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Bucks squeeze out 4-3 shootout victory over the Silverbacks

Salmon Arm, BC – It was another night of Saturday night hockey from the Shaw Centre as the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (25-16-4-2) welcomed the Cranbrook Bucks (32-13-1-2) into town for the final of five meetings on the season. It is the second time the two teams have squared off in the last week, with the Silverbacks taking down Cranbrook 4-2 in that decision. The ‘Backs came into the game on a three game win streak, and winners of six of their last seven. While the Bucks were coming off a huge 7-1 win over the West Kelowna Warriors on Friday night.

Matthew Tovell (21-14-3-0, 2.50 GAA, .924 S%, 4SO) got this 11th straight start for the Silverbacks, while Nathan Airey (20-8-1-1, 2.44 GAA, .926 S%) got the start for the Bucks.

The two teams kicked off the Saturday night matchup in front of a large crowd at the Shaw Centre. The period started off with a great pace with very few stoppages in play and a physical edge to the play. The first penalty of the game came midway through the period as Jaxon Fuder went to the box for a two-minute boarding call in which they were able to kill off with multiple big clearances. It was not until just over thirteen minutes into the opening frame when we saw the opening goal as Jack Silich (22) was able to beat Matthew Tovell with a shot from the low slot to get the Bucks on the board. Nathan Airey looked sharp in the first period as he was able to stop all ten shots that he faced to keep the Silverbacks off the board. Shots in the opening frame were deadlocked at ten a piece.

The middle frame kicked off with two quick penalties to Cranbrook which gave the Silverbacks a lengthy five on three man advantage. On the ensuing powerplay it was Owen Beckner (15) finishing off a slick cross door pass from Nathan Mackie to get things knotted up in the early goings of the middle frame. With his assist, Nathan Mackie extended his point streak to ten games. Salmon Arm got themselves into penalty trouble of their own midway through the period as Will Lavigne went to the box for four minutes. The Bucks were able to restore their one goal lead on the man advantage as Blake Cotton (7) got on the board with the powerplay marker. Salmon Arm was able to kill off the second half of the powerplay in big part to block shots from Maddux Martin and CJ Foley. Blake Cotton (8) was able to get his second of the game late in the period as batted home a rebound out of midair. Shots in the middle frame were 8-8.

Salmon Arm came into the final period of play trailing by two goals and were looking to make the period an interesting one for the home crowd. Early in the period it was a surprising fight as Nic Leggett and Jaxon Fuder dropped the gloves in the early going to get both benches going. Shortly after the fight, it was Reid Varkonyi (3) pulling the ‘Backs within one as he finished off a nice pass from Casy Laylin. Salmon Arm continued to push in the final frame, and Owen Beckner (16) was able to jam home his second of the game in the final two and a half minutes to force overtime.

Salmon Arm had a glorious opportunity to end it in overtime with a man advantage as Noah Quinn went off for a two minute tripping call. Cranbrook was successful in killing the penalty, and extended the game to a shootout. Jack Silich got the lone goal in the shootout which helped propel the Bucks to a 4-3 shootout win over Salmon Arm.

Next up for the Silverbacks will be a Friday night matchup in Vernon. The ‘Backs and Vipers will conclude their seven game season set with a matchup at Kal Tire Place. Puck drops at 7:00PM!

Photo by CHRIS FOWLER – Recap Courtesy of TONY TROZZO