Special teams play lifts ‘Backs over Cents in double overtime

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks hosted the Merritt Centennials in BCHL action at the Shaw Centre on Saturday, Nov.12.

Josh Blanchard and Grayson Constable celebrate Blanchard's goal, which gave the 'Backs a temporary lead over the Cents in a game at the Shaw Centre on Saturday, Nov. 12. The 'Backs would go on to win 5-4 in double overtime.

Josh Blanchard and Grayson Constable celebrate Blanchard's goal, which gave the 'Backs a temporary lead over the Cents in a game at the Shaw Centre on Saturday, Nov. 12. The 'Backs would go on to win 5-4 in double overtime.

Three power play goals for the Silverbacks helped to propel the home side to victory over the visiting Centennials on Saturday evening.

Captain Mitch Skapski and the Silverbacks needed just nine seconds of the man advantage in the second overtime to secure the comeback victory.

After falling behind 3-1 in the first, the ’Backs offence went to work and controlled the majority of the game in the Cents’ own zone.

Carson Bolduc and Riley Hayles’ second of the evening knotted the game at three after 40 minutes.

The ’Backs took their first lead of the game with just under four minutes left in regulation when Josh Blanchard redirected a shot from Bolduc between the legs of the Cents’ netminder Jacob Berger, for his third of the season.

With five seconds left on the clock and a scramble in front of Trevin Kozlowski’s crease, the puck squirted loose and Zach Risteau lifted it over the ’Backs goaltender to force overtime.

Both sides traded chances in the first extra frame and both goalies were up to the task.

Just before the minute mark of the second overtime, Merritt’s Cade Gleekel was sent to the penalty box for tripping, setting up Skapski’s overtime heroics.

Bolduc

The Silverbacks swept the home-and-home series with the Cents’ as they defeated their Interior Division rivals 3-2 on Friday, ending their longest losing skid of the year. The Silverbacks most productive and consistent line all season of Elijiah Barriga, Bolduc and Skapski took the game by their reigns, as they accounted for all the points scored in the Nicola Valley.

Skapski got things rolling for the ’Backs just 28 seconds into the contest. In the second, Barriga scored his team high 11th goal of the season, followed by Bolduc’s eventual game-winner early in the third period.

The pair of weekend victories moves the Silverbacks up one spot in the division standings ahead only of the Warriors, who have three games in hand on the ’Backs.

Salmon Arm will make a trip to Surrey to face the Eagles on Thursday, before returning home to host the Capitals on Saturday and the Wild on Sunday.

A week ago, Troy Mick, Silverbacks general manager, relieved Brandon West as the club’s head coach.

Taking over for West will be a familiar face.

On Monday, Mick announced the signing of Misko Antisin as the Silverbacks interim-coach until the end of the season.

“Misko knows our program inside and out and how things work in Salmon Arm,” said Mick.

“He is a player’s coach who demands the most out of his players. He knows a lot of the returning players and was a part of the recruiting class of this season’s new ’Backs players, so the transition will be an easy one for everybody.”

Antisin spent the last two seasons with the Silverbacks as an assistant coach, before taking over as the coach and general manager for the Steamboat Springs Wranglers in the Rocky Mountain Hockey League, in Colorado.

“I am very excited to be back with the Silverbacks hockey club and the BCHL. It’s an honour to lead these young men to what would be their dream of possibly playing NCAA, CIS or pro hockey,” Antisin said.

Salmon Arm Observer

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