The Vernon Vipers’ offence was stymied by the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Friday night, Jan. 6.
The Silverbacks won 3-0 on the back of a 37-save performance from their goaltender, Matthew Tovell, who earned his third shutout of the season.
Special teams were even as both teams went 0 for 3 on the powerplay.
All of the night’s offence came in the first period. The ‘Backs fed off the energy of a sold-out crowd at the Shaw Centre, scoring just one minute after the opening puck drop. Brandon Santa Juana finished off a nice passing sequence with his linemates, Nathan Mackie and Hayden Stavroff, to give his team an early 1-0 advantage.
Then, just past the seven minute mark, Owen Beckner scored his 12th goal of the season, taking a shot from just inside the blueline to beat Vipers goaltender Ethan David.
Later in the period it was a solo effort from Ryan Gillespie that extended the ‘Backs’ lead. Gillespie dragged the puck around a defender through the neutral zone and slid the puck past David to give the ‘Backs a 3-0 lead, and that would be the final score.
David made eight saves on 11 shots before surrendering the crease to goaltender Roan Clarke, who finished off the night with 19 saves on 19 shots.
With the win, The Silverbacks moved into fourth place in the B.C. Hockey League Interior division with 35 points in 31 games played, and an identical record to the Prince George Spruce Kings (16-12-2-1-0). The Vipers are back to being a .500 team with a 14-14-0-4-0 record and 32 points in 32 games, good for seventh in the Interior.
The Silverbacks are back in action Sunday, Jan. 8, against the West Kelowna Warriors at 2:30 p.m. Meanwhile the Vipers return home tonight for a contest against the Merritt Centennials at 6 p.m.