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Backs Hammer Centennials 7-3

SALMON ARM, BC:  For the second consecutive game against the Merritt Centennials, the Salmon Arm Silverbacks scored four unanswered goals, as they routed the Centennials 7-3 on home ice.

The Silverbacks didn’t start this game how they wanted to at all. After a defensive breakdown in their own zone, Jackson Krill picked up a loose puck behind the net and fed a wide-open Ben Ward out front. He shot it over the blocker of goaltender Liam Vanderkooi to give the Centennials the lead just 48 seconds into the hockey game. The Silverbacks cashed in after incredible offensive pressure to tie the game around the six-minute mark. Lambert received a pass from Mathieu Cobetto-Roy, and he snapped it short side on goaltender John Hicks to tie the game. Hicks faced 57 shots in this hockey game, and it was his third consecutive start having 55 or more shots on goal. It was Lambert’s 7th of the season. The Silverbacks would add another with under five minutes to play; Wil Lavigne let one go fro, the point to give the Backs the lead. It was Lavigne’s second of the year and second in as many games, both against Merritt. Shortly after, the Centennials answered. With 1:28 left in the opening frame, Davide Patella threw a shot at the net, and it snuck under the arm of Vanderkooi from a sharp angle to tie the game at three. There were no penalties in the first period, and the Silverbacks outshot the Cents 20-5.

In the middle frame, the Silverbacks got the first powerplay of the hockey game when Geoff Bjarnason went off for tripping. It didn’t take too long for the Silverbacks to cash in on the man-advantage. Captain Daniel Panetta carried the puck into the offensive zone and whipped a shot over Hicks glove to give the Silverbacks the lead again; it was Panetta’s 15th of the campaign. Matt Bourgault and Noah Serdachny picked up assists on the play. But again, the Centennials responded. It looked like just an innocent shot from just inside the blue line by Jackson Krill. However, it hit Vanderkooi in the chest and somehow snuck into the net to tie the game at three. Then on another Silverbacks powerplay, it was the top unit going to work. After some pretty passing in the offensive zone, Brandon Santa Juana found Serdachny, and he ripped it glove side on Hicks for his 15th of the season and gave the Backs a 4-3 lead. Again the Silverbacks heavily controlled the period and outshot the Centennials 17-9.

The Silverbacks poured on the shots in the final frame, and with that came more goals. Three of them in the third period. First, it was rookies Nathan Mackie and Nathan Morin teaming up for a pretty play that sent Morin on a breakaway, and he made a backhand forehand deke and slid it past Hicks for a two-goal lead. Owen Beckner then had a glorious chance to increase that lead midway through the third, but he was absolutely robbed by the paddle of Hicks to keep it 5-3. Then with five minutes left in the game, Tassy and Serdachny teamed up for another goal, as Serdachny tipped home the Tassy pass to make it 6-3. Finally, Ethan Ullrick added a powerplay goal late in the hockey game for his 6th of the season. Liam Vanderkooi improved to 8-1 on the season and 4-0 personally against the Centennials this season. The Backs with the win improve to 25-4-2 on the season and will now head to Cranbrook for a pair of games. Puck drop is 7:00 MST, 6:00 PST!