The Silverbacks (24-10-2-2) put together back-to-back victories this weekend, while becoming the first and only team thus far this season to beat the Penticton Vees (34-5-1-0) in Penticton.
The ‘Backs doubled the Vees 4-2 last night (Saturday) in the South Okanagan, a night after the Silverbacks shutout the Wenatchee Wild (23-11-3-2) 4-0 in Washington state.
The Vees outshot the Silverbacks 9-4 in a scoreless first period. Angus Redmond started in goal for the visitors, and 17-year-old AP Nic Tallarico of the BCMML’s Valley West Hawks backed up Redmond for the third straight game. Brandon Kegler is still recovering from an injury suffered last Friday at home to the Surrey Eagles (5-31-2-0). And Zach Driscoll got the call for the Vees, one week after Anthony Brodeur back stopped the home team to a 6-2 win over the Silverbacks.
Chase Zieky opened the scoring in the second period with his 17th of the season at 3:50, Zieky picked up his own rebound and slid the puck past a sprawled out Driscoll. The ‘Backs lead 1-0 before Ross Heidt was penalized for hooking at 3:56 and Kodi Schwarz received four minutes for cross-checking at 5:00. The Vees tied the game 1-1 with a 5-on-3 power-play goal, Scott Conway’s 38th at 5:26. Penticton then capitalized with Schwarz still in the box, as Nick Jones potted his 11th at 7:49 and the Vees lead 2-1.
The Silverbacks responded and with a power-player of their own, Easton Brodzinski was off for boarding and the visitors went to work on the power-play passing the puck around the Vees zone before Carson Bolduc scored snapped a shot glove side for his third goal in two games and 17th of the season tying the score 2-2 at 11:18.
The Silverbacks scored late in the second period but the goal was waived off after one of the Vees crashed into his goaltender. Silverbacks assistant coach Misko Antisin was ejected from the game and the ‘Backs killed of a two minute bench minor.
The Vees outshot the Silverbacks 19-15 in the middle frame.
The Silverbacks took the lead back at 13:21 of the final frame, Ross Heidt skated into the Vees slot and fired a wrist shot glove side for his 22nd to put the ‘Backs ahead 3-2.
Colton Thibault was sent off for boarding with 3:52 remaining in regulation, which gave the Vees their eighth power-play. The ‘Backs killed off the man-advantage that included 6-on-4 action as Penticton pulled Driscoll in the final minutes. But Taro Hirose found the empty net from long range, 4-2 Silverbacks with Hirose’s 9th at 18:47.
The Vees lead 13-10 on the shot clock in the third and Penticton outshot the ‘Backs 41-29 total.
The Silverbacks finished 1-for-3 with the man-advantage and 6-for-8 on the penalty-kill.
Silverbacks assistant coach Brooks Christensen worked the bench with Brandon West in the third, for Christensen’s first win behind a BCHL bench.
The ‘Backs have now won three of the five regular season meetings with the Vees, earning seven of 10 points. Two regular season meetings remain and both at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm as the Silverbacks will host Penticton on Friday, February 19th and on Saturday, February 27th, both 7p.m. starts.
The Silverbacks have improved to 14-4-0-2 versus the Interior Division as they get set for back-to-back home games and a three game home stand with Division opponents. The ‘Backs will host the Vipers on Friday, January 15th and at home to the Warriors on Saturday, January 16th. The Silverbacks will also host the Centennials on Tuesday, January 19th. All 7p.m. starts at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm.
The Vees remain atop the Interior Division and BCHL with 69 points. The ‘Backs sit second with 52 points, now four ahead of the West Kelowna Warriors (23-15-0-2). The Silverbacks have two games in hand on the Warriors. The Vernon Vipers (17-22-0-3) and Trail Smoke Eaters (18-21-0-1) are each tied with 37 points but the Smoke Eaters have two games in hand on the Vipers.
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(Ian Douglas- Reporting)