Salmon Arm, B.C. – The Salmon Arm Silverbacks faced off against the Merritt Centennials in their third preseason game, still searching for their first win and goal.
The first period got started with a flash for the Silverbacks grabbing a couple of shots and offensive zone faceoffs within the first minute. Back-and-forth play dominated the first half of the opening frame before the Silverbacks finally found the twine. Tristan Allen takes the puck at the point and fires a shot toward the net with Lorin Froidevaux cutting across the crease and deflecting it in for the Silverbacks first goal of the preseason. The rest of the period saw more chances from both teams, with Jacob Bonkowski and Reid Varkonyi having opportunities on breakaways. Nathaniel Davis took a tripping call with five minutes left that the Silverbacks were able to kill off. With the time ticking down and a minute left, Zach Losier of the Centennials was sent to the box for interference. The shots after the first finished 9-8 in favour of the Silverbacks with the Silverbacks on the powerplay.
Coming into the middle frame, the Centennials were hungry to tie up the game. Just over four minutes in, Damon Jugnauth grabs the puck and gets a step onto the breakaway where he beat Ryan Grout under the arm to tie up the game at one. Both teams couldn’t stay out of the box for the rest of the period as Nathan Taylor heads off for a cross-check but the Silverbacks were only able to use half of the man advantage before having too many men, making it a four-on-four. Four minutes after coming out of the sin bin, Taylor gets called for an illegal check to the head. Matthew Gillard then unleashes his own big hit for the Silverbacks but is handed a checking from behind misconduct in the meantime, with Christian Kim serving the minor penalty on the play. The floodgate then opened for the Silverbacks offense. A shot from distance from Luke Drury hit off the backboards and snuck behind Stefan Carney, where Cole Cooksey was able to tap it in from the crease, increasing the lead to 2-1. When it rains it pours as less than a minute later, Riley Ashe unleashes a rocket from a sharp angle, beating Carney over the glove to extend the leave to 3-1. For the second period in a row, the Silverbacks end it off with a powerplay as Kiernan Poulin gets called for hooking.
The physicality came out in the final frame from both teams as the intensity ramped up. Within the first 45 seconds of the third period, Jacob Smith and Marcus Broberg got into a pushing match that got them a trip to the penalty box for roughing. Punches were thrown half way through the period as the Silverbacks fans were treated to a rare fight. Matthew Gillard and Michael Stenberg dropped the gloves and started throwing rights which resulted in game misconducts. During the same play, Chris Kobelka and Sammy May were pushing and shoving which got them sent to the box, two minutes off-setting roughing calls.
The game ended 3-1 in favour of the Silverbacks who secured their first win of the season. Ryan Grout made 30/31 saves, getting his first BCHL preseason win.
Next game is Saturday night (September 16) as the Silverbacks travel to Merritt for a rematch against the Centennials in the final game of the preseason. Puck-drop is at 7:00 p.m..