PHOTO: PURE LIFE PHOTOGRAPHY
West Kelowna, B.C. — Despite out-shooting the West Kelowna Warriors 35-23 on Saturday night, the Salmon Arm Silverbacks fell 3-1 at Royal LePage Place.
The loss means the Backs finish the Okanagan Cup round robin with a record of 3-8-1, while the Warriors finish with a 7-4-1 record.
The Silverbacks will face the Penticton Vees next Friday in the 1st vs. 4th semi-final, while the Warriors will host the Vernon Vipers.
The Silverbacks had a good start to this game, but they surrendered the game’s first goal on a power play just under five minutes in. John Evans stole the puck at centre ice after it bounced twice on Hunter Sansbury and was able to break in alone and just slip the puck past Liam Vanderkooi’s left pad to make it 1-0.
Just under four minutes later, the Silverbacks evened the score on Mat Bourgault’s second of the Okanagan Cup. Logan Shaw entered the zone down the left side on his off-wing and tried to move to the inside on Warriors defenceman Charles-Alexis Legault, who poked it right to Bourgault in the slot. Bourgault quickly released a snap shot right to the top corner, which beat a helpless Zach Bennett in net, whose own defenceman had fallen into the crease.
Not long after tying it, the Silverbacks were called for three consecutive minor penalties, two of which crossed over, giving the Warriors two partial 5-on-3s, but they couldn’t score on either one, keeping the game tied.
Unfortunately the media timeout prevented the Silverbacks from building off the momentum of three consecutive kills and right after, Carter Wilkie scored for the Warriors thanks to a centering pass from Elan Bar Lev Wise.
The Silverbacks had some solid offensive chances to begin the second period, but couldn’t convert, and at the 6:15 mark of the period, West Kelowna got a badly needed insurance marker that took back some momentum on Matthiew Stienburg’s seventh goal of the Okanagan Cup.
Salmon Arm kept up the offensive pressure as the period wore on and drew two penalties, but couldn’t score at either even strength or on the power play. They went into the second intermission down 3-1, but were outshooting West Kelowna 27-19.
In the third, it was more of the same, as the Backs had more opportunities both on the power play and at even strength, but Zach Bennett stopped all eight shots he saw in the third period to hold on for the 3-1 West Kelowna victory.
For the full boxscore, click here.
THEY SAID IT
“I thought that we were able to find our groove in the second period. It’s hard to imagine that we’re going to be snake bitten like this all season. Another double-digit-plus chance night for us and we’re talking high quality chances in and around the net. We put almost 70 shots on goal over the two games this weekend and only got two goals rewarded for it. It’s one of those ones where it can be frustrating for the players and we feel for the guys right now because they really bought in the last two nights and played extremely hard and just weren’t able to get the bounces to go their way. – Asst. Coach Carter Cochrane
SILVERBACKS TOP PERFORMER
“I think he had two or three chances at open nets that somehow [didn’t go in]. One was blocked, one he missed the net on and one was a tremendous save. He’s doing so many good things already in just two games that you just hope he starts to find that touch and starts to capitalize.”
Next Friday will be the semifinals — a one-game elimination — where the Silverbacks will take on the Penticton Vees.