Vipers leave ’Backs stunned

Coming off a stellar two-game road swing, the Silverbacks returned home and dropped two divisional games to Vernon and West Kelowna

Turned to ice: Salmon Arm goaltender, Angus Redmond is sprayed by the Vipers Charley Michalowski just before a Vernon goal in a game at the Shaw Centre on Friday, Jan. 15.

Turned to ice: Salmon Arm goaltender, Angus Redmond is sprayed by the Vipers Charley Michalowski just before a Vernon goal in a game at the Shaw Centre on Friday, Jan. 15.

Coming off a stellar two-game road swing, the Silverbacks returned home and dropped two divisional games to Vernon and West Kelowna this past weekend.

It looked like the ’Backs were on their way to another victory against their most notorious rivals on Friday night when goals from Elijiah Barriga, Jared Turcotte, Ross Heidt and a pair from Chase Zieky gave the Silverbacks an overwhelming 5-1 lead over Vernon after 20 minutes of play.

Inside the first two and a half minutes of the second period, Vernon’s Jimmy Lambert scored twice to chip away and signal the Vipers comeback.

Vernon would add five more goals in the frame giving them an 8-5 lead, and leaving the Silverbacks and their fans shell-shocked.

“Our defensive play and our discipline let us down, it’s that simple. We just didn’t play good enough after the first 20 minutes,” said Silverbacks head coach Brandon West.

In the third period, after a hard-nosed drive to the net and collision with Vipers goaltender Brendan Barry, Colton Thibault was assessed a major penalty for goaltender interference and was given a game misconduct.

“Colton drove hard to the net and he was knocked off balance and made contact with their goalie, I don’t think it warranted a major penalty,” said West.

The league agreed with West, and after a review of the play, the call on the ice was rescinded, meaning Thibault would not be suspended for the incident. The Vipers added two more goals in the period, ending the wild contest 10-5.

The following night, the Backs hosted West Kelowna.

“I thought our response was outstanding. They play a similar style as we do, it felt like a game of chess out there,” said West.

Brandon Kegler gave up the game’s opening goal midway through the first period and made 23 saves until Jake Harrison’s double-OT goal clinched a 2-1 road win for the Warriors. West felt  his side took control of the game midway through the second period and said their persistence paid off when Heidt scored the equalizer at 10:07 of the third.

“Ross’ goal came at a key time for us thanks to a fantastic play by Bolduc to get the puck to Ross.”

The Silverbacks will take to the road this weekend as they embark on a three game Island road trip to play Nanaimo, Victoria and Cowichan Valley.

“We are looking forward to the trip, anytime you can get away as a team it will help to build the team,” said West.

 

Salmon Arm Observer

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