Salmon Arm, B.C. — Despite a valiant effort late in the game, the Salmon Arm Silverbacks fell 4-2 to the Langley Rivermen on Friday night at the Shaw Centre.
Their record now stands at 19-9-2, good for third place at the moment in the Interior Division.
Salmon Arm started well, generating some chances early in the game, but they weren’t able to keep the momentum going very long. Langley pushed back in the second half of the period, and neither team could find the scoresheet through 20 minutes, with the shots on goal favouring the visitors 11-10.
In the second period, the Backs had a couple ineffective power plays drain their momentum. First, Rivermen leading scorer Brendan Budy was sent in all alone shorthanded on Ethan Langenegger 7:15 into the period, but was denied by the Silverbacks netminder. Just 1:27 later— when things were back at 5-on-5 — Langley would score the game’s first goal on a 2-on-1 rush. Tristan Fraser fed a pass to the middle for Matthew Hubbarde, who went to the backhand and finished to the top corner to make it 1-0.
Langenegger would continue to keep the game tight, coming up with more big saves before the period was done. After 40 minutes, the Rivermen led 1-0 and had a 23-17 edge in shots on goal.
The third period wasn’t as wide open as the second, but Langley extended their lead with just 6:08 to go in regulation. A low point shot from defenceman Ryan Helliwell was corralled in front by forward Devin Leduc, who then took it to his backhand to make it a 2-0 game. Just 1:19 after that, the Rivermen converted on the power play to make it 3-0 after Joseph Musa took a puck to the net and stuffed it home.
Despite the uphill battle, the Silverbacks showed great resiliency and were able to score two goals late to make things interesting. First, Luke Mylymok took a drop pass from Nick Unruh just inside the blue line and cut into the middle of the ice, firing a wrist shot that beat goaltender Braedon Fleming to make it 3-1 with 2:39 remaining in the game.
Then, after a timeout was called, the Silverbacks scored off a set play to make it 3-2. Noah Wakeford banged home a rebound created by Unruh’s quick release right off the face-off.
Unfortunately, that was as close as the Backs would come, with Budy scoring an empty-net goal with just 3.5 seconds to go to make it a 4-2 final.
Ethan Langenegger, Salmon Arm Silverbacks: After 40 minutes, this game could have easily been 2-0 or 3-0, but Langenegger kept the Backs within striking distance again and again. His .906 SV% tonight doesn’t do his performance enough justice.
Nick Unruh, Salmon Arm Silverbacks: Unruh had the primary assist on both Backs goals, giving him 22 points on the season and 10 in the month of November alone.
Tristan Fraser, Langley Rivermen: Fraser, who assisted on the game’s first and last goals, was arguably part of the best line on Friday, alongside Matthew Hubbarde and Joseph Musa. He now has 19 points this season in 27 games.
For the full boxscore, click here.
STAT OF THE GAME
Silverbacks PP 0-for-5: When the game was 0-0 in the second, a Silverbacks power play goal could have gone a long way. The Backs are now 5-for-51 on the man advantage in their last 11 games (9.8%).
The Silverbacks host the Vernon Vipers on Saturday for a 6 p.m. puck drop.
The game can be heard on 91.5 EZ Rock with the pre-game show starting 30 minutes before puck drop. Fans can also stream the game on HockeyTV.