With just one game this coming weekend, one against a non-division opponent, the effect of last weekend’s pair of overtime wins will take some more time to measure.
But with consecutive 3-2 wins in the extra session over rivals Penticton and Vernon, the Salmon Arm SilverBacks are riding a high at the moment that diminishes the 4-2 loss to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs that preceded the two victories.
Against the visiting Vipers on Sunday, the OT winner was credited to Alex Gillies though the team will ask that the official box score be changed by the BCHL to give it to Andrew Farny. It was a nice finish to a wonky weekend and capped a game where the ’Backs matched their effort from the night before, when they broke a losing skid in Penticton.
“I think the biggest thing was riding the emotion from not only snapping our losing streak but (also) beating Penticton in their barn,” said Salmon Arm associate head coach Brandon West. “Anytime you can get a win in the other team’s rink, playing your arch rival in Vernon should be easy to get up for.”
Goals by Gillies in the first and Alex Jewell in the third gave Salmon Arm 1-0 and 2-1 leads but Vernon replied each time. Farny’s winner at 1:19 of overtime came after Gillies carried the puck into the Vipers’ zone and lost control of it only to have Mitch Ferguson recover and feed Farny at the point who fired the decisive shot.”
“Everybody in our league is fighting for a playoff spot,” noted West. “Anytime you can win in your division, that’s good. Obviously our weekend prior was not good but we fought through some adversity. Anytime you can get two points from a Vernon or Penticton, you gotta relish it.”
They did that on Saturday in Penticton. After falling behind 2-0 in the first period, West and the other coaches implored their charges to simply get some pucks to the Vees’ crease after putting only two shots on net in the first. The simple approach paid off in the middle frame as Cole McCaskill and Michael Roberts scored 2:40 apart to tie the game.
BCHL leading scorer Landon Smith benefited from a play set up by Nick Josephs and Mitch Ferguson as he banged home a rebound with 44 seconds to go in the first overtime to send a big Vees crowd home disappointed.
“We went with three forwards and one (defenceman) in overtime,” said West. “We put Nick (Josephs) up on that line; with his success in Junior B, we figured he’d fit in there. Ferguson was calling for the drop (pass), he put it on net and Landon put home the rebound.”
It quickly made them forget a stale effort against the Bulldogs on Friday where they were tied 2-2 after two but lacked urgency in the final frame, surrendering two goals.
“There were a couple of Grade A chances that Alberni Valley got,” said West. “We didn’t push back hard enough to get the equalizer.”
Salmon Arm hosts the Surrey Eagles Saturday at 7 p.m. at Shaw Centre.