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Silverbacks’ Valiant Comeback Falls Just Short

Jayden Price gets fired up after scoring to cut the West Kelowna Warriors lead to just two in the second period of Saturday's overtime loss (Chris Fowler, Pure Life Photography).

Salmon Arm, B.C. — The Silverbacks fell 6-5 in overtime to the West Kelowna Warriors on Saturday night in their second preseason game. Despite the loss, the Backs’ stormed back from a 5-1 deficit to tie the game early in the third period and force overtime.

GAME SUMMARY

The Backs’ were on on their heels right from the get-go in this one, surrendering a goal on a 2-on-1 rush just 33 seconds in. The Warriors would then score three more goals in the next 12 minutes to extend their lead to 4-0. With just under five minutes remaining in the opening frame, Backs’ new signee Daniel Rybarik potted the team’s first goal following a give-and-go on an odd-man rush with winger Noah Wakeford.

In the second period, the Silverbacks came out guns a’ blazing, firing 11 straight shots on veteran goaltender Brock Baier. Unfortunately, he stood tall, but it set the tone for the rest of the period — a period in which the Backs’ outshot the Warriors 24-15.

The comeback began late in the period when Hunter Sansbury scored a highlight reel goal, entering the zone with speed before stopping up and sliding the puck through defender Declan Douthart’s legs right before snapping a shot blocker side past Evan Fradette. Two minutes later, Jayden Price picked up his first goal, sneaking a wrist shot past Fradette short side after some good work down low from Nick Unruh and a good pinch from Zach Gabruch. With under a minute left in the period, Rybarik tallied his second goal of the game on a shorthanded breakaway, pulling off the patented forward-backhand-forehand move to a tee.

The Silverbacks kept their strong play going to start the third period, completing another pretty passing play between Unruh, Simon Tassy and Price, the latter of whom finished it off for his second goal of the game. Neither team would find the back of the net for the remainder of the period, which meant one thing: overtime.

In the extra frame, Sansbury was sent to the penalty box for slashing, resulting in a 4-on-3 Warriors power play. Under a minute into the penalty kill, Lucas Cullen fed a pass to Mason Richey out front, who beat Ethan Langenegger over his glove, giving the Warriors the two points.

STANDOUT PERFORMANCES

Daniel Rybarik, SA Silverbacks: Perhaps the best Silverbacks player on this night, both of Rybarik’s goals started in the defensive zone. On his first goal, he blocked a shot before turning on the jets to create a 2-on-1 with Wakeford, and on his second goal, he intercepted a pass from Nick Ardanaz at his own blue line before blasting the length of the ice and deking out Fradette to make it 5-4.

Jayden Price, SA Silverbacks: Price’s finish was on display in this one thanks to his two goals, but he also got the primary assist on the Sansbury goal, connecting with him through the neutral zone with speed.

Nick Unruh, SA Silverbacks: Unruh also had three points on the night — all assists. He recorded a primary assist on Price’s first goal and had two secondary assists, one on Sansbury’s goal and one on Price’s second goal.

Mason Richey, West Kelowna Warriors: Richey netted the game-winning power play goal, but also had a first period goal that made it 3-0.

STAT OF THE GAME

Silverbacks overcome 5-1 deficit  This one is obvious. There was little life in the building in the first period and things were especially dreary for the first 10 minutes. But the excellent start to the second period got the ball rolling momentum wise, and Sansbury’s goal really gave the team life. After Rybarik made it 5-4 with under a minute left in the second period, you almost knew the Backs’ would tie the game at some point in the third period. Even though they didn’t pick up the two points in the end, the valiant comeback is to be applauded.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Silverbacks welcome the Vernon Vipers to town on Wednesday, August 28 for their third preseason tilt . Vernon dropped its lone exhibition game on Friday night 3-2 to the AJHL’s Grand Prairie Storm. Fans can stream the game on HockeyTV.