Salmon Arm, BC – The Interior Confernce Semifinals got back underway at the Shaw Centre for game five as the Silverbacks and Vipers switched gears over from Kal Tire Place to the Salmon Arm. The ‘Backs had won three straight games over the Vipers after Vernon had taken game one of the series. Game four was one of the most interesting games of the series as it was a game of three seperate periods in Vernon with the Silverbacks getting three in third to take down the Vipers 7-3. It was once again a ruckus crowd at the Shaw Centre as 2,150 filled the stands looking to cheer on the ‘Backs to their first Conference Final appearance since 2010/11.
Matthew Tovell (7-0-1, 1.96 GAA, .930 S%, 0 SO) got the start once again for the Silverbacks, while Ethan David (5-1-1, 2.15 GAA, .919 S%, 2 SO) got back into the net for the Vipers.
The crowd at the Shaw Centre brought the nosie for game five as the A.L Fortune Drumline got people going in the Jungle as people were looking forward to seeing an intense game. The early period play indicated that it would be a high-paced hockey game in which the pace would be a major factor. The Vipers went to the penalty-box as Lee Parks took a two minute holding call. The leagues top-ranked playoff powerplay unit was held off the board led by Ethan David who made four remarkable saves. Freshly out of the box was Lee Parks (7) who was able to slide one with a backhand effort by Tovell. Salmon Arm quickly turned the tides as under two minutes later, they were able to even things up. Hayden Stavroff (5) scored on a sensational solo effort after he blocked a shot in his own end before lifting one by David on a two on one. As the period progressed, it was time for the hometown boy to bring the noise. Maddux Martin (2) was able to steer home a rebound after a richochet off the end boards left Martin alone for a tap in. Shots in the period were 15-14 in favour of Salmon Arm.
The middle frame was once again the Vipers period as they were able to once again storm out of the intermission looking like a team on a mission. They quickly got to work as Julian Facchinelli (3) got his second goal in as many games as he took a sharp angle shot that found a sliver of room over the shoulder of Tovell to tie things up at one a piece. The two teams traded penalties in the middle part of the period as Anson McMaster and Liam Steele each sat for two minutes. The Silverbacks were unable to capitalize on their opporunity, while the Vipers were able to make it count. It was Dylan Compton (2) propelling a shot from the blueline that hit a body on the way through and slid by Tovell to give the vipers the 3-2 lead. Vernon had the large margin in shots in the period as they outshot Salmon Arm 13-7.
The final frame in Salmon Arm continued the high-pace and intensity that we saw in the opening forty. The Vipers carried a one goal lead into the period as Salmon Arm was looking for an equalizer. It was a penalty free third period as neither team went to the man-advantage. Midway through the third, it was a heroic first BCHL Goal. Nic Leggett (1) recieved a drop pass on a ‘Backs three on two before he lifted one over the glove hand of David with a rocket of a wrist shot to even the score at three. The two teams finished off the third in conservative fashion as neither team was wanting to make a mistake. The game would end deadlocked in regulation and need an overtime period for third time in the series. Shots in the final frame were 10-8 in favour of Salmon Arm.
In the extra frame it was a quick ending as Mathieu Bourgault (2) finished off the series with a wrap-around goal as he tucked the puck between the legs of Ethan David!
Next up for the Silverbacks will be game one of the Interior Confernce Finals as the ‘Backs will travel into Penticton to take on the Vees next Friday night.
Photo by CHRIS FOWLER – Recap Courtesy of TONY TROZZO