Salmon Arm Silverbacks open BCHL season with win

Silverbacks go into Merritt and skate away with well-earned 3-1 victory

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks beat the Merritt Centennials 3-1 Saturday, Oct. 9, in the Nicola Valley, to open the BCHL’s regular season. (Black Press file photo)

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks beat the Merritt Centennials 3-1 Saturday, Oct. 9, in the Nicola Valley, to open the BCHL’s regular season. (Black Press file photo)

Simon Tassy’s goal at 11:26 of the second period turned out to be the game-winner as the Salmon Arm Silverbacks opened their 2021-22 B.C. Hockey League season on the road with a 3-1 win in Merritt Saturday, Oct. 9.

Tassy picked the puck up in the neutral zone, cut into the slot, and caught Centennials goalie Brayden Melnyk by surprise, beating him five-hole, making it 2-0 Backs.

Noah Serdachny, named the game’s first star, opened the scoring for Salmon Arm in the first period on a set-up from newly acquired defenceman Michael Ladyman.

Jerzy Orchard got Merritt back to within a goal at 15:17 of the second period.

Aidan Lindblad added insurance for Salmon Arm at 15:03 of the final frame.

Melnyk finished with 44 saves to earn second-star honours as Salmon Arm outshot the hosts 46-23. Owen Say picked up the win in goal for the Gorillas.

Ladyman, the game’s third star, was picked up by Salmon Arm from the Winnipeg Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League for future considerations. The 20-year-old blueliner played parts of three seasons in the Western Hockey League split between the Spokane Chiefs and Winnipeg Ice.

Ladyman racked up 15 points in 20 games playing in the WHL bubble last season in Regina, and prior to that, he scored six times and added 45 assists in 86 games for the Blues.

“We are excited to add Mike Ladyman to our lineup,” said Salmon Arm head coach and general manager Tyler Shattock. “He’s a veteran guy that really hit his stride last year in Winnipeg. He’s going to add leadership and an offensive pace to our game.”

Ladyman spoke about his next chapter in hockey.

“I am excited about the opportunity to play in the BCHL for the Silverbacks,” he said. “Great to get a chance to start on the road with the boys this week and looking forward to the home opener next week.”

The home opener is Friday, Oct. 15, against the Vernon Vipers (7 p.m., Shaw Centre), the front end of a home-and-home series between the two rivals. The two teams meet at Kal Tire Place Saturday, Oct. 16 (6 p.m.) for Vernon’s home opener.

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