It was a night to forget for Salmon Arm.
Allowing six goals in the first period, the team would eventually fall 10-3 to the Trail Smoke Eaters.
Things got off to a rough start as less than three minutes in, the Silverbacks took two penalties at the same time to give Trail a two minute five-on-three power play. The Smokies would cash in on one of those power plays with Tyler Ghirardosi tipping in a Trevor Zins point shot. Midway through the period, the Smoke Eaters went on a run scoring three goals in 1:54. Mack Byers burst down the right sending a shot past the blocker of Langenegger, then Max Kryski took a shot from the top of the right circle. Deflecting off a Silverback player in front of the goal, that made the score 3-0 on nine shots and Matthew Armitage would come in. 42 seconds later it was Braeden Tuck scoring the Smokies fourth of the game. Two more goals would find the back of the net before 20 minutes was up with Tuck and Byers each getting their seconds of the game.
An early power play for Trail in the second wound up in the back of their net as Matthew Verboon scored his first goal of the night shorthanded. Racing up the left side to track down a dumped puck, the forward was able to snipe it top corner for his 24th of the season.
Trail replied with a highlight reel goal from Kent Johnson. The 2002 born forward was behind the net, and wrapped the puck around lacrosse style to restore the six goal lead at 7-1. Using their top unit, the power play would strike again for the Smoke Eaters with Ghirardosi scoring his second of the night. With seven minutes left, a power play goal for Matthew Verboon marked his second of the night. John Little picked up a secondary assist and now has points in 15 straight games, while Verboon has points in 13 straight.
Before the period was up, Ghirardosi scored another power play goal for the hat-trick, while Max Kryski had his second of the night on a two-on-one shorthanded break. That would make the score 10-2 heading to the third.
Matthew Verboon would complete his hat-trick with an even strength goal seven minutes into the final period.
The good news for Salmon Arm is that both teams around them in the standings also lost Saturday. For Wenatchee it was a 4-1 loss in Victoria, while the Vipers allowed eight goals in a loss to the Penticton Vees. West Kelowna didn’t play Powell River with the game being cancelled due to weather restrictions and the Warriors being unable to travel to the Island. As a result of all the games, Salmon Arm remains fourth in the Interior Division.
This week the team returns home for a Wednesday meeting with the Chilliwak Chiefs. The Silverbacks beat them earlier this season in the Prospera Centre by a final score of 4-3. It will mark the return of Max Wutzke who played just over two seasons with Salmon Arm before being traded to the Chiefs this year.
With a hat-trick on the night, it wasn’t the final score he would want, but Matthew Verboon did play a very good game for the team providing all the goals for Salmon Arm. It’s been said in a majority of the game previews and recaps, but his play since coming back from the World Juniors has been spectacular, and is one of the best if not THE best player in that time frame around the league.