(From left) Olson Werenka, Logan Shaw, Akito Hirose and Tyson Gayfer come together to celebrate Gayfer’s goal in the first period to tie the match against West Kelowna Sept. 29 at the Shaw Centre. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm Silverbacks break even in double-header against West Kelowna

Warriors’ drop ‘Backs in road game, stopped short in rematch

The Silverbacks broke even in a pair of games against the West Kelowna Warriors Sept. 28 and 29, taking a loss on the road but returning to Salmon Arm for a win on home ice.

In their first match against West Kelowna the Silverbacks played hard right to the end but couldn’t bridge the two-goal lead West Kelowna generated in the first period.

The first 20 minutes of play saw the Warriors break out with some aggressive plays, putting two goals into the Silverbacks net before the period was over. Parm Dhaliwal scored his first of the season for the Warriors off a good face-off grab from Mike Hardman and Willie Reim scored the Warriors’ second goal of the period unassisted.

The second period had the Silverbacks hard on the penalty kill, furiously trying to beat the Warriors’ back on four separate power plays. Salmon Arm’s goaltender Ethan Langenegger would really pull out all the stops against these power plays to stonewall the Warriors’ while shorthanded.

Justin Wilson and Matthew Verboon would skate the puck up the ice and into the Warriors’ zone with a series of nice passes, finally firing it up to Olson Werenka for his second BCHL goal with the Silverbacks.

Related: Shuswap girl’s love of hockey pushes her to new heights on major midget team

Later in the period Justin Wilson, who earned an honourable mention as BCHL player of the week last week, would come flying up the right wing with a great pass to Noah Wakeford who fired it past the Warriors’ goaltender to tie up the game in the second.

The third period was a bit of a slow burn to start, but once things kicked off, the action got explosive with four goals being scored in the span of five minutes.

The Warriors took back the lead with a nice slap-shot from Willie Reim on Langenegger’s glove side, putting themselves one goal ahead with seven minutes left on the clock.

The Silverbacks, not content to let the match get away from them so easy, replied with a goal of their own off the stick of Justin Wilson just three minutes later to make it a tense tie game with four minutes on the clock.

West Kelowna put themselves ahead again with Wyatt Head moving the puck from the left corner and out to the slot for Mike Hardman who was all alone, and the veteran forward made no mistake in quickly putting the puck inside the right post.

Salmon Arm would go on the penalty kill for the final minutes of the game, nearly making a shorthanded goal that was stopped by a slick glove save. West Kelowna’s Willie Reim had his eye on the hat trick and came in hot on the power play to fire off his third goal of the night.

This win over the Silverbacks put West Kelowna up into the top spot in Interior Division BCHL rankings with 10 points so far this season.

YouTube/Salmon Arm Silverbacks

Back at home the following night, Salmon Arm took to the ice with a vengeance to knock out a 4-1 win over the Warriors in a rematch on home ice at the Shaw Centre.

The first period saw West Kelowna take an early lead about halfway through the period as Wyatt Head scored his fourth goal of the season for the Warriors’ off a quick pass from the face-off circle.

Shortly after this goal things weren’t looking too hot for Salmon Arm as the Warriors descended on them with a power- play advantage. However, Silverbacks forward Tyson Gayfer took everyone by surprise as he soared up the right wing to fire in a short-handed goal for the home team.

Not content with his single goal, Gayfer was back at it again in the second period, firing off the Silverbacks’ second goal of the game and edging out a 2-1 lead going into the third. Shots on goal were about even going into the final period, with Salmon Arm holding onto a slim lead.

Related: Silverbacks on a hot streak at Bauer BCHL Showcase

West Kelowna kicked off the third on the back half of a power play but were unable to find the back of the Silverbacks’ net. Noah Wakeford and Justin Wilson would come in for a repeat of their dynamic duo play from the night before, with Wilson setting Wakeford up with a snap-pass that was quickly fired into the crease to make it 3-1 for Salmon Arm.

Salmon Arm would have to kill two more West Kelowna power plays before the game was over, but the work paid off, and a late goal sealed the game for the team.

Hudson Schandor passed the puck down the right boards, and a bounce had the puck land in the right faceoff circle. Trevor Adams was able to catch up and back handed the puck past West Kelowna’s goalie for his fourth goal of the season.

The Warriors are back in the Shaw Centre next weekend to take on the Silverbacks Friday, Oct. 5 to kick off Salmon Arm’s breast cancer awareness weekend. On Saturday, Oct. 6 the Silverbacks will also be hosting the Victoria Grizzlies.


Silverbacks’ forward Justin Wilson races for a loose puck with West Kelowna Warriors’ forward Chase Dubois during their matchup at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm Sept. 29. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Silverbacks ‘ defenceman Ethan McLaughlin grabs the puck from behind West Kelowna’s net during the Sept. 29 game at the Shaw Centre, looking to keep possession as Warriors’ defenders close in. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

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