2019 is off to a bang for Salmon Arm.
Taking on the Penticton Vees, the Silverbacks killed off all eight penalty kills they faced including a pair of five-one-threes in the second period enroute to a 3-1 win.
Salmon Arm fell 4-2 earlier this season in the South Okanagan Events Centre but with the win improved to 2-1 against the Vees this year.
Penticton outshot the Silverbacks 11-5 in the first period but neither team was able to beat the others goaltender. Matthew Armitage stopped 37 of 38 shots on the night and was named first star for his efforts.
In the second period, the Silverbacks would finally break the scoreless draw with Wyatt Marlow scoring his first career BCHL goal. Aiden Jenner put the puck on net, and Marlow to the left of the goal was able to squeeze a shot inside the right post.
Right before the goal, Salmon Arm had killed off a pair of five-on-three penalty kills with Matthew Armitage making a number of big saves to keep Penticton off the board.
Shortly Marlow’s goal, the game was evened by Andre Ghantous. Salmon Arm moved the puck out of their zone, but a tired line was unable to get the puck to centre and deep. The Vees countered, and Ghantous snapped a shot top right corner to tie the game at one.
On a late power play, Nick Unruh was setup in the right faceoff dot by Noah Wakeford, but Jack LaFontaine was able to dive across making the glove save.
A back and forth third period saw Salmon Arm again take the lead as Hudson Schandor was spotted by Nick Unruh, and a slap pass was deflected into the top corner for what would stand as the game winning goal. Penticton pulled their goalie with two and a half minutes to go putting pressure on Salmon Arm, but Jonathan Krahn would steal the puck on the right boards and pass the puck ahead to Trevor Adams who got to centre ice before sending it into the empty net.
Two points for Salmon Arm moved them to 40 on the season which is five behind West Kelowna who have played three more games than the Silverbacks. Salmon Arm returns home this weekend for their “re-home opener” in the Shaw Centre. A New Year brings a new video and sound system for fans to enjoy at all home games.
Matthew Armitage stood on his head for the team Friday night. Not only did he make big saves, but he made them at critical times of the game. His first action after the Christmas break showed no signs of rust. The Penticton Vees have a number of offensive weapons that he was able to shut down. Assisting on Wyatt Marlow’s goal, Aiden Jenner now has a point in every game against Penticton this season.