Salmon Arm, BC – It was a rare Wednesday night clash at the Shaw Centre as the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (27-19-4-2) played host to the league leading Penticton Vees (48-3-0-1). The two teams had met three times on the season to this point, but had not met up since November 23rd. The Vees came into the contest on a twelve game winning streak, and most recently a 10-0 victory over the Merritt Centennials on Saturday night. The Silverbacks were hoping to bounce back following their 4-0 loss to the Prince George Spruce Kings on Saturday night in which was just their second shutout loss on the season.
Matthew Tovell (26-16-3-0, 2.57 GAA, .921 S%, 4SO) got his 15th straight start for the Silverbacks, while Luca Di Pasquo (33-3-0, 1.67 GAA, .924 S%, 3SO) got the nod for the Vees.
The first half of the opening frame was more of a feeling out process for both teams as they were looking to get back into the rhythm of playing each other for the first time of 2023. The Silverbacks had two opportunities on the man-advantage as both Ryan Hopkins and Jackson Nieuwendyk went to the box in the opening half of the period, but Salmon Arm was unable to capitalize. The ‘Backs were able to break through in late stages of the period as it was a breakout rush between Liam Steele and Isaac Lambert starting things off. Liam Steele (3) made it look like he was a forward in the rush as he received the pass from Lambert before burying one high and over the shoulder of Di Pasquo with the backhand to open the scoring. Just 45 seconds later it was Hayden Stavroff (13) burying one from the slot to give the ‘Backs a two goal lead heading into the middle frame. Shots in the period were 7-7.
The second period was one to remember for the Vees as they quickly got back into the hockey game in a quick manor. Just under two minutes in it was Frank Djurasevic (10) beating Tovell to get the Vees on the board. Just 90 seconds later it was Dovar Tinling (15) deflecting home a shot from the blue-line on the powerplay to get things knotted up. Shortly after that, it was a delayed penalty to the Silverbacks that gave the Vees some extra momentum to work with. Aydar Suniev (44) was able to score a highlight reel goal as he waved his way through the ‘Backs defence before potting one by Tovell to get the Vees their first lead of the game. Just prior to the midway mark of the period, it was Dovar Tinling (17) once again getting on the board to double up the Vees lead. Shots in the middle frame were 16-7 in favour of Penticton.
The period started off quickly for the Vees as they had lots of carry-over five on three time to work with to kick off the period. Just twelve seconds into the period it was a powerplay marker from Dovar Tinling (17) as he got his hat-trick goal to extend the Vees lead to three goals. The Silverbacks tried to get back into the contest, and midway through the period they struck as William Lavigne (6) ripped home a shot from the blue line to pull the ‘Backs within two goals. Salmon Arm continued to push, but Luca Di Pasquo had the answer for their pressure. Penticton was able to add an empty netter as Aydar Suniev (45) trickled one into the yawning cage to finish things off for the Vees.
Next up for the Silverbacks will be our final home regular season game on the season as we welcome the West Kelowna Warriors into town. All kids 15 and under will get in free thanks to our friends at Hartty Clothing. Puck drops at 6:00PM!
Photo by CHRIS FOWLER – Recap Courtesy of TONY TROZZO