WEST KELOWNA, B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors made the game close with a late charge in the 3rd period but could not complete the comeback as they fell by a 3-2 score to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday night at Royal LePage Place.
Both teams opened the game with strong chances but it would be the Silverbacks to find the back of the net first as Justin Wilson was at the right place at the right time and gave the ‘Backs a 1-0 lead. Grayson Constable centered a pass to the slot that went off of the skate of Wilson and past the blocker side of Warriors netminder Cole Demers to make it a 1-0 score at the 7:43 mark of the first frame.
That stood up as the only goal in the period despite some good looks on goal from the Warriors with Michael Lombardi and RJ Murphy getting the best chances to score but Silverbacks goaltender Kyle Dumba stood in the way. Lombardi got a rebound off a Ryan Steele shot and fired from the slot with Dumba making the stop before Murphy tried a wraparound on a Warriors power play but was stuffed with the right pad of Dumba.
The 2nd period saw the Silverbacks take a 2-0 lead at the 6:40 mark of the middle stanza on a backdoor pass. Wilson passed from the right face-off circle across to Nick Unruh in the right face-off circle as he slid the puck past the blocker side of Demers to double the Silverbacks lead to 2-0.
Salmon Arm pulled ahead by a 3-0 score later in the period at the 16:34 mark with Wilson collecting his second goal of the game. Riley Hayles point shot was stopped by Demers but the rebound was put behind Demers on the glove side by Wilson in front to push the visitors ahead by a 3-0 score after 40 minutes.
The 3rd period began with some pressure by the Warriors including a stretch of three straight power plays which they were unable to convert on but shortly after their third power play of the final regulation period came to an end, the Warriors broke the goose egg and got on the scoreboard at the 13:16 mark of the 3rd period.
Chase Dubois passed across to the right face-off circle for Lucas Cullen as his shot got in on Dumba with the puck being jousted for in the crease and Parm Dhaliwal getting the final tap on it for his 9th goal of the season and his third in the last two games and cut the Silverbacks lead to 3-1.
Just 1:03 after the Dhaliwal marker, Jared Marino rushed down the left wing after taking a pass from Michael Ryan and his shot from the left face-off circle beat Dumba on the blocker side for the captain’s 19th goal of the season and quickly put the Warriors behind by just a goal.
The Warriors fought hard for chances in the late stages of the game, pulling the goaltender with 2:03 left in the game but a penalty with one minute to play in regulation forced a face-off in the Warriors zone. Salmon Arm ragged the puck in the offensive end for 30 seconds before the Warriors got out and had some zone time before a buzzer beating chance was set up in the slot for Marino but his shot was blocked from the slot and Salmon Arm would hang on for the 3-2 victory.
Cole Demers was very solid in the Warriors crease on Saturday night making 35 saves on 38 shots in his 6th loss of the season while Kyle Dumba was extremely good in the Silverbacks net as he turned aside 34 of the 36 shots he faced in the game for his 6th win of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 3-2 Silverbacks