave them some momentum, as Nathan Morgan sniped a shot from the right slot on the power play. Carter Loney and Joaquim Lemay drew assists on the goal.
The Silverbacks headed into the second intermission within a pair of goals, although the shots on goal favoured Vernon 29-15.
Vernon stole back the momentum early in the third period, capitalizing on an odd-man rush off a set d-zone play just 1:32 into the final frame. Donohoe cleared the puck off the glass, which went to Rainville at the offensive blue line, who executed a give-and-go with Mercer to perfection to make the score 4-1.
Simon Tassy got the Silverbacks within a pair once more with 12:59 remaining in the game, after he put home a Drew Bennett pass from the slot on the power play. Joaquim Lemay picked up his second assist of the contest after he fished out the puck from a board scramble and confidently moved to the middle before feeding Bennett.
Unfortunately for the Backs, any possibility of a comeback was put to rest when MacDonald made it 5-2 with under five minutes remaining.
For the full boxscore, click here.
THEY SAID IT
“I think that we were shying away from contact all over the ice tonight and I think for us, it felt easy to let them get [behind their] net, let us set up in our set forecheck, but it wasn’t getting us any results. So I think it’s nice to be playing these guys tomorrow — we can learn from it. I think we need to do a better job of getting hard in [with] our [first forechecker], embracing that contact and not letting them get behind the net. That’s going to allow our other two guys to facilitate from there.” – Asst. Coach Carter Cochrane
THE FOCUS FOR SATURDAY
“I think we need to come out and play together and play together hard and know that what you do individually to sacrifice might not get you rewarded, but it will get others. It’s a unique thing playing in a team sport like this and with so many new players this year, that trust is extremely difficult to build. I don’t care who you are or what you say, it’s the truth. We need to do a better job of trusting each other and playing together and knowing that if you go out and do the hard thing, that that next guy is going to do it right away. That doesn’t happen over five games and it took our team last year a long time to figure it out as well. I think that’s going to be the biggest thing: is buying in together and doing it for not only yourself, but for the other guys around you.” — Coach Cochrane
SILVERBACK TOP PERFORMER
Joaquim Lemay – 2A
Lemay’s skating and puck skills were on display in this one, not just with the two power play assists, but also with his play in the neutral zone.
The Silverbacks will have their chance at redemption on Saturday night in the rematch at the Shaw Centre, with puck drop set for 6:30 p.m.