Salmon Arm, B.C. – The Salmon Arm Silverbacks hit the road for the final preseason game in a rematch against the Merritt Centennials.
The hometown Centennials came out of the gates hot applying some offensive pressure but Silverbacks goalie Ryan Grout was up for the task, making a couple of huge sliding saves going post-to-post. Sending out the shorthanded unit was the Silverbacks halfway through the opening frame when Lian Gayfer was called for hooking. It was a successful kill of the penalty. The ice tilted and the pressure came from the Silverbacks, getting a powerplay when Easton Ryan tripped Cole Cooksey with a minute and a half left in the period. Shots came in bunches from both teams in the first as the period ended with ten apiece.
For the second period in a row, the Centennials came out with the pressure. 45 seconds in, Zach Losier takes the puck and riffles the puck in the top corner to break the scoreless game. Riley Ashe heads towards the box three minutes later which the Silverbacks were able to kill off. Ten minutes went by of back-and-forth action before the Centennials were able to find the scoresheet again. Kiernan Poulin takes a drop pass and snipes the top corner to extend the lead to 2-0. With less than two minutes to go in the period, Ryan Gillaspie takes his man with a trip and has to go sit for two where the Centennials do not let another powerplay go to waste. Michael Felsing collects the rebound perched right in front of the net and throws it over the shoulder of Grout to make it a 3-0 game.
Down three heading into the final period, the intensity of the Silverbacks was ramped up and the physicality began. Luke Melnik gave the Silverbacks a powerplay when he was sent off for a slashing penalty but once again the Silverbacks were not able to capitalize. Three minutes later, for the second game in a row, a fight broke out, this time between Sammy May and Luke Drury which saw both of them get game misconducts. Coming out of the BCHL media timeout, the Centennials were able to pad their lead with Michael Stenberg finding the back of the net. With less than two minutes left in the game, Damon Jugnauth receives a two minute slashing penalty, sending the Silverbacks to the powerplay for the fourth time in the game and they were finally able to take advantage. Zach Nicolas bats the puck out of the air off a Christian Kim shot and beats Ballantyne clean to break the shutout.
The Silverbacks fall in their final preseason game to the Centennials 4-1. The regular season begins September 22nd when the Silverbacks host the Vernon Vipers.