The Cardiac Kids are alive and well.
Down 3-0, 23 minutes into the game, Salmon Arm would score six unanswered in the final 24 minutes to win 6-3 in West Kelowna. The Silverbacks dressed five AP’s Saturday night, and five members of the roster were born in 2002.
The Warriors power play would run the first period scoring both goals on their first two opportunities. Parm Dhaliwal one time a shot from the left of the goal, and then a shot from Anthony Bishop found it’s way past Ethan Langenegger who wound up stopping 38 of 41 shots. Salmon Arm nearly got on the board with four minutes left, but Jack Sampson centred the puck out front and Darren Rizzolo was stopped by Connor Hopkins who finished with 33 saves on 37 shots. A minute later Willie Reim nearly made it 3-0 as he was alone in front of the goal with the puck, but couldn’t slide it in.
Reim would redeem himself in the second period with an early shot off the right wing that squeaked in under the arm of Langenegger. That made it 3-0 for the Warriors and had the Royal LePage Place fans buzzing. They nearly had another reason to cheer with five minutes left as Wyatt Head went end to end while the two teams were playing four-on-four, but his shot just went off the right post. That would cost West Kelowna with the Silverbacks getting on the board just a minute later.
A centring feed from John Little deflected in for the first goal of the game for Salmon Arm. Then with 1:28 to go, a shot from Nick Unruh off the draw narrowly missed the net, but moments later he would get the puck back going five hole on Hopkins to make it a 3-2 game heading to the third. The goal for Unruh extended his scoring streak to four straight games.
When leading after two, the Warriors heading in were 20-1-0-1, but would collapse further allowing the Silverbacks comeback. A faceoff win by Nick Unruh went right to the stick of Trevor Adams, and he fired a shot inside the left post for his 16th of the season. Salmon Arm took their first lead of the game 4-3 just after the halfway mark as Matthew Verboon picked up a loose puck and scored his 21st of the season to pass Justin Wilson for the team lead.
West Kelowna would pull their goalie to no avail as Jack Sampson scored his first BCHL goal into the empty net, and that was followed up by Matthew Verboon also sliding a puck into the gaping cage.
With the win, Salmon Arm ties West Kelowna in the standings with 53 points, but the Silverbacks have played one fewer game so are ahead on that tie breaker. A shootout win in Wenatchee lifted the Vernon Vipers ahead of both teams and now hold fourth place with 54 points.
Salmon Arm will return home Tuesday night to take on the Coquitlam Express. The team then heads to Trail on the weekend for a Friday/Saturday doubleheader with the Smoke Eaters.
For the second night in a row, Ethan Langenegger starred in goal, and picked up his first win for the Silverbacks in Royal LePage Place. His save on Head in the second period was the turning point of the hockey game. It was the fourth win of the season for Langenegger against the Warriors. Playing with some real grit, Darren Rizzolo had one assist and played a TON of hockey for his side. One of three 20 year olds for Salmon Arm, Rizzolo has a great stick combined with good skating and a hard shot from the point.