Prince George, BC – For the second time in as many nights, and seventh and final time on the regular season it was the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (27-18-4-2) and Prince George Spruce Kings (26-20-5-1) squaring off at the Kopar Memorial Arena in Prince George. The two teams went the extra mile for the third time on the season last evening with Owen Beckner playing hero with the overtime winner. The ‘Backs came into the contest winners of four of the first six meetings on the season between the teams. Salmon Arm was looking for their third straight victory while the Spruce Kings were looking to avoid their third straight loss.
Matthew Tovell (25-13-3-2, 2.54 GAA, .922 S%, 4SO) got the start for the Silverbacks, while Aidan Fedemma (5-6-2, 3.09 GAA, .885 S%, 3SO) got the nod for the Spruce Kings.
The two teams got out to a conservative start in the opening period of play of the back-to-back situation as the puck seemed destined to stay near the perimeter of the ice during the first half of the period. The Silverbacks had the first powerplay opportunity in the early goings as Owen Goodbrand went to the box just three minutes in to give the ‘Backs the advantage. Aidan Fedemma looked sharp as he turned aside three scoring opportunities. That first penalty kill was just the start of the storyline in the first period as the Spruce Kings special teams unit stole the show in the first frame. They killed off two more penalties as Ty Gagno and John Herrington each sat for two minutes. Late in the period, the Spruce Kings went to the powerplay as Maddux Martin took just his third penalty on the season. On the ensuing powerplay, it was Kilian Mcgregror-Bennett (10) batting home a rebound the give the Spruce Kings the opening goal. Shots in the first period were 16-11 in favour of Salmon Arm.
The second period started strong for Prince George as they were able to carry over the momentum that picked up late in the first period with the late powerplay goal. Ryan Buckley went to the box just over five-minutes into the period which gave Prince George their second man-advantage of the game. On the ensuing man-advantage, the Spruce Kings went to work once again. It was Austin Fraser (12) getting the puck by Tovell as he squeezed one by the Silverbacks netminder to double up on the Spruce Kings lead. Salmon Arm one again went to work on the powerplay shortly after the Spruce Kings goal, but could not find the answer for Fedemma as he continued to look sturdy in between the pipes for Prince George. Shots in the middle frame were 10-5 in favour of Prince George.
Prince George went to the penalty kill early once again in the third period as Owen Goodbrand went to the box for a two minute hooking call just over 70 seconds into the period. The Spruce Kings penalty kill continued to impress as they stayed perfect with another kill to kick off the period. Moments after the conclusion of the Silverbacks powerplay, it was Ty Gagno (17) beating Tovell to give the Spruce Kings a three goal lead. They were able to add one more as Jake Schneider (19) got his second goal in as many games against the Silverbacks to give them a four goal lead. They hung on from that point and were able to steer home a 4-0 victory over Salmon Arm.
Next up for the Silverbacks will be a midweek matchup from the Shaw Centre as the Penticton Vees pay a visit into town. All kids 15 and under will get in free thanks to our friends at Jungle Mania! Puck drops at 6:00PM.
Photo by CHUCK CHIN – Recap Courtesy of TONY TROZZO