PHOTO: TAMI QUAN PHOTOGRAPHY
Vernon, B.C. — The Salmon Arm Silverbacks went to extra time for the second consecutive night on Sunday, and this time they came away with a 6-5 shootout victory over the West Kelowna Warriors.
The Backs record is now 5-2-3, while the Warriors drop to 4-3-2.
The Silverbacks have gone to overtime an incredible six times in their 10 games thus far, and while the pattern of tight games remained constant, there was a first for them in this game as well: they were trailing 2-0 just seven minutes into the game.
Marcus Joughin struck first for the Warriors on a shorthanded breakaway and then Zach Brooks sniped a shot to the top corner to quickly put the ‘visitors’ ahead by a pair.
Salmon Arm also went 0-for-3 on their power play in the opening frame and trailed 2-0 at the first intermission.
Early in the second period, forward Cameron Recchi provided a badly needed spark. Tucker Hartmann started the play that led to Recchi’s goal, flipping the puck sky-high out of the zone and into open ice, allowing Recchi to use his acceleration to get to the puck first. When he did, he quickly ripped a perfect shot over the glove of goaltender Zach Bennett and into the top corner to cut the Warriors lead in half.
Less than a minute later, Joaquim Lemay found some room down the right wall in the offensive zone and used his vision to feed a cross-ice pass to Simon Tassy in the slot. Tassy quickly one-timed the puck home to tie the game 2-2.
With under six minutes to go in the second period, Salmon Arm would score their third consecutive goal, getting more offence from their top line. West Kelowna defenceman Nick Ardanaz couldn’t handle a D-to-D pass behind his own net, which led to the puck going to an open corner. Tassy got there first and immediately fired a pass to the front of the net for Sullivan Mack, who made no mistake on the deflection to make it 3-2.
In the final minute of play in the second period, Backs forward Philippe Jacques had a breakaway opportunity but was robbed by Bennett and unfortunately, the Warriors capitalized the other way on a 4-on-1 rush, after youngster Tyson Jugnauth scored on the backhand with 18 seconds remaining to even the score 3-3.
Early in the third period, the Warriors took back the lead on a power play, with Tyler Cristall netting his fifth of the pod season.
This time, it only took the Backs an incredible 14 seconds to respond, with Tassy scoring his second of the night with a beautiful, patient finish on the breakaway. The Montreal, Que. native got Bennett to bite when he faked the backhand move and calmly went back to his forehand.
The score remained 4-4 for much of the third period, until West Kelowna took the lead with only 1:38 remaining, after Joughin scored right as a Warriors power play had expired.
The Backs then pulled the goalie for the extra attacker, and caught a slight break when Zach Brooks’ attempt at the empty net hit the post. Hunter Sansbury then intercepted a centering pass and saw Tassy breaking away down the right side through the neutral zone. Sansbury immediately sent the puck ahead and hit Tassy in full stride, who was able to beat Bennett through the five-hole to tie the game 5-5 and complete his hat-trick.
Overtime would solve nothing and so the game went to a shootout.
Owen Say was a brick wall in the shootout for the Backs, stopping five shooters in a row, which set up Sansbury with an opportunity to give the Backs the two points. He did not disappoint, snapping one past the glove side of Bennett to end the game.
THEY SAID IT
“It’s been a long week and it’s not getting any shorter…We’re in the middle of the grind here and it definitely showed tonight. I will say there were many, many opportunities where we could have rolled over. “Four in five, we didn’t have it tonight fellas, it’s one of those games, we’ll get back at it Tuesday”. To credit our group, every time it seemed like things weren’t going to go our way, Simon Tassy seemed to be there to pull us out and keep us going. I don’t know how he had the legs that he had today. There were a lot of guys who battled through it. Obviously Tassy was the one that stood out. Just a credit to our group, to find a way. We found more than enough ways to dig ourselves holes tonight and we found a way out of them too.”
SASCU 3 STARS
FORTIS BC ENERGY PLAYER OF THE GAME
Cameron Recchi – SA – 1G
The Silverbacks have Monday off but will play Tuesday and Wednesday to finish off their stretch of six games in eight days.
Fans can stream all games on BCHL TV!