Salmon Arm, B.C. — The Salmon Arm Silverbacks’ power play was the star of the show on Wednesday night, as it struck a season high five times in a 6-2 win over the Prince George Spruce Kings.
Salmon Arm’s record now stands at 23-18-2, one point back of the Vernon Vipers for third place in the Interior Division.
The first period was pretty much non-stop action, as the Silverbacks came out flying, leading to an 11-2 lead early in shots on goal.
Just under six minutes into the opening frame, they struck thanks to Luke Mylymok, whose shot from just inside the right face-off dot was partially stopped by Jett Alexander, but eventually dribbled just past him and into the net.
The Spruce Kings pushed back soon after surrendering that goal, but Grant Adams made some key stops for the Backs to keep them out in front 1-0.
With just 3:21 to go in the first period, the Silverbacks converted on their first power play opportunity, as Coalson Wolford took a pass from Nick Unruh just to the right of the crease area and roofed it over the shoulder of Alexander to the far side post.
After one period of play, the Backs had a 2-0 lead on the scoreboard and a 19-11 lead in shots on goal.
The Spruce Kings got a power play marker of their own just 1:36 into the second period courtesy of Will Kushniryk, who potted one top corner to cut the lead in half. Shortly after, Prince George was called for boarding and the Silverbacks power play converted once more, this time after Will Poirier knocked home a rebound.
Prince George once again cut into the Silverbacks lead just 1:15 later, when 16-year-old Finn Williams converted on a rebound for his eighth of the season to make it a 3-2 game.
But at the 9:09 mark of the second, the Silverbacks power play restored their two-goal lead on Mylymok’s second of the game.
The Silverbacks carried their 4-2 lead into the third period, which they started out by killing off two consecutive penalties.
At the 6:31 mark of the final period, Kushniryk finished a check right into the numbers of Silverback defenceman Zach Gabruch, resulting in a five-minute major for checking from behind.
Salmon Arm scored twice on the ensuing five minute power play. First, Rybarik buried the biscuit at the side of the goal after some pristine puck movement that saw Akito Hirose work it down low to Noah Wakeford, who found Breault, who then fed it across to Rybarik for his 24th goal of the season.
Thirty-one seconds later, Nick Unruh got the monkey off the back with his ninth goal of the season and first since Nov. 17. The goal also gave him a four-point night.
Mylymok, Poirier, Unruh Line— Salmon Arm Silverbacks: The trio combined for nine points in this one. Even though most of them came on the power play, they all play on the same unit, so it was clear the chemistry hit another level.
Asst. coach Carter Cochrane on the trio: “There’s due and then there’s overdue and that’s what Unruh was…That line has been playing really well and they’ve been creating the chances and it just seemed like they were finding ways not to score. Where today, I think finally you saw with the Mylymok goal in the first where it pops up and finds its way in and Unruh’s was anything but pretty, but they don’t ask how. It’s great to see those guys get going. They’re going to be a huge line for us. It’s part of why we’ve been sticking with them — they have been playing well despite the [previous] production. If they can get going and they can continue what we saw today, they’re going to be a force.”
Schofield, Shaw, Tassy Line — Salmon Arm Silverbacks: This line once again provided energy and drew penalties because of it.
Cochrane on the trio: “They drew the first three penalties that led to the three goals. It’s probably something that doesn’t show up on the scoresheet, but it’s absolutely huge. Those guys do the right thing all the time and they’re getting rewarded with more ice every single night.”
Grant Adams — Salmon Arm Silverbacks: Adams recorded his first BCHL win as a Silverback, stopping 28 of 30 in this one, including all 11 shots he saw in the first period.
Cochrane on Adams’ performance: “He was great today. The score wasn’t indicative of his play on Sunday. I thought he played well. There were probably a couple he would like to have back and I don’t think we feel that way as a coaching staff, but that’s just the way Grant is — he’s a competitor. We gave him an opportunity to bounce back today and I thought he was real good. Real solid when he needed to be…We don’t win this game without Grant.”
For the full boxscore, click here.
STAT OF THE GAME
5 PPG: Do we even need to state the obvious here? The Silverbacks scored more than three power play goals for the first time this season. The only other time they have scored even three in a game was Oct. 25 against the Wenatchee Wild.
Cochrane on the PP:
“They just got it rolling early and the guys stuck to the things that were making them successful. Especially with that blue unit — as we call it — that had the majority of the [power play] goals, they were just shooting the puck way more. Mylymok, Unruh and Gervais at the top, they were shooting the puck a ton and we were getting a great net front presence and we were scoring from the dirty areas. That entire unit, we’ve been waiting for them to get going both power play and 5-on-5. They’ve been playing well and haven’t been getting rewarded for it, so it was really great to see them break out.”
The Silverbacks hit the road for two Interior Division matchups this weekend, travelling to Penticton on Saturday for a date with the Vees and then wrapping up the season series with the Vernon Vipers on Sunday afternoon. Both contests have sightly different start times, with Saturday’s game set for 6 p.m. and Sunday’s set for 2 p.m.
The games can be heard on 91.5 EZ Rock with the pre-game show starting half an hour before puck drop. Fans can also stream the game on HockeyTV.