Salmon Arm, B.C. — The offence kept on rolling for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday night, as they won their third straight game, this time by a 5-3 score over the Merritt Centennials.
The win hops the Backs into third place in the Interior Division, now one point up on Vernon with a 26-20-4 record. The Wenatchee Wild are in fifth place, four points behind Salmon Arm.
The first period was the least eventful of the contest, with just one goal, courtesy of Luke Mylymok. After drawing a penalty, the 18-year-old Backs forward backhanded home his ninth of the season at the 15:41 mark of the first after Jeremy Gervais’ point shot hit a skate and ricocheted in front.
Salmon Arm’s power play went 0-for-2 in the first while their kill went 1-for-1. They out-shot Merrit 12-7 in the opening frame.
Just like on Friday, the Silverbacks came out flying to start the second period, getting a goal from Logan Shaw just 2:41 in after he picked the pocket of Brody Johnston in his own zone and beat goaltender Tanner Marshall five hole for his eighth of the year.
Under a minute later, Mylymok chipped home his second of the night after Simon Tassy threw a puck on goal.
With the Silverbacks up 3-0, they took their foot off the gas pedal a little bit, and the Cents took advantage, getting back into the game at 3-1 after Evan Benwell deflected a shot past Ethan Langenegger at the 11:50 mark of the middle frame.
Just over two minutes later, the Cents notched another goal, this time on a power play after Hunor Torzsok redirected a puck in to make it 3-2.
After Hunter Sansbury was high sticked, Backs veteran Will Poirier scored his 17th of the season on the ensuing power play to restore the Backs’ two-goal lead.
At the end of the second period, Salmon Arm led 4-2 on the scoreboard and 36-26 in shots on goal.
The Cents got back to within a goal just 2:43 into the third thanks to defenceman Talon Zakell snuck a point shot through some traffic and into the back of the net.
After Chase Nameth of Merritt was called for hooking at the 5:10 mark of the third, Salmon Arm once again responded on the power play, this time on Lucas Breault’s eighth of the season. Breault flew through centre and went wide down the right side before taking it behind the net and finishing himself on the wrap around.
Breault’s goal was all the Backs needed, as they rolled to the 5-3 win, much in part thanks to 34 saves from Ethan Langenegger.
For the full boxscore, click here.
THEY SAID IT
Assistant coach Carter Cochrane:
“It’s obviously a tough rink to play in and they’re a team that plays very well within their rink — they understand all the bounces they can get and the way to play. They transition extremely quickly and try to just fire pucks off the far end wall. I thought we did a good job of managing that through the first half of the game, but felt like our defensive play really broke down the second half of the second period and we just never really regained it. Credit to them for pushing hard and not giving up throughout the entire game, but for us, we just would have liked to have been a bit more solid defensively. I think we only gave up one chance in the first 31 minutes and then gave up six in a span of three minutes in the second period. Definitely not happy about that and definitely have a lot of work to do in that area.”
Schofield, Shaw, Tassy Line — Salmon Arm Silverbacks: Shaw scored his fourth goal in his last seven games, while Tassy and Schofield each assisted on Mylymok’s second of the game.
Cochrane on Shaw: “He’s the epitome of getting rewarded for doing things the right way. He’s a guy whose never shy to ask questions. He’s always coming in between periods, or after games looking for, “What can I do differently here? What do you think about this?’…He doesn’t expect to produce offensively, he just expects to go out there, do his job and get rewarded for it. Tonight was a great example of that — he’s above the puck, does a great job steering, turns the puck over and is able to capitalize on a breakaway.”
Cochrane on Tassy: “Sometimes it’s downright laughable the amount of chances he gets without the production to go with it and he’s still able to maintain that positive spirit and energy. When he’s like that, you just know, ‘Okay, this kid is going to be special.’ It’s all there.”
Cochrane: “Luke Mylymok and Lucas Breault both really stepped up for us big time tonight. All weekend they really carried the play. They’re two top-end guys that we lean on offensively. Mylymok keeps proving me right — every time I say this production is going to continue, he just keeps doing it. He worked hard all week both on and off the ice and it’s good to see him get rewarded for it.”
Ethan Langenegger— Salmon Arm Silverbacks: Langenegger picked up his 20th win of the season thanks to 34 saves and now leads the league in minutes played with 2,212.
“He’s poised back there. He never seems like he’s out of position…when Langer is at his best, he’s extremely tough to beat. Merritt was getting kind of lucky breaks — the point shots through traffic, whatever it is, so it shows how hard he is to beat.”
STAT OF THE GAME
Power play 2-for-5: Not only did the Silverbacks strike twice on the power play, but they did so when they needed to, responding not long after a Merritt goal two consecutive times.
Salmon Arm plays two road games next week: in Langley on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 7:15 p.m. and in Penticton on Friday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.
All games can be heard on 91.5 EZ Rock with the pre-game shows starting half an hour before puck drop. Fans can also stream the game on HockeyTV.