The Silverbacks (23-28-2-3) have now won four straight, the first four game win streak of this 2016-17 season as Salmon Arm beat the Cowichan Valley Capitals (23-28-2-7) 3-1 on Wednesday night on Vancouver Island.
The Silverbacks and Capitals were set to meet earlier this month on Friday, February 10th but that game was postponed because of highway closures around the province. Cowichan Valley won the first half of the home-and-home set, 5-2 in Salmon Arm in November. Nathan Iannone opened the scoring last night with his fifth of season, as former Silverback Haydn Hopkins gave away the puck in the Capitals slot at 17:23.
The visitors took that lead into the second period, the home team lead 9-7 on the shot clock. Cowichan Valley tied the game 1-1 at 1:53 of the second with Ayden MacDonald’s 24th. The Silverbacks took two penalties in the second period, the only two penalties and two power-plays in the game for either team. Max Wutzke was called for cross-checking at 8:25 and Spencer Hora for tripping at 13:00. Salmon Arm lead 1-0 into the third, the Capitals outshot the Silverbacks 11-7 in the middle frame.
Trevor Ayre scored the game winner, his 10th of the season and assisted by Cowichan Valley product Ryan Hogg as the two former Capitals gave the Silverbacks a 2-1 lead at 3:45 into the third. And Elijiah Barriga finished the scoring into an empty net, his 27th at 19:18. Cowichan Valley outshot Salmon Arm 11-8 in the final period, 31-18 Capitals total. Trevin Kozlowski stopped all 30 of the 31 for his third straight win, the 19-year-old has allowed just 2 goals in 3 straight games.
The Silverbacks penalty-kill was 2-for-2, and the power-play without an opportunity. Affiliate forwards Josh Arnold and Elan Bar Lev Wise got into the lineup on Wednesday. Bar Lev Wise is a Vancouver product of the Burnaby Winter Club and celebrated his 16th birthday on the first of February, Arnold is 17-years-old and a product of Cloverdale, BC. Akito Hirose and Marcus Mitchell each suffered serious injury on Saturday in the Silverbacks 5-1 victory over the Penticton Vees (40-13-1-2) in the South Okanagan.
The Silverbacks have finished with a record of 5-5-0-1 versus the Island division, and 14-14-1-1 on the road. Salmon Arm is now 5-4-1-0 in February with the 1 regular season game remaining. The Silverbacks are not in action on Friday and will finish the regular season on Saturday on home ice with the West Kelowna Warriors (27-27-0-2) at the Shaw Centre at 7pm.
The Silverbacks are still sixth in Interior, 2 points behind the Merritt Centennials (22-25-2-8) and Salmon Arm is 6 points behind both the Warriors and Trail Smoke Eaters (25-25-1-5) who are tied for third. The top two teams in the Interior will receive a first round playoff bye, third place will meet sixth and fourth versus fifth in Best-of-7 series which will begin early in March.