Last season in two games between the Silverbacks and Clippers there were a combined 26 power plays. With just one penalty called in the first period Sunday afternoon, it looked like the tides may have turned.
They did not.
With six special teams goals scored in total, four belonged to the Salmon Arm who had three power plays enroute to a 6-3 win over Nanaimo.
Identical to the night before, Salmon Arm closed out the first period leading 2-0. For the third straight game, Matthew Verboon found the back of the net as him and Justin Wilson drove the goal on an offensive faceoff. Verboon was able to outwait Landon Pavlisin, and slide the puck in for the opening goal with 13 minutes on the clock.
Former Silverback Marcus Mitchell led a pair of two-on-ones after the goal, but his shot was denied on the first try, and the second time he passed but his teammate was stopped by Matthew Armitage. Salmon Arm would make them pay on a late goal to extend the lead to 2-0. Sam MacBean kept the puck in at the far blueline, sending a shot wide left of the goal. The rebound dropped behind the net, and Justin Wilson was able to sneak the puck out front and squeeze the puck inside the right post. It was nearly 3-0 with under 20 seconds to go in the first, but Hudson Schandor setup in the left circle was robbed by the right arm of Pavlisin.
It took a while to find a goal in the second, but it was the first of a slew of special teams goals. John Little continued his point streak, scoring on a feed from Trevor Adams. The point made it five straight for Little.
A late scrum in the period led to a seven minute power play for Salmon Arm already leading 3-0.
Nanaimo was able to kill off the majority of the penalty kill, but eventually the Silverbacks broke through. A shot from Darren Rizzolo at the top of the right circle was deflected in front from Noah Wakeford to put the home side ahead by four. The Clippers were quick to reply, with Tyler Williams drawing a power play as he drove to the front of the goal and got hauled out. While diving out though, he was able to sweep the puck past Armitage to break the shutout bid.
Things got tense with 12:29 left as the red light came on and it looked like Zack Dallazanna had his first in the BCHL to get Nanaimo within two. The refs consulted at centre ice though, and waved the goal off to the delight of the Silverbacks fans.
The night before, there were three goals in the final 2:30 with Salmon Arm and Powell River. The Clippers would one up that, as the two teams combined to score four goals in the last 2:10. A late power play looked to seal the game for Salmon Arm, but road squad had a different idea springing Sammy Steele for a shorthanded breakaway. Deking to the right, he slid the puck in to make it a 4-2 game. Salmon Arm replied on that very power play with Matthew Verboon scoring his second of the game. Nanaimo drew a late power play, but this time it was Salmon Arm striking shorthanded. Pulling the goalie with 50 seconds left and down 5-2, Nanaimo turned the puck over to Hudson Schandor and the Silverbacks forward was able to go down and snap the puck into the empty net. A power play goal with 19 seconds left from Ethan Scardina gave Nanaimo their first on the man advantage in seven opportunities.
Heading into Saturday night, the Clippers had won 10 straight games. Losing to Penticton Saturday night and Salmon Arm Sunday afternoon, Nanaimo has now lost two straight.
Salmon Arm will had out for an Island trip this weekend taking on the bottom three teams in the division. Friday is in Alberni Valley, Saturday night the Silverbacks have a rematch with Nanaimo, and they close things out Sunday afternoon against the Cowichan Valley Capitals.
He didn’t show up on the scoresheet, but Wyatt Marlow had a very strong weekend. He hit the post on Friday night in Vernon, and Saturday against Powell River. Sunday afternoon he made a few good drives toward goal looking to improve on the first BCHL goal he scored last week in Penticton.