The Atom A Silverbacks played host to a 12-team tourney over the weekend and narrowly missed out on a championship trophy.
The tournament featured a strong field from the Okanagan, Prince George and the Lower Mainland.
The Salmon Arm boys opened the tourney with a 9-5 victory over a talented Semiahmoo Ravens team. The Heart and Hustle award was given to Sawyer Mayes while Eric Thompson was named the game MVP.
Saturday featured a double header, each game ending with Salmon Arm in the win column: 9-4 over Penticton and 12-6 over the Prince George Blackhawks. The Heart and Hustle awards went to Graidy Adams and Denali Forsyth respectively, and the game MVPs were Tayden Lake and Quinn Doray.
The Silverbacks finished the round robin with a 3-0 record, putting them into a semi-final berth against Kamloops 2. This match was initially a back-and-forth affair with both teams having great scoring chances and timely goaltending. The game broke open in the third when Salmon Arm scored five unanswered goals. The 7-2 final was not indicative of the competition provided by Kamloops, who never gave up. Mettao Sardhina earned the Heart and Hustle while goaltender Levi Hollatz was named game MVP.
The Championship Final was against league rival West Kelowna. The first period saw much of the action in the West Kelowna end of the rink, but somehow the score tilted 2-0 in West Kelowna’s favour.
The Silverbacks started the second period with a flurry of action in front of the West Kelowna net, resulting in a goal by Graidy Adams. Shortly thereafter, Quinn Doray was able to even the score with a wrist shot from the slot.
The goalies traded one spectacular save after another throughout an intense final period.
For the first time this season, the Atom A Silverbacks would need to play in a five-minute, sudden-death overtime. The four-on-four format seemed to favour the speed of the ’Backs until a penalty and an unfortunate injury changed the momentum.
Halfway through the extra frame, a West Kelowna forward scooped up the puck and backhanded home the OT winner.
The final game featured four awards: the Heart and Hustle went to Sawyer Mayes; the game MVP went to Riley Hunt; Quinn Doray was given Salmon Arm’s Most Sportsmanlike player and Denali Forsyth earned the distinction of being Salmon Arm’s Most Valuable Player for the tournament. Although the Silverbacks had to settle for the silver medal, the players, their coaches, tournament organizers and sponsors all put on a great showing for our community.
The team demonstrated the determination and dedication that will undoubtedly foreshadow many future victories.