Chilliwack, BC: Mathieu Cobetto-Roy and Ethan Ullrick scored their first BCHL goals, and Liam Vanderkooi stopped 20 of 22 to help lift the Salmon Arm Silverbacks over the Coquitlam Express 5-2 in the first game of the annual BCHL Showcase.
In the first period, the Silverbacks struck early. Simon Tassy was up to his old tricks. He barreled down the right side and ripped a shot over the Express goaltender Adam Menji’s glove to make it 1-0. It has been a red hot start for Tassy, who already has six on the campaign. The Express had an opportunity to even the score on the powerplay when defenceman Owen Desilets went off for tripping. The Silverbacks played a very aggressive penalty kill all night, and it showed, going a perfect 5/5 on the kill. The silverbacks got a powerplay of their own when Christian McDougall was assessed a four-minute kneeing penalty. Despite excellent zone time and puck movement from the top unit, they were unable to capitalize. Fortunately for the Backs, the second unit stepped up. Matt Bourgault fed Mathieu Cobetto-Roy, and he ripped a laser one-timer past Manji to make it 2-0. The goal was Cobetto-Roy’s first BCHL goal. After miscommunication at the Backs blue line, the Express answered that Arlo Merritt cut straight to the net and beat Vanderkooi on the backhand to cut the lead in half. It was Vanderkooi’s first start since October 2nd, the Backs final preseason game in Penticton. The Backs outshot the Express 15-9 in the opening period.
The Silverbacks began to take over the hockey game in the middle frame, controlling most puck possession. The Express had an opportunity to even the game after Mike Ladyman put them on a lengthy 4 min powerplay as he went off for kneeing. However, the Silverbacks again killed it off. The silverbacks offence struck again late. With 3:45 left in the second period, Lucas Matta walked down from the point and snapped a shot under the glove to double the lead again. The goal gave matta goals in back-to-back games. Just 17 seconds later, Ethan Ullrick found a loose puck at the side of the net, and he deposited it in the net for his first BCHL goal and gave the backs a 4-1 lead. The Express answered again with another late goal by jaeger Murdock cutting the lead to 4-2. The silverbacks outshot the express 9-8 in the middle frame.
In the final frame, the backs tightened up and protected their two-goal lead, outshooting the express 12-5. Brandon Santa Juana added a late empty netter to ice the game away.
With the win, the Silverbacks improve to 3-0-1 on the season. They will be in action again tomorrow afternoon against the Nanaimo Clippers. Puck drop is set for 4 PM PT.