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Hanna notches OT winner
A week that began fairly positively for the Salmon Arm SilverBacks ended with a couple of sour notes as the team took a 5-4 overtime win in Trail but followed with home losses of 7-4 to Merritt and 6-1 to Penticton.
Playing their first game without recently traded captain Brett Knowles, the Gorillas put forth a nice showing through 40 minutes Wednesday in Trail and held a 4-2 edge going into the third. But the Smokies didn’t roll over and at the start of the third were all over the ’Backs.
“We called our timeout about five minutes in (to the third),” said Salmon Arm head coach Colin O’Hara. “Our guys were getting loose with our system and we asked them to buckle down.”
Unfortunately, minor penalties to James Friedel and Taylor Love followed the time out and Trail continued to keep the momentum and eventually tied the game with less than five minutes to go. Salmon Arm salvaged things in double overtime when Shane Hanna converted the winner on set up from recently acquired Travis Stephens.
Coming home, any good vibes that may have resulted from the OT win in Trail didn’t seem to carry over. The Centennials came into Shaw Centre and got goals from seven different players and held a 6-2 edge after two periods.
“For us, it’s one of those things where our guys didn’t compete enough in any aspect of the game on loose puck battles,” said O’Hara. “Merritt is a club that works hard and built themselves a big lead.”
After the fourth Cents goal, O’Hara tried to shake up his group – which had been mostly listless to that point – by making a goalie change.
“Part way through the second, our group wasn’t playing well and I didn’t like the defensive breakdowns,” he said. “I tried to spark our group but it didn’t do much.”
In the third, one positive was another assist from Stephens on a goal by Garrett Hendrickson but it was too little, too late.
The SilverBacks closed the week with a contest against the Penticton Vees and found themselves down 6-0 in the third before Mak Barden spoiled Michael Garteig’s shutout bid. It was a chippy game with the highly confident Vees players, on their way to a 21st consecutive victory, verbally reminding Salmon Arm who stood where in the standings. It didn’t go over well with the SilverBacks as both Brendan and Jeff Kennedy dropped the mitts with Troy Stecher and Kyle Beaulieu respectively.
“As that game goes on, it was more and more evident they were absolutely handing it to us and they decide some of their guys are going to run their mouths and rub salt in the wounds,” said O’Hara. “Our guys decided to stand up for themselves and that enough was enough.
“Those (incidents) don’t get forgotten; guys will remember that for years.”
The SilverBacks play the Vees six more times this season and it looks like those games will be highly charged.
The BCHL trade deadline was Jan.10 (after Observer deadlines). The only recent Salmon Arm move was Kody Dhaliwal going to Flin Flon of the Saskatchewan Junior league for future considerations, but he opted not to report there. It’s unknown where he’ll end up.