MERRITT, BC- Aidan Lindblad scored late in the third period to help lift the Silverbacks over the Centennials 3-1 on the road Saturday night.
The Silverbacks almost got off to a flying start when Simon Tassy spun and fired a shot on goal, but unfortunately, he hit the crossbar. Moments later, Centennials goaltender Braden Melnyk couldn’t control a bouncing puck from center ice, and the Backs jammed it into the net, but the goal was waived off, and Danny Ciccarello was assessed a two-minute slashing penalty. The Backs were able to kill it off. Then, on a powerplay of their own, the newcomer on the backend made an immediate impact. Mike Ladyman ran a nifty give and go with Noah Serdachny, and Serdachny ripped a shot under the glove of Melnyk to give the Silverbacks the lead 1-0. Moments later, Kieran Ruschieninski was given an unsportsmanlike penalty, and the Centennials had a chance to tie it up, but the Silverbacks penalty killers were up to the challenge and killed it off. Towards the end of the period, Ben Ward was given a four-minute kneeing penalty, putting the Silverbacks back on the powerplay. Brandon Santa Juana had the best chance in the dying seconds of the period, but he rang it off the left post. The Backs outshot the Centennials 12-4 in the opening frame and had 3:04 minutes of carry-over powerplay time for the second period.
The Silverbacks had some good chances early in the middle frame to double their lead, the best coming off the stick of Nathan Morin, but Melnyk robbed him with the glove to keep it 1-0. Shortly after, Tassy picked the puck up in the neutral zone, cut into the slot, and caught Melnyk by surprise, beating him five-hole, making it 2-0 Backs. The Cents would get one back on a goal from Jerzy Orchard, and he also snapped one five-hole to cut the Backs lead in half. The Silverbacks almost took that two-goal lead right back when Tassy possessed the puck below the goal line and fed a streaking Rushcheinski, but he was robbed by the left pad of Melnyk. The Silverbacks controlled most of the middle frame, outshooting the Centennials 19-10 for a two-period total of 32-16.
Early in the third period, the Centennials got a four-minute powerplay when Captain Daniel Panetta was called for slew footing. Fortunately for the Backs, again, they were able to kill it off. There was no scoring in the final frame until late in the third when Aidan Lindblad came off the bench and received a pass from defenceman Owen Desilets, and he ripped it under the glove of Melnyk to double the Silverbacks lead. The goal was Lindblad’s first BCHL goal. Owen Say went on to turn aside 22 of 23 to improve to 1-0 on the campaign.
The Silverbacks will be back in action next Friday night for the Home Opener against the Vernon Vipers!