It’s now a five game series and the Silverbacks have home ice advantage.
Salmon Arm and Vernon split their series in Kal Tire Place which makes the best of seven tied at 1-1 heading to the Shaw Centre.
The visitors took the first game 5-3 as Salmon Arm built a 5-1 lead and were able to beat the Vipers in Vernon for the third time in four meetings this season in Vernon. Saturday night was a tight game, and it was the former Silverback Josh Latta playing hero in OT to even the series. Hudson Schandor scored in the second period to give Salmon Arm the first goal of the game on the team’s 10th shot.
Salmon Arm did a great job of taking the energy out of the arena through the game, and it was silent in Vernon until Olson Werenka answered the bell and dropped the gloves against Landon Fuller. That got the Vernon crowd pumped up, and three minutes later Jesse Lansdell on a great individual effort tied the game. A late power play was taken away from Salmon Arm after Backs Captain Sol Seibel tangled up with Jack Judson who had just hit Trevor Adams from behind into the boards.
At home this season, Salmon Arm is a perfect 3-0 against the Vernon Vipers with two of those wins coming in overtime. Going on the road to start a playoff series, a 2-0 lead coming home is ideal, but a split is by no means a bad situation. With things tied up 1-1, the first team to win three games of the remaining possible five will move onto the Interior Division semi-finals. Three of those can be played in the Shaw Centre (Games 3,4,6) while just two (Games 5 and 7) could be in Kal Tire Place. Both coaches have said this is a series that can easily go to seven games, and through two games that looks like a real possibility.
Players to Watch:
Silverbacks: Through 110 minutes of playoff action, Olson Werenka played a physical style of game but stayed within the lines. With 10 minutes to go in a game with no energy in the building, he dropped the gloves with the Vipers heavyweight, and that sparked the arena giving them life. Werenka had offensive impact in the regular season scoring four points in four games against Vernon showing he can affect the game outside of his physicality. One of two Silverbacks with points in games 1 and 2, Jack Sampson has continued to be a big contributor on the scoring side of things, but is also being trusted with more time on the penalty kill and had a number of key reads on Saturday to break up Vipers chances.
Vipers: They finally got a goal from a player not named Lansdell or Williamson with the Josh Latta overtime goal, but the Vipers still need their depth scoring to step up. Lane Zablocki is suspected to not be at 100% after missing the final three weeks of the season. Up front, the likes of Matt Kowalski and Teddy Wooding have the potential to pickup some points after a strong first two games. Wooding had just two points against Salmon Arm in the regular season, but is someone who creates lots of opportunities with his speed. Kowalski led the team in scoring with 43 points this season and will be counted on to provide more offence.
Around the League:
Four of the eight playoff series are a go tonight in the BCHL. The Silverbacks vs Vipers meeting is the only Interior battle. On the Island, Nanaimo hosts the Powell River Kings who they beat Saturday to even the series up at one. In the Mainland, both games see teams with 2-0 leads in their respective series. Prince George scored on a power play in OT to go up 2-0, and tonight are in Coquitlam taking on the Express. The league leading Chilliwack Chiefs are shockingly down 2-0 in their series to the Langley Rivermen with the next two games being played in Langley. Last season Chilliwack had the luxury of losing in the first round but as hosts still played in the RBC Cup where they won the tournament.
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