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GAME ONE: Vees hand ‘Backs first regulation loss of postseason with 5-1 decision

Penticton, BC – It was game one of the Interior Conference Finals on Friday night as the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and Penticton Vees went to battle at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton. The ‘Backs were making their first appearance at the Interior Conference Finals since 2010/11. Penticton is making their third straight Conference Finals appearance. The two teams had met five teams in the regular season with the Vees taking the season set five games to nothing. But, as the playoffs have proved; The post-season offers a new beginning. The best-of-seven series winner will move on the BCHL Finals and play for the Fred Page Cup.

It was a battle of two of the best in the post-season between the pipes as Matthew Tovell (8-0-1, 2.06 GAA, .928 S%, 0 SO) got the nod for the ‘Backs, while Luca Di Pasquo (8-0-0, 1.50 GAA, .939 S%, 1SO) got the start for the Vees.

It was a tough start for the ‘Backs in the opening period from Penticton as the Vees were able to get on the board in the early goings. The Silverbacks went to the box for the first time in the series just 77 seconds in as Ethan Ullrick went to the box for a two-minute high-sticking call. On the ensuing powerplay, it was Dovar Tinling (5) tapping home the puck following a slick back-door pass from Josh Nadeau. Salmon Arm quickly got a chance to get things knotted up with a powerplay of their own as Brett Moravec went to the box for a interference call. It was not the opening powerplay that the ‘Backs were looking for as Thomas Pichette (4) was able to steal the puck and lift the puck over the shoulder of Tovell to get the Vees lead to two goals with the shorthanded marker. The Silverbacks were able to weather the storm for the remainder of the first period, as they fired ten shots towards the net of Luca Di Pasquo but were not able to get one by. The Vees took a 2-0 lead into the middle frame with shots deadlocked at 10-10.

The Vees were able to continue the momentum that that they picked up in the first period of play as they quickly went back to the attack. Just under five minutes into the period it was the top line for the Vees heading to work as Dovar Tinling carried the puck into the ‘Backs end and around the net of Tovell before finding Bradly Nadeau (12) alone in front of the net as he was able to slide one into the back of the net to extend the Vees lead three. The rest of the period showed a continuing road to the penalty box as both sides made there way to the sin bin. Callum Arnott and Ben Brunette each sat for some time in the box, but the Silverbacks were not able to capitalize with the extra man. Shots in the middle frame were 10-8 in favour of Penticton.

It was a terriffic start to the third period for the Silverbacks as just under 90 seconds in, a tenacious forecheck paid off for the ‘Backs. Isaac Lambert (5) was able to jam home a wrap-around through the five-hole of Di Pasquo to get the Silverbacks on the board for the first time of the series. Both teams traded penalties shortly after the ‘Backs goal as Ben Brunette and Ethan Ullrick sat for two minutes each which gave the game its first chance of four-on-four time. Just moments after the penalities concluded, it was the Vees pouncing Aydar Suniev (4) got on the board to restore the Vees three goal lead. As the period progressed, it was Josh Nadeau (7) getting on the board as he was the recipient of another backdoor pass by Suniev which left him alone out front to give the Vees a four goal lead. They were able to hang on for a 5-1 game one victory.

Next up for the Silverbacks will be game two back here in Penticton. Puck drops once again at 7:00PM from the South Okanagan Events Centre and you can catch all of the action on Hockey TV!

Photo by CHERIE MORGAN – Recap Courtesy of TONY TROZZO