Langley, B.C. — While the offence wasn’t as lethal as it was in back-to-back wins over the weekend, the Salmon Arm Silverbacks’ defence stepped up in a big way on Wednesday night in a 3-0 shutout victory over the Langley Rivermen.
The fourth straight win means the Silverbacks remain in third place in the Interior Division, still one point up on Vernon with a 27-20-4 record. The Wenatchee Wild are in fifth place, six points behind Salmon Arm because they had the night off.
The Backs controlled this game right from the start, out-shooting the Rivermen 10-1 in the opening several minutes.
On their very first power play of the game, Salmon Arm opened the scoring, after Jeremy Gervais fed a perfect cross-ice pass to William Poirier from the right side boards to the crease for a tap-in.
It was Poirier’s 18th tally of the year and the team’s eighth power play marker in the last six.
The Silverback took the 1-0 lead into the break, along with a 12-5 lead in shots on goal.
There was more of the same in the second period, as the Backs converted on another power play, on yet another high-skill play from Gervais. This time, the veteran d-man faked a shot from the slot, before going back door to Daniel Rybarik, who potted his 28th goal of the season to make it a 2-0 game.
The score remained 2-0 after 40 minutes of play.
Langley had possession for a good chunk of the third period, but wasn’t able to generate many high quality scoring chances. When they did, Ethan Langenegger was there to shut the door on all eight of the the third period shots he faced.
With 5:55 remaining, Poirier put the icing on the cake with his 19th of the year off a pass from Nick Unrih on an odd-man rush.
Poirier now has goals in three straight and eight goals in his last nine outings, while Unruh extended his point streak to four games and has 13 points in his last nine contests.
Langenegger finished the night with 24 saves for his third shutout of the season, as the Backs won their fourth straight game to remain in third in the Interior Division.
For the full boxscore, click here.
Will Poirier— Salmon Arm Silverbacks: Poirier was an offensive catalyst yet again, scoring the first and last goals of the game. He’s now got 19 goals and 17 assists on the season in 44 games.
Nick Unruh— Salmon Arm Silverbacks: Unruh had a primary assist on Poirier’s insurance marker in the third, executing the 3-on-3 to perfection. He now has four points during a four-game point streak, to go along with three goals and 10 assists over his last nine games. He sits at 36 points on the season (11G, 25A)
Ethan Langenegger— Salmon Arm Silverbacks: Langenegger picked up his third shutout of the season and 21st win of the year, which ranks sixth in the league. He now has 40 career victories as well.
STAT OF THE GAME
Power play 2-for-8: The eight opportunities doesn’t look as good, but it doesn’t tell the whole story because the Silverbacks had a late 5-on-3 with only a minute to go that ended up hurting their percentage. It’s the third straight game they’ve scored two power play goals in a single game.
Salmon Arm plays only one game this weekend: in Penticton on Friday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. Their next game after that is on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at home against the West Kelowna Warriors.
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.