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Tassy, Vanderkooi Lift Backs Over Vipers

SALMON ARM, BC- Simon Tassy recorded a goal and two assists, and Liam Vanderkooi stopped 35 of 37, and the Silverbacks defeated the Vernon Vipers 5-2 in front of fans inside the Shaw Centre.

The first period was a back and forth affair, with the Silverbacks and Vipers trading first-period chances. The Vipers got back-to-back early powerplay’s when Nathan Morin went off for interference, and Tucker Hartmann went off for Cross-checking. Your best penalty killer has to be your goaltender when you are shorthanded, and Liam Vanderkooi was just that. Vanderkooi was in the pipes for the Silverbacks for the fourth time this season and came into tonight’s game boasting a 2-1 record. He stopped all 13 shots he faced in the opening period. However, just as it looked like the opening twenty minutes would end up scoreless, Simon Tassy had other ideas. As the Backs top line was in the midst of a good offensive zone shift, Noah Serdachny found an open Tassy in front, and he ripped it under the glove of Vipers goaltender roan Clarke to make it 1-0 Backs. The goal was Tassy’s 17th of the year, and 24th point of the season, one point off the league lead in scoring. The Backs were outshot 13-9 in the first period.

In the second period, the Silverbacks offence put their stamp on this game. The Silverbacks powerplay came into tonight 2 of their last 23 opportunities, and they got their first opportunity in the second period when Vipers forward Luke Buss went off for tripping. The top unit needed just 36 seconds to cash in as Tassy fed Brandon Santa Juana backdoor for a tap-in for his 7th of the campaign and a 2-0 Silverbacks lead. Just 35 seconds later, the Backs offence struck again, this time off the rush. Rookie forward Nathan Mackie ripped a shot over the glove of Clarke for his first BCHL goal, making it 3-0. The goal chased Clarke from the net, and backup Ethan David entered the game. The Backs gave David a rude welcoming scoring on the second shot he faced, as Nathan Morin tipped a Mathieu Cobetto-Roy shot home to make it 4-0. The Silverbacks nearly extended the lead to five when Tassy broke loose for a shorthanded breakaway, but Tassy couldn’t beat an outstretched Clarke. After the goal, Clarke entered back into the game for Vernon. Vipers called back into the game with two late goals cutting the lead in half. First, Tyler Chan redirected Luke Buss shot from the corner to cut the lead to 4-1 Silverbacks. Then with one second left in the middle frame, Matthew Culling pounded on a loose puck in front of Vanderkooi and was able to shoot it through his legs to cut the lead to 4-2. Vernon outshot the Backs again in the middle frame 15-9. Vanderkooi was sharp in the second period.

In the third period, the Silverbacks locked it down defensively and didn’t allow many Vipers chances. The Vipers had a couple of powerplays to try and get back in the hockey game, but the Silverbacks were able to kill them off. BCHL’s top penalty kill was as advertised, going a perfect 5/5 on the night. Noah Serdachny added a late empty netter to make it 5-2. Simon Tassy picked up an assist on the goal. Tassy was recently named the BCHL 1st star of the Week and was also named to the All-Star game. With a goal and three assists in the game, Tassy overtook Mathew Wood for the league lead in scoring with 27 points. Liam Vanderkooi improved to 3-1 on the season, stopping 35 of the 37 shots he faced. He maintained a 2.01 GAA and raised his SV% from .909 to a sparkling .922.

With the win, the Silverbacks improve to 12-3-1 and will now head down south to battle the Wenatchee Wild for three games in three days.