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Special Teams Win Home Opener

Things looked worrisome after 20 minutes, but the Salmon Arm Silverbacks would come back to win 4-2 in their home opener against the Merritt Centennials.

It was a model night for special teams as the Silverbacks killed all seven penalties they took, and scored on three of six power plays.

Merritt would tally the first marker of the game over three minutes into the game on a quick shot off a faceoff. Rylan Van Unen got the puck at the top of the right circle, and would rip a shot that went post and in. The Cents made it 2-0 eight minutes later on a Silverbacks turnover in their own zone. A breakout feed went off a teammates foot, and wound up right on the stick of Mathieu Gosselin. He would move in on a two on one, and fed the puck over to Frazer Dodd for his first BCHL goal.

Shots after the first were 13-11 for Merritt, but whatever was said in the intermission worked for Salmon Arm. They would come out roaring in the second outshooting the Visitors 12-1 at one point, scoring on three of those.

Akito Hirose scored the first goal of the 2018-19 season for Salmon Arm on the power play receiving the puck to the left of the net on a pass from Noah Wakeford. Hirose would make no mistake beating Vincent Duplessis to make it 2-1. Three minutes later on another man advantage it was the Swiss boy scoring for the Backs. Hirose would play setup man this time around sending a pass from the top of the left circle to the opposite side of the ice. Positioned in the right faceoff circle, Matthew Verboon one timed the puck in for his first BCHL tally. Justin Wilson would put the home side ahead 3-2 a minute later which sparked a goaltending change for Merritt with Austin Roden coming in. Wilson was able to squeak in a shot from the right goal line to give Salmon Arm the first lead of the game.

The change in goalies would spark the Centennials as they drew three penalties to conclude the second period, but were unable to score on any, including 1:40 of five on three play. Ethan Langenegger came up with a number of huge saves while his team was down a man, and the penalty killers did a great job of blocking shots.

Another power play goal in the third would seal the game for Salmon Arm. Justin Wilson took the original  shot from the top of the left circle which was stopped by Roden. Schandor’s first attempt on the rebound was denied, but on a second effort he was able to lift the puck into the net making it a 4-2 game. Merritt would push late in the game, but were unable to find an equalizer.

Salmon Arm outshot Merritt 31-29 in the game. The Silverbacks get the rest of the weekend to rest, before heading to Trail next Friday for a meeting with the Smoke Eaters. They will return to the Shaw Centre Saturday night to take on Merritt once again.


3:15 MER Rylan Van Unen (1) ASST: Nicholas Wicks (1)
11:19 MER Frazer Dodd (1) ASST: Mathieu Gosselin (1)
5:40 SA Akito Hirose (1) ASST: Noah Wakeford (1), Nick Unruh (1) (PP)
9:05 SA Matthew Verboon (1) ASST: Andy Stevens (1), Akito Hirose (1) (PP)
10:05 SA Justin Wilson (1) ASST: Trevor Adams (1), Hudson Schandor (1)
12:42 SA Hudson Schandor (1) ASST: Sol Seibel (1), Trevor Adams (2) (PP)