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Backs Fall to Vipers in OT

VERNON, BC: Cam McDonald scored 40 seconds into overtime as the Vernon Vipers defeated the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 4-3 inside Kal Tire Place.

In the opening frame, the Silverbacks got a quick powerplay when Matt Culling hauled down Noah Serdachny. Despite some decent looks, the Backs were unable to beat Roan Clarke. Then Viper’s newcomer Cade McNelly was assessed ten-minute misconduct for arguing with the linesman. Shortly after that, the Silverbacks, as they have, most of the season on the road, got the offence kick-started. After an offensive zone faceoff win for Serdachny, he went straight to the front of the net, and defenceman Tucker Hartmann was able to find him wide open, and he snapped it past Clarke’s blocker side to give the Silverbacks a 1-0 lead. It was his 15th of the campaign. The Vipers were able to tie the game as forward Ryan Shoshtak beat Owen Say under the blocker to deadlock it at 1-1. The Silverbacks drew another penalty late in the first period when Seiya Tanaka-Campbell went off for tripping. Defenceman Nick Kent didn’t like the call, arguing, resulting in him receiving two 10-minute misconducts, meaning his night was over. The Silverbacks outshot the Vipers 10-7 in the opening twenty minutes.

In the middle frame, the Silverbacks carried over 1:50 of powerplay time over from the first period, and they wasted no time, needing just 25 seconds to strike. Santa Juana made a nice play at the line, and he found a wide-open Simon Tassy backdoor, and he tapped home his league-leading 26th goal of the season to give the Backs a 2-1 lead. Shortly after that, on yet another powerplay, this time, it was the second unit supplying the offence. Off an Owen Beckner point shot, the puck went right on the stick of Matt Bourgault, and he made no mistake ripping home his 5th of the year to double the Silverbacks lead. The Silverbacks were then shorthanded when Mathieu Cobetto-Roy went off for tripping, and Cam MacDonald made the Silverbacks pay. He came out of the corner with the puck and shot it on Say, and it somehow found a way through him to cut the lead in half. Then some scary stuff happened. Cade McNelly caught Nathan Morin with a hit to the head, putting the Backs on a five-minute powerplay. The Silverbacks could not get set up and actually ended up taking a penalty of their own that took them off the major powerplay, as Cobetto-Roy went off for tripping. The Silverbacks took a one-goal lead into the third period and outshot the Vipers 10-4.

In the third period, with the Silverbacks up a goal, they got another Major powerplay after Luke Pakulak was assessed a five and a game for charging for hitting Mike Ladyman hard behind the net. The Silverbacks again could not get anything going with the man advantage and again took a penalty to take them off it; Tassy got the gate for roughing after the whistle. There was lots of four on four time in the final frame. Just past the midway point of the third period, the Vipers tied the game on the powerplay. Zack Tonelli ripped a shot short-side on Owen Say for his 6th of the season.

The rest of the regulation solved nothing, meaning the Silverbacks and Vipers needed extra time for a third time this season. Just 40 seconds into the extra frame, Cam McDonald scored his second OT winner of the season against the Silverbacks to take the game 4-3. Owen Say stopped 23/27 in a losing effort.

The loss snapped the Backs seven-game winning streak; they will be back in action tomorrow night in Merritt at 7:00 PM.