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Vees squeeze by the Silverbacks 5-3

Photo Courtesy of Cherie Morgan

Penticton, BC – For the third time this season it was the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (11-7-0-1) and the Penticton Vees (20-0-0-0) renewing their rivalry from the South Okanagan Events Centre. The two teams met met twice within the first two weeks of the season with Penticton taking down Salmon Arm 6-1, and 3-1 in those games. The ‘Backs came into the game on a mini two game slide as they most recently fell 5-2 to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Friday night. It was only the second home loss of the season for the Silverbacks. While the Vees came into the game as an absolute juggernaut. The Vees have opened the year with a 20 game win streak, and a combined 36 game streak if you include last seasons playoff run. It was also a special night for Silverbacks forward, Brandon Santa Juana, who played in his 200th BCHL

Between the pipes it was Matthew Tovell (8-6-0-1, 2.79 GAA, .920 S%) getting his 16th start of the season for the Silverbacks. On the other side it was Luca Di Pasquo (14-0-0-0, 1.63 GAA, .929 S%) getting the nod for the Vees.

The Silverbacks came out of the gate looking to make some noise as they looked like a determined group. Just over eight minutes into the game it was CJ Foley(2) firing a shot towards the net from the blueline and beating Luca Di Pasquo to open the scoring. The Vees looked to bounce back as they picked up their play midway through the period, but Matthew Tovell was up to the task. The lone penalty of the period came late in the frame as Billy Norcross went to the box for tripping. The Silverbacks made no mistake on the man advantage as Jayden Grier (4) was able to bat one home on the rebound to extend the Silverbacks lead to two goals. The Vees applied the pressure late in the period but Matthew Tovell was once again up to the task. The Vees outshot the ‘Backs 16-11 in the opening frame.

The Vees came out like a different looking team in the middle frame as they went quickly to  work. They had two quick powerplays in the middle frame as Nathan Mackie and Maddux Martin both went to the box in the opening four minutes. The Vees were able to strike on their first man advantage, as Josh Nadeau (13) was able to get the Vees on the board. The Silverbacks were able to bounce back as they went back to the man advantage midway through the period. Late in the powerplay, it was Ethan Ullrick (10) burying one on the rebound to restore the ‘Backs two goal lead. Salmon Arm got themselves in penalty trouble late in the period, as Aidan Lindblad took a roughing penalty, and Ethan Ullrick inadvertently high-sticked Aydar Suniev which resulted in a double-minor. The Vees were able to add two late powerplay goals as Bradly Nadeau (22,23) added to his league lead in goals to tie things up late in the period. The Vees outshout the Silverbacks 14-6 in the period.

The Vees were able to strike again on the man advantage early on in the third period as they capitalized once again with the extra skater. It was Aydar Suniev (15) getting the go ahead goal for the Vees as he buried a cross ice pass to give them their first lead of the game. The Silverbacks battled back throughout the period looking for an equalizer but couldn’t beat Di Pasquo. His best save on the night came midway through the period when he robbed CJ Foley with a quick glove save. Suniev (16) was able to add his second of the game, and grab his fifth point of the night to extend the Vees lead to two late in the period. That was enough for the Vees, as they squeezed by the Silverbacks by a final score of 5-3. The Vees ended up outshooting the ‘Backs 45-21.

Next up for the Silverbacks will see a brief pitstop back in Salmon Arm. The ‘Backs will welcome the Cranbrook Bucks into town for the second time on the season. Puck drop will be at 6:00PM on Saturday evening!