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‘Backs take overtime thriller over the Spruce Kings, 4-3

Prince George, BC – For the first time on the season, it was a meeting between the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (27-17-4-2) and the Prince George Spruce Kings (25-20-5-1) that took place from the Kopar Memorial Arena. The two teams had met five times prior on the regular season with three taking place in Salmon Arm, and most recently two taking place in Burns Lake at the BCHL Road Show. The Silverbacks had taken three out of the first five meetings with two of those games going to overtime. The Spruce Kings were looking to bounce back following a 2-1 defeat to the Vernon Vipers on Saturday, while the ‘Backs were looking to continue the momentum they picked up in their 3-2 victory over Wenatchee.

Matthew Tovell (22-15-3-2, 2.53 GAA, .923 S%, 4SO) got his 14th straight start for the ‘Backs, while Jordan Fairlie (20-14-3, 2.88 GAA, .892 S%, 3SO) got the nod for the Spruce Kings.

The first period of play went against the flow of what we saw in the first five games between the two teams as they had combined for just 23 goals in the 15 periods of play. Salmon Arm was able to strike first as the captain, Nathan Mackie (27) find the open net behind Jordan Fairlie after he received a slick pass from Ethan Ullrick. The lead was short lived as the Spruce Kings went to work quickly after the goal. Salmon Arm went to the box first as Nic Leggett took a two minute cross-checking call, and on the ensuing man-advantage, the Spruce Kings were able to capitalize. It was Jack Stockfish (14) beating Tovell on the powerplay with a shot from the slot just under a minute after the opening ‘Backs goal. With just over five and a half minutes left in the opening frame, Salmon Arm seemed poised to regain their lead. It was a highlight worthy goal from Isaac Lambert (16) as he received a pass from Raoul Boilard before he was able to out-wait Fairlie before tucking one by his left pad to restore their one goal lead. Shots in the opening period were 9-6 in favour of Prince George.

The Silverbacks had just over a minute and a half of powerplay time to work with to kick off the period. The Spruce Kings were able to kill off the man-advantage, but the Silverbacks continued to apply the pressure. Just over a minute and a half into the period, it was CJ Foley (7) extending the ‘Backs lead to two goals after he received a brilliant seam-pass from Hayden Stavroff. The ‘Backs third goal was the final shot of the game for Jordan Fairlie as Aidan Fedemma came in relief. Prince George was able to stay resilient in the period as they looked to pull the game within one goal. Scott Cousins (3) followed up on a rebound midway through the period before he banged home the goal into the back of the Silverbacks net to make it a one goal game once again. The teams traded penalties in the second half of the period, but neither team was able to capitalize. Shots in the middle frame were 14-9 in favour of Salmon Arm.

Period three was the most similar style of hockey to which we saw in the first five meetings as the two teams combined for just four shots in the opening ten minutes of the period. The two teams were battling it out with different ideas of how the game would unfold. Neither team went to the penalty box in the final frame which provided a full period of back-and-fourth even-strength play for the crowd in Prince George. The game stayed at a stand-still for a majority of the period until the Spruce Kings were able to get things knotted up. With just under three minutes to go in the period, it was Jake Schenieder (18) beating Tovell to force overtime.

In the extra frame, it was all Salmon Arm as they won the opening face-off and never looked back. Just over a minute into the overtime period, Owen Beckner (17) received a drop pass from CJ Foley before he buried one high and over the glove of Fedemma to get the overtime winner.

Next up for the Silverbacks will be the second half of the back-to-back with the Spruce Kings as they meet for the seventh and final time on the regular season tomorrow night at 7:00PM.

Photo by CHUCK CHIN – Recap Courtesy of TONY TROZZO