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‘Backs take down the Bucks 4-2

Cranbrook, BC – The Salmon Arm Silverbacks (24-16-4-1) concluded the month of February with a quick trip into Cranbrook to take on the Bucks (30-13-3-0). The two teams had met three times prior on the season, with the Silverbacks holding the 2-1 season series lead. Both teams got back into the win column the night prior as the Bucks took down the Vipers in a thrilling 6-5 victory which ended a three game losing streak. While the Silverbacks were coming off a dominant 5-1 victory of the Centennials in which they booked their ticket to the BCHL Post-Season.

Matthew Tovell (19-14-3-1, 2.55 GAA, .924 S%, 4 SO) got the start for the Silverbacks, while Nathan Airey (19-17-2-0, 2.43 GAA, .928 S%, 1 SO) got the nod for the Bucks.

Salmon Arm was able to carry over the momentum from the final period of play from their game against Merritt in the night prior as the offence continued to thrive in the opening twenty in Cranbrook. The ‘Backs went to the early penalty kill as Owen Beckner went to the box for a two minute boarding call just 57 seconds into the contest, Salmon Arm was able to kill off the penalty. They were able to pick up the momentum in the game near the midway point as Hayden Stavroff (11) continued his great play as of late as he was able to beat Nathan Airey to open the scoring. Just seconds after the opening goal, it was the Captain, Nathan Mackie (24) getting on the board once again to extend the ‘Backs lead to two goals. Late in the period, Isaac Lambert (14) followed up on a great rush towards the front of the net by Hayden Stavroff, and was able to bat one by Airey to extend Salmon Arm’s lead to three goals. Shots in the first were 24-4 in favour of Salmon Arm.

The middle frame started off with a scary incident as Ryan Gillespie took a puck to the the upper-body area in the early goings of the period, and needed medical attention to help him off of the ice. The two teams got back into action following the stoppage with a different mindset as they were hoping for the best for their teammate, and competitor. As the period progressed, the play seemed to pick up in physicality as the Bucks seemed poised to use their size advantage to work their way back into the game. The silverbacks got into penalty trouble midway through the period as they went to a lengthy five-on-three kill as Reid Varkonyi and Nathan Mackie both went to the box. Salmon Arm was able to kill off both penalties in big part thanks to several shot blocks. Neither team was able to get on the board in the period, and shots in the middle frame were 9-5 in favour of Cranbrook.

The bucks looked like a different team in the final period of play as they came out in the final frame looking to get back into the contest. They made quick work of that as Noah Quinn (17) was able to beat Matthew Tovell to get the Bucks on the board just under three minutes into the period. Just over a minute later, it was Donovan Frias (20) pulling the Bucks within one. Late in the period it was a brilliant solo effort from Hayden Stavroff (12) as he got his third in his last two games to restore a two-goal Silverbacks lead.

Next up for the Silverbacks will be a midweek matchup at the Shaw Centre. The ‘Backs will welcome the Smoke Eaters into town for a Wednesday night clash. All kids 15 and under will get in free thanks to our friends at Think Monkey! Puck drops at 6:00pm.

Photo by MARTIN ROSS – Recap Courtesy of TONY TROZZO