Vees, Smokies best ’Backs

Two losses at home over the weekend at the hands of Penticton and Trail sealed the Silverbacks position as the third seed

Heavy backcheck: The Silverbacks’ Ayrton Nikkel is called for tripping as he hauls down Trails’ Nolan Redler in a game at the Shaw Centre on Saturday. Trail won the game 5-4 in OT.

Heavy backcheck: The Silverbacks’ Ayrton Nikkel is called for tripping as he hauls down Trails’ Nolan Redler in a game at the Shaw Centre on Saturday. Trail won the game 5-4 in OT.

Two losses at home over the weekend at the hands of Penticton and Trail sealed the Silverbacks position as the third seed in the Interior Division.

For the first time this season, the Silverbacks suffered their first defeat on home ice to Penticton on Friday evening.

After a scoreless first 20 minutes, Nick Hutchison opened the scoring for the ’Backs early in the second but the Vees’ Demico Hannoun tied it just past the halfway mark of the middle frame.

Midway through the final period Chris Gerrie gave Penticton a goal lead only to see it cancelled out 21 seconds later by Taro Hirose’s 15th goal of the season, assisted by Josh Laframboise.

Seven minutes after Hirose’s marker, the Vees’ talisman Tyson Jost scored the eventual game winner.

On Saturday night, the Smokies’ Bennett Morrison scored the overtime goal on giving them the 5-4 win over the ’Backs.

The Silverbacks got out to a three-goal lead on first-period goals by Chase Zieky and Cameron Trott, along with a second-period marker from Laframboise.

A great work ethic on the forecheck by Carson Bolduc led to the game’s opening goal by Zieky, his 27th of the season, lifting it over the shoulder of Bailey MacBurnie.

Trott doubled the score for the ’Backs with a blast from the point on the power play. Blanchard’s goal also came on the man advantage as he had an easy finish on a gaping net, thanks to slick passing from Marcus Mitchell and Trott.

Trail rallied back as Jake Kauppila scored two and Evan McEachern added one to make it 3-3 going to the third.

Former Silverback Connor Brown-Maloski put the Smokies ahead but Mitchell tied it just over a minute later, setting the stage for overtime play.

A great individual effort by the Smokies’ Morrison to beat the Silverbacks’ defence wide with speed then sneak the puck between the pads of Angus Redmond sealed the two points for Trail.

The ’Backs have two games remaining in the season against West Kelowna, who they will meet in the first round of the playoffs, and host Penticton on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in the final game of the regular season.

On Monday, Hirose was nominated by the league for the Bob Fenton Trophy, as the league’s most sportsmanlike player.

 

Salmon Arm Observer

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