The Salmon Arm Silverbacks doubled up on the Merritt Centennials in Dec. 29 British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) action.
Salmon Arm forward Simon Tassy had a goal and two assists, while goaltender Liam Vanderkooi stopped 28 of 30 shots to lead the ‘Backs to a 4-2 victory over the Cents in Merritt.
Both teams’ goalies were stellar in the first period and the game was scoreless after 20 minutes despite a number of good scoring chances.
In the second period, the Silverbacks had a stroke of luck when defenceman Lucas Matta took a shot that bounced off multiple players before going into the net. The goal was his seventh of the season. Later in the period on a power play, Tassy fed a pass to Brandon Santa Juana, who scored and doubled the ‘Backs’ lead.
Shortly after, the Centennials countered with a goal of their own. But before the frame was over, Tassy deked out the Centennials goalie for his league-leading fifth shorthanded goal, making the score 3-1 Silverbacks.
Early in the third period, the Centennials made it 3-2 with a quick shot that beat Vanderkooi. Halfway through the final frame, Salmon Arm responded when Daniel Panetta scored on a shot just under the cross bar. The score would remain 4-2 as Vanderkooi finished the game strong.
The win puts the Silverbacks in first place in the BCHL; they’re the first team to get 20 wins. The ’Backs hit the ice again on Saturday, Jan. 1, when they ring in the new year against the Vernon Vipers at 2 p.m. in Vernon.
With files from Blake Friars, contributor