Salmon Arm, B.C. — Three first periods goals were all the Salmon Arm Silverbacks needed to hold on for a tight 3-2 win over the Victoria Grizzlies in game three of their opening round playoff series on Monday night.
A 28-save performance from goaltender Ethan Langenegger played a big role in the victory, which now gives Salmon Arm a commanding 3-0 series lead.
The Silverbacks came out flying in this one, scoring twice in the first five minutes.
At the 3:48 mark, Luke Mylymok took a pass from Jeremy Gervais halfway down the wall and got free from Reid Lindsay by cutting towards the middle and finishing over the blocker of Liam Souliere.
Just 59 seconds later, Logan Shaw buried his first of the playoff right off a face-off, beating Souliere under the arm to the short side.
Shortly after, the Grizzlies started to pick things up and got on the board at the 8:45 mark of the first period, courtesy of defenceman Reid Lindsay.
But before the period was done, the Silverbacks used a quick transition to re-gain their two-goal lead off a 4-on-1 rush, where Nick Unruh fed a cross-ice pass to Simon Tassy for his first career BCHL playoff goal and 3-1 Silverback lead.
After one period of play, the Silverbacks were up by a pair but trailed 14-9 in shots on goal.
In the second, Victoria got back to within one just before the halfway mark after Grizzlies captain Marty Westhaver hopped on a turnover in the slot and finished to the blocker side.
Towards the end of the period, things got tense for the Backs, but Langenegger stepped up in a big way on more than one occasion to keep the score at 3-2.
After keeping Salmon Arm out in front with just over five minutes to go, Langenegger got some help from defenceman Akito Hirose in the final minute of play during a crease scramble to keep the score at 3-2 after 40 minutes.
In the third, the Grizzlies continued to push. Just under five minutes in, Langenegger came up big by stopping Andrew Amousse with the shoulder on a deflection in front.
Victoria got a power play with just under four minutes remaining but didn’t pull the goalie and couldn’t find the equalizer. When they finally did pull Souliere for the extra attacker, the Silverbacks did a good job of getting in the shooting lanes and were able to eventually hold on for the 3-2 win.
For the full boxscore, click here.
THEY SAID IT
“We didn’t execute the game plan nearly as well as we wanted to and a lot of that has to do with them kind of breaking through and generating momentum on home ice. At the end of the day, you just kind of felt it in that second period in particular. It just really felt like we were really struggling to get things going. When you have games like that, it’s just about getting simple. We made some adjustments heading into the third and the players did the work today. We spent the entire third period chipping pucks, getting pucks in deep, taking short shifts and when you start to do the little things like that, it might not be pretty, but the end result is still the same and that’s all that matters at this point.” — Silverbacks assistant coach Carter Cochrane
STAT OF THE GAME
28 saves for Langenegger: Langenegger continued his strong play in these playoffs, coming up huge in the second and third periods and particular. He is now 3-0 with a .965 save percentage in the 2020 playoffs.
Game four of the best-of-7 series goes Tuesday at the Q Centre at 7 p.m.. All games in the series have 7 p.m. puck drops. For the full first round playoff schedule, click here.
All playoff games of course can be heard on 91.5 EZ Rock with the pre-game shows starting half an hour before puck drop. Fans can also stream games on HockeyTV.