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GAME FOUR: Lambert plays hero, ‘Backs force game five

Salmon Arm, BC – It was the second game in as many nights at the Shaw Centre as the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and Penticton Vees went to battle in Salmon Arm.  The Silverbacks season was on the line as the Vees overtime win on Tuesday night pushed the ‘Backs to the brink of elimination. The Vees took a 3-0 series lead into a pivotal game four matchup at the Jungle with the home crowd once again showing its fantastic support that has been seen throughout the entirety of the season. A Penticton win would push them through to the Fred Page Cup Finals, while a Salmon Arm win would force game five.

Matthew Tovell (8-2-2, 2.71 GAA, .912 S%, 0SO) got the start for the ‘Backs. while Luca Di Pasquo (11-0-0, 1.54 GAA, .939 S%, 1SO) got the nod for the Vees.

It was a slow start at the Shaw Centre as both teams looked to impose their will on each other. There was only one entry into the scoresheet in the opening period of play and it came just over three minutes into the contest. Callum Arnott (2) and Frank Djurasevic went on a two on one rush and Arnott was able to bank the puck off the leg of the Silverbacks defencemen and saw the puck get propelled into the back of the Silverbacks net. There was not a single penalty called in the first period of play as we had a twenty-minute sequence of five on five play. Shots in the period were 10-5 in favour of Penticton.

Once again it was a quiet period between the ‘Backs and Vees but there were a few more entries into the scorers sheet. The ‘Backs went to the first powerplay of the game early in the second as Owen Simpson went to the box for a two minute holding call. Salmon Arm was unable capitalize with the extra attacker as Luca Di Pasquo looked sharp. The Vees had a chance of their own on the powerplay when Ryan Buckley went to the box for a two-minute interference call, but the Silverbacks were able to kill the Vees powerplay and only surrendered one shot on the two-minute sequence. Ethan Ullrick (4) was able to get his second in as many nights as batted one by Di Pasquo to even things up at one a piece. Salmon Arm took a late penalty as Nathan Mackie went to the box with just five seconds left in the period which would give Penticton essentially a full powerplay to kick off the third period. Salmon Arm outshot Penticton 18-10 in the period.

The final frame was one for the books at the Shaw Centre as the home fans were treatetd to a thrilling twenty minutes of hockey. The Vees were able to capitalize on their carry over powerplay time that was earned at the end of the second. Just 48 seconds into the period, it was Aydar Suniev (5) making his mark for the first time in the series as he restored the Vees one goal lead in the third. Salmon Arm continued to stay resilient in their efforts as they looked poised to get back into the game. Midway through the period, it was once again Ethan Ullrick (5) striking gold as he buried his second of the game to get thing evened up at two a piece. For the second time in as many nights, the ‘Backs and Vees would need overtime. Shots in the final frame were deadlocked at 10 a piece.

It was an action filled extra frame as both teams had multiple glorious scoring opportunities with a chance to end the game. Just over three minutes into overtime, we got our winner. The play started off back in the Silverbacks end as Josh Nadeau went in alone on Tovell with a chance to win it. Tovell was able to stick out the left pad and send the play the other way. Nathan Mackie and Isaac Lambert moved the puck quickly through the neutral zone towards the Vees end. Isaac Lambert (6) played hero for Salmon Arm as he slid on by Di Pasquo to end the Vees 27 game playoff-win streak.

Next up in the series will be game five back in Penticton as the ‘Backs look to force game six back in Salmon Arm. Puck drops at 7:00PM from the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Photo by CHRIS FOWLER – Recap Courtesy of TONY TROZZO