Salmon Arm goalie Liam Vanderkooi shut the door in the third period on the upset-minded Centennials Saturday, Jan. 22, in Merritt. (Chris Fowler Photo)

Salmon Arm goalie Liam Vanderkooi shut the door in the third period on the upset-minded Centennials Saturday, Jan. 22, in Merritt. (Chris Fowler Photo)

Salmon Arm Silverbacks rally to beat Merritt

Backs score four unanswered goals in final 20 minutes for 6-3 BCHL road win



The Salmon Arm Silverbacks scored four unanswered goals in the third period to erase a 3-2 deficit and propel them to a 6-3 BC Hockey League victory on the road in Merritt Saturday, Jan. 22.

In the first period, the Silverbacks got on the board early. Will Lavigne let go a point shot, and it found its way into the net for his first BCHL goal. Daniel Panetta picked up the lone assist on the play.

Merritt answered right back with a goal of their own. Jackson Krill beat Liam Vanderkooi under the arm short side to tie it at one. The Centennials got another one when Ryan Mulrenin picked up a loose puck in front of Vanderkooi, and he out-waited the goaltender and lifted a backhand over the pad to give the Cents the lead.

Each team had a powerplay, and they both failed to convert. The Silverbacks outshot the Centennials 17-11 in the opening frame.

The middle frame was filled with penalties — 13. The Silverbacks got the first powerplay opportunity of the period, and they immediately took advantage just 17 seconds into the powerplay as Panetta was able to jam home his 14th of the year past Merritt goalie John Hicks to tie the game at two.

However, just 16 seconds after Salmon Arm tied the game, the Centennials counted when Ashton Taylor let go a shot from the boards, and it found a way past Vanderkooi for a 3-2 lead.

Then the Silverbacks got into penalty trouble. After a scrum in front of the net that resulted in Vanderkooi getting mowed over, the Silverbacks came to the defence of their puck-stopper. Simon Tassy was given a 10-minute misconduct, while William Lavigne was given a cross-checking penalty, then shortly after that, the Silverbacks were caught with too many men on the ice, putting them on a 5-on-3 penalty kill.

Twice in the second period, they were down two men for lengthy periods, and both times they were able to kill them off. One for 1:56, and the other for 56 seconds. The Silverbacks were a perfect 7/7 on the penalty kill through two periods. Salmon Arm outshot the Cents 15-10 in the middle frame but trailed a goal heading into the third period.

In the third, the penalties continued to pile up on both sides. Almost 20 total through the game.

Putting that all aside, the Silverbacks had a task at hand: mount a third-period comeback. The youngster led the charge as Owen Beckner cut into the offensive zone and ripped a shot bar-down far side past Hicks to tie the game. It was his third of the season, and the Silverbacks were just getting started.

Not even a minute late, they struck again. This time it was Noah Serdachny popping home a loose puck to make it 4-3. It was his 16th of the season. Moments later, Mathieu Bourgault found the back of the net after an excellent feed in front by Tassy, who would add his own goal to make it 6-3 after he tipped a Michael Ladyman point shot for his league-leading 27th of the year.

The Silverbacks outshot the Cents 20-9 in the third period and 52-29 overall. These two teams will meet inside the Shaw Centre Wednesday night, Jan. 26, for a 7 p.m. puck drop.

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BCHLSalmon Arm Silverbacks