The Salmon Arm Rona Midget Tier 3 Silverbacks travelled to Trail to compete in a tournament this past weekend, emerging from a hard-fought set of games with the silver medal.
Their first game saw them facing league rival Clearwater, and the road-weary ’Backs were going to be in for a tough one. Clearwater took a 2-goal lead into the first intermission, before Jacob Ancell fought the puck out of the corner to feed Lane Bull in front for the one-timer. The Ice Hawks regained their 2-goal cushion later in the second, but another good forecheck by Ancell resulted in a goal by Bradley Hlina. That ended the scoring for the Silverbacks, as they dropped the opener 5-2.
The next morning saw them facing Cranbrook, and they were quickly down 2-0. Ty Bailey would get the ’Backs within one, assisted by Connor Kociuba, and then would get his second of the game to tie it up. Salmon Arm pounded 58 total shots at the Cranbrook netminder, but this one ended in a 2-2 tie.
Their last game of the round robin saw them facing Castlegar in a must-win game. Ancell opened the scoring with a backhand early in the second period, but Castlegar would tie it up. The Silverbacks went up by two later in the period, Hlina on a sweet feed from Sammy Lerose, and Ancell with his second of the game. The teams traded chances in the third before Grady Powell scored on a two-on-one.
Sunday morning semifinals saw Salmon Arm facing the Colorado Highland Hills Jaguars, the winner earning a berth in the gold-medal final later that afternoon. David Kline opened the scoring for the ’Backs with a roof backhand from in tight at the side of the net. With the score 1-1, Tyson Sessa’s point blast would give Salmon Arm the lead. Bailey would put the them up by two later in the second, and Ancell would put Salmon Arm up 4-1 just 27 seconds later. The Jaguars would make it interesting, scoring late in the third, but that’s as close as they’d come, handing the ’Backs a 4-2 victory.
Trail defeated Clearwater in the other cross- over game to set up the gold-medal final later that afternoon. Both teams came out sluggish after their hard-fought morning games, and the Silverbacks quickly found themselves on the penalty kill. Ty Bailey’s great work down low to secure the puck and then feed it out front to Connor Kociuba put the ’Backs up by one early in the first, but unfortunately for the Silverbacks, Trail took over from there, skating away with the victory and gold medal.
Submitted by Peter Kociuba.