Salmon Arm B.C. — The Salmon Arm Silverbacks won in dramatic fashion on Friday night for #PinkTheRink night at the Shaw Centre, clipping the Chilliwack Chiefs 2-1 in overtime thanks to a brilliant game-winning-goal from forward Nick Unruh.
Their regular season record improves to 9-2-1, while the Chiefs fall to 8-4-2.
The first period was fairly even, and although the Chiefs held an edge in shots on goal by an 11-8 margin, most of the shots the Backs surrendered were from the outside of the ice. After 20 minutes, the game was still scoreless.
The contest continued to be tight in the second period, and 7:12 into the frame, Silverbacks defenceman Hunter Sansbury broke the deadlock with a rocket from the right point that eluded goaltender Mathieu Caron to the blocker side. The goal came at the tail end of a power play.
Through two periods, the Silverbacks held a 1-0 edge on the scoreboard but were trailing in shots 22-19.
It didn’t take much time in the third period for the Chiefs to find the equalizer, as Nikita Nesterenko beat Ethan Langenegger from in tight under five minutes into the frame. The teams traded chances for the remainder of the third but no one could break the tie, which meant 3-on-3 overtime.
Not long after Langenegger made a big glove save on Brett Willits, Noah Wakeford knocked down Cooper Moore deep in the Silverback zone, which allowed Nick Unruh to turn it back the other way. Unruh did it all himself, hustling down the left wing, driving wide past Nesterenko, dragging the puck across the goal to his backhand, and finishing past the outstretched glove of Caron to end the game.
Nick Unruh, Salmon Arm Silverbacks: Unruh’s overtime winner was a thingy of beauty and brought the more than 1,100 fans in attendance to their feet. It was the perfect example of his size, speed and skill, all at once.
His line — with Drew Bennett and Noah Wakeford — also had other opportunities in the game.
Ethan Langenegger, Salmon Arm Silverbacks: Langenegger was in a zone for this one, consistently making saves look routine when they often weren’t. He limited his rebounds extremely well and as usual, had some timely saves, including a dandy in overtime not long before Unruh’s game-winning-goal. Langenegger now has a 7-1 record this season with a 2.22 GAA and .925 SV%.
Nikita Nesterenko, Chilliwack Chiefs: Nesterenko had the puck on his stick a lot on Friday and for good reason. He has a long, powerful stride and his vision allows him to create offence in situations where others may not. He scored his third goal of the season 4:40 into the third period, but could have had a couple more points if not for Langenegger.
For the full boxscore, click here.
STAT OF THE GAME
Silvebacks PK 3-for-3: The Silverbacks were perfect on the penalty kill for just the second time in the last nine games. More impressive than them going 100% was the few number of infractions. In eight of their previous 11 games, the Silverbacks were shorthanded at least five times. Discipline was important on Friday.
The Silverbacks now make the long trek up to Prince George on Saturday to take on the defending champion Spruce Kings. Prince George fell 5-4 in a shootout on Friday to the Nanaimo Clippers.
The game can be heard on 91.5 EZ Rock with the pre-game show starting at 6:30 p.m., while fans can also stream the games on HockeyTV.