Wenatchee, WA – For the third time this season it was the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (16-13-2-1) and the Wenatchee Wild (15-16-1-2) squaring off in an Interior Conference showdown. The two teams had split the first two games of the season series, with the home team coming out on top in both occasions. The ‘Backs were coming off a 5-3 loss to the hands of the West Kelowna Warriors on Sunday, while the Wild were coming off an Island road swing in which they won two of the three games to kick off 2023.
It was once again Matthew Tovell (12-11-1-1, 2.87 GAA, .919 S%, 3 SO) getting the start for Salmon Arm, while Andy Vlaha (7-9-0-0, 3.29 GAA, .894 S%, 0 SO) got the nod for the Wild.
The game started off with an interesting beginning as Hayden Stavroff took a hitting from behind call just 2:19 into the opening frame which also gave him a game misconduct which would put the ‘Backs down to eleven forwards for the remainder of the game. They were able to weather the storm on the penalty kill, and earn a man advantage of their own. On the ensuing powerplay, it was Will Lavigne (6) getting things started with a shot from the blueline. The rest of the period saw back-and-fourth play, but it was Wenatchee getting the next goal as Alexios Georgaklis (1) getting things knotted up late in the frame. Shots in the first period were deadlocked at 9-9.
The wild came out looking like a different team in period number two as they were looking to grab their first lead of the game. Matthew Tovell was the story early in the period as he made three big saves to keep the game deadlocked at ones. Midway through the period it was once again the line of Jules Boilard, Ryan Gillespie, and Isaac Lambert combining to get the ‘Backs on the board. Jules Boilard (4) was able to bat home a rebound to get his second in as many games. The lead was short lived for Salmon Arm as Wenatchee was able to strike just under four and half-minutes later. Micah Berger (15) was able to beat Tovell with a brilliant solo effort to get things tied up. Shots in the middle frame were 13-11 in favor of Wenatchee.
The opening half of the final frame saw both teams given an opportunity to take the lead as the teams traded penalties. Both Matthew Tovell, and Andy Vlaha stood tall for their teams to keep the game knotted at two a piece. As the period moved along it looked inevitable that the game would head towards an overtime period. Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the final period, with the shots 10-9 in favor of Wenatchee.
In the extra frame it was Micah Berger (16) getting his second of the game, and fifth in his last two games to lift the Wild to a 3-2 overtime victory.
Next up for the Silverbacks will be a Friday night clash at the Shaw Centre. The ‘Backs will welcome the Merritt Centennials into town for the first time this season. All kids 15 and under will get in free thanks to Boathouse Marine & Leisure. Puck drop is slated for 7:00PM.
Photo Courtesy of Chris Fowler