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Spruce Kings outlast the ‘Backs, 3-1

Salmon Arm, BC – It was a rare Sunday night clash at the Shaw Centre as the Silverbacks (19-14-4-1) played host to the Prince George Spruce Kings (20-16-2-1). The two teams came into the game tied in points (43) which had them deadlocked for fourth in the interior division. Salmon Arm had their three game win streak come to an end last night following their 5-4 overtime loss to the Wenatchee Wild. While the Spruce Kings came into the game hoping to end their two game slide after falling 6-3 last night in Trail. The Silverbacks had won the two first games of the season series, and the two teams will meet four more times to wrap up the season.

Matthew Tovell (15-12-3-1, 2.69 GAA, .922 S%, 4 SO) got the nod once again for the Silverbacks, while it was fellow All-Star, Jordan Fairlie (17-10-1-0, 2.88 GAA, .896 S% 3 SO) getting the start for the Spruce Kings.

The first period of play was a penalty filled affair as both teams traded penalties throughout the opening frame, and combined for 12 penalty minutes. The opening goal came at even strength midway through the opening frame as Linden Makow (10) was able to steer home the puck towards the empty net as he was the recipient of a slick feed from Scott Cousins. Following the goal, the story of the period was the physicality as both teams seemed poised to make their presence felt in the game. Both teams went scoreless on their powerplay opportunities, and the Spruce Kings outshot the ‘Backs 9-6 in the opening frame,

The middle frame provided a much different style to which we saw in the first period as the Silverbacks were able to turn the tides of the game and apply the pressure towards the net of the Spruce Kings. The penalties continued in the middle period, as the Silverbacks went to the powerplay twice, and Prince George once, but neither team was able to notch a powerplay marker. Spruce Kings netminder, Jordan Fairlie was the story of the period as he was the busier of the two goalies as Salmon Arm looked poised to put the puck towards the net as much as possible. Salmon Arm outshot the Spruce Kings 16-3 in the period, but trailed by one heading into the final frame.

Prince George kicked off the final frame with carry over time on the man advantage as CJ Foley was serving the second half of his boarding call, but was unable to capitalize. They were however able to extend their lead to two goals early on in the final frame as John Herrington (18) was able to slot home a wrist shot from the high slot to beat Matthew Tovell to give the Spruce Kings a 2-0 lead. Salmon Arm had plenty of opportunities on the man advantage as the period progressed, including three individual minor penalties to Ty Gagno. The ‘Backs were able to make things close in the final minutes as the Captain, Nathan Mackie (20) was able to slide one by Fairlie to end his shutout bid on the man advantage. The Spruce Kings added an empty netter off of the stick of Ty Gagno (12) to restore their two goal cushion late in the period.

Next up for the Silverbacks will be a Friday night clash at the Shaw Centre as the Silverbacks host the West Kelowna Warriors at 7:00PM. All kids 15 and under will get in free thanks to Salmon Arm Dental.

Photo by CHRIS FOWLER – Recap by Courtesy of TONY TROZZO