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Tovell earns the shutout, Silverbacks blank the Bucks 1-0

Salmon Arm, BC – For the second time this season the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (11-8-0-1) squared off against the Cranbrook Bucks (12-7-1-0). The two teams have been jockeying for position in the Interior Division standings throughout the first half of the BCHL Season. The Bucks came into the game with a two point lead ahead of the ‘Backs for fourth in Interior Conference following their 6-5 shootout win over the Vernon Vipers last night. The first meeting of the season came back at the end October when the Silverbacks edged the Bucks by a 2-1 score. The Silverbacks are looking to snap a three game losing streak as they most recently fell to Penticton on Wednesday night.

Matthew Tovell (8-7-0-1, 2.94 GAA, .917 S%) got the start for the Silverbacks while Nathan Airey (8-5-1, 2.76 GAA, .918 S%) got the nod for the Bucks.

The first five minutes of the game proved to be an exciting stretch of hockey as both teams came out of the gate with a physical edge. Matthew Tovell was sharp early on for the Silverbacks as he made three big saves within the first minute to keep the game scoreless. Just over one minute into the game it was Nathan Mackie (11) burying one on a wrap around to get the games first goal. Just a few moments later the ‘Backs went down a man as Will Lavigne went off for a hitting from behind call to put them on the early penalty kill. Both teams traded penalties in the opening stages but couldn’t capitalize on their respective powerplays. The rest of the period saw lots of stoppages, as the Silverbacks would take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Shots after the first were 13-10 in favor of Cranbrook.

The second period was a penalty filled period as the Silverbacks Captain Nathan Mackie went to the box on three different occasions. Bryce Soorko and Carsyn Good also went to the box for the ‘Bucks but neither team was able to capitalize on their man advantages. The middle frame proved to be a goalies duo as Nathan Airey and Matthew Tovell traded highlight reel saves near the end of the period. The period remained scoreless as the Bucks outshot the ‘Backs 11-10 in the period.

The trail to the penalty box continued in the third period as both teams took two separate trips to the penalty box, but both goalies were once again up the challenge.  Late in the period the Silverbacks thought that they had extended their lead to two goals, as Ethan Ullrick beat Nathan Airey on a rebound on the man advantage. The goal was quickly overturned as Nathan Mackie was called for goaltender interference. Salmon Arm was able to hold on for a 1-0 victory over Cranbrook. Shots in the third were 13-10 for the Bucks.

The Silverbacks will get the right in action tomorrow when they travel into Merritt to take on the Centennials. The Sunday afternoon matchup will have puck drop at 2PM from the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.