Salmon Arm, BC – It was game number two of the Interior Conference Semifinals from the Shaw Centre as the Silverbacks and Vipers went to battle for the second time in as many nights. Game one was the tale of two different momentum swings. The Silverbacks climbed out to a three goal lead in front of their home fans with a goal in each period which seemed to put them in a good position leading into the final stretch. The Vipers turned the tides in the final 16 minutes of regulation as they stormed back to tie it and take the game in overtime. Game two would be a pivotal one in the series as it would switch over to Kal Tire Place for game three and four.
Matthew Tovell (4-0-1, 1.94 GAA, .932 S%, 0 SO) got the start for the Silverbacks, while Ethan David (5-0-0, 1.57 GAA, .942 S%, 2 SO) got the nod for the Vipers.
It was a similar first period at the Shaw Centre to which we saw in game one as both teams were going through the feeling out process. The Silverbacks once again got the solid start in terms of the shot count as they fired nine out of the first twelve shots on goal. Isaac Lambert made his presence known in the early stages of the hockey game as he returned to the lineup following his two-game suspension as he played a large factor in building momentum for the Silverbacks. Salmon Arm once again went to the games first powerplay as Reagan Milburn went to the box for a two-minute slashing call. The Vipers were able to weather the storm with a solid penalty-kill to keep the game scoreless. Salmon Arm stayed resilient in the period and it payed off in the late stages. Owen Beckner (2) was able to open the scoring after he jammed home a rebound with just over two minutes to go in the period to give the ‘Backs the lead. The streak of scoring first in playoffs continued for the Silverbacks as they now have the opening goal in all six games played. Shots in the period were 12-4 in favour of Salmon Arm.
Salmon Arm was able to regain the magic that they had in the middle frame that was seen in round one against the Spruce Kings. The period started off with Vernon picking up their first power-play of the series and it brought them momentum as they fired the first four shots of the period towards the net of Matthew Tovell. Salmon Arm quickly turned things around as they started to fire on all cylinders. Ryan Gillespie (2) was able to steal the puck away in the offensive zone as he beat Ethan David to extend their lead to two goals, it was his second goal in as many games. Isaac Lambert (2) was once again was a factor in the period as he got on the board with a rocket of a wrist shot from in between the hash-marks to extend the ‘Backs lead to three goals. Both teams traded powerplay chances in the late stages of the period but both teams were unable to get on the board. Shots in the middle frame were 13-6 in favour of the Silverbacks.
It was a similar storyline heading into the final frame as the Silverbacks carried a three goal cushion into the final stages of the game. Vernon looked to rewrite the script from game one as they looked poised to get back into the hockey game. Seiya Tanaka-Campbell (1) got the Vipers on the board after a back-door pass from Connor Welsh left him with an empty net tap-in. Vernon continued to apply the pressure as the period progressed and they were able to pull within one goal as Jonathan Horn (1) unloaded with a shot from just inside the blue-line. The Vipers pressure was halted when as Anson McMaster took an interference call with just over four minutes to go in the period. On the ensuing powerplay, it was Nathan Mackie (4) registering another powerplay marker to restore the ‘Backs two goal lead. Mackie wasn’t done there as he added an empty netter along the way to boost the Silverbacks to a three goal win.
Next up for the Silverbacks will be game three as the series switches over to Kal Tire Place in Vernon. Puck drops at 7:00PM on Tuesday night and you can catch all of the action on Hockey TV.
Photo by CHRIS FOWLER – Recap Courtesy of TONY TROZZO