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Silverbacks Edged by Vipers in Shootout

Salmon Arm, B.C. — The Salmon Arm Silverbacks came up just short on Friday night, falling 2-1 in a shootout to the Vernon Vipers.

It was the first meeting of the season between the bitter rivals and turned out to be a goaltending duel between Ethan Langenegger and Riley Herbst, with a combined 69 shots on goal and just two goals, not including shootout markers.


Fans were treated to some A+ entertainment despite the low score, with plenty of opportunities for both sides.

The Backs opened the scoring 12:08 into the opening period on a highlight reel goal from Drew Bennett, who dangled defenceman Trey Taylor and snuck a puck through the five hole of Herbst.

Salmon Arm had the better opening period overall, but couldn’t add to their lead, going into the first intermission up 1-0. The shots after the first were 10 apiece.

Just 1:02 into the second period, a bad change from the Silverbacks defence led to a breakaway for Vipers leading goal scorer Matt Kowalski, who beat Langenegger through the five hole to tie the game 1-1.

The Backs would then take consecutive penalties but came away unscathed thanks to some key shots blocks and saves from Langenegger. No one would score for the rest of the period, despite Vernon firing 17 shots on Langenegger.

Chances continued to flow for both sides in the final period, but Langenegger and Herbst continued to match one another save for save, meaning the game would go to overtime.

In the extra frame, the goalies still wouldn’t budge, making countless stops, many with the glove.

To the shootout things went, where Nick Unruh went first for the Backs and converted on the backhand to give the Backs a 1-0 lead.

Cameron McDonald went first for the Vipers and missed. Second for the Backs was William Poirier, who was stopped by Herbst. Next up for Vernon was captain Connor Marritt, who beat Langenegger over the blocker to tie the game 1-1.

Silverbacks captain Akito Hirose went third and tried to go high glove, but was stopped by Herbst. With the game on the line, Logan Cash cashed in for the Vipers, beating Langenegger over the blocker as well, this time from the short side, to give the home side the 2-1 victory.


Ethan Langenegger, Salmon Arm Silverbacks: Not only did Langenegger face 17 shots in the second period, but he saved his best for when it mattered most, making a crucial glove save with under five minutes to go in regulation and then making several more point-blank saves in the 3-on-3 overtime. Despite the loss, Langenegger has a .928 SV% on the season, the highest for goaltenders that have played 1,200 or more minutes this season.

Riley Herbst, Vernon Vipers: Herbst stopped two of three Backs in the shootout to pick up his 10th win of the season. Just like Langenegger, he too made a few key saves in the overtime — one with the glove on Akito Hirose, one in tight on Noah Wakeford and another with his mask on Daniel Rybarik. He also kept the game at 1-0 in the first period by coming up big on some Silverbacks chances. If he hadn’t the game may have gone in a different direction.

Drew Bennett, Salmon Arm Silverbacks: Bennett’s goal was simply outstanding, but he continued to generate other chances with Noah Wakeford and Dom Garozzo throughout the game. Bennett now has seven points in his last nine games. All six of his goals have come at even strength.

For the full boxscore, click here.


Langenegger 37/38: The Silverbacks gave up a rather high number of odd-man rushes in this one and if not for Langenegger, the game wouldn’t have gone to overtime.


The Silverbacks head to West Kelowna for a game against the Warriors on Saturday at 6 p.m. to finish off their 3-in-3.

The game can be heard on 91.5 EZ Rock with the pre-game show starting at 5:30 p.m. Fans can also stream the game on HockeyTV.