SALMON ARM, B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors battled hard but couldn’t find a way to equalize in the 3rd period as they fell by a 5-4 score to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Friday night at the Shaw Centre.
The opening period saw plenty of special teams play and the Silverbacks were first to capitalize on that with a goal coming just 2:21 into the opening period after a Ryan Steele holding penalty. Tanner Campbell fed a nice pass from the right-wing face-off circle across to the left wing for Brandon Whistle as he beat Warriors netminder Nik Amundrud on the blocker side for a 1-0 Silverback advantage.
The Warriors did not take long to respond, however, as just 22 seconds later, RJ Murphy capped off some strong work down low by line mates Willie Reim and Michael Lombardi. Murphy got a loose puck at the top of the crease after it came off the stick of Lombardi down low as he tucked it through the legs of Silverbacks goaltender Kyle Dumba and tied the game at 1-1 on his 16th goal of the season at the 2:43 mark of the opening period.
Not too long after his first goal, Murphy was at it again at the 5:10 mark with his second goal of the period. Garrett Ewert had his point shot go off of Reim at the top of the right-wing face-off circle which directed to Murphy in the left circle as he beat Dumba on the blocker side for a 2-1 lead in favour of West Kelowna.
Salmon Arm tied the game at the 12:34 mark coming off the stick of Rhett Kingston to get the Silverbacks second goal. Kingston gathered the puck at the right half boards and curled up to the high slot before letting a shot go past the blocker shoulder of Amundrud to tie the score at 2-2.
Just 1:24 after the Kingston marker, Salmon Arm jumped ahead for the second time in the game as Hudson Schandor buried the puck in a scramble on the power play. Kingston walked the blocker side goal line and tried to bury the puck past Amundrud to have it spill out to the slot where Schandor found an opening in the fray and gave the Silverbacks a 3-2 advantage.
Parm Dhaliwal continued his strong stretch of goal scoring early in the 2nd period as just 1:01 into the middle stanza, the Warriors tied the score once more. Ryan Steele and Chase Dubois did a strong job of forcing the puck free down below the goal line and Dhaliwal found the back of the net on a rebound off of a Dubois shot for his 12th tally of the season and a 3-3 tie.
Again, it was the Silverbacks that had an answer under a minute and a half later at the 2:28 mark of the 2nd period as Schandor banked in a puck from below the goal line off of Amundrud and behind him, ending the Warrior goaltender’s night and giving the Silverbacks a 4-3 lead.
The Warriors responded with new goaltender Cole Demers in between the pipes and battled to tie the game at the 5:56 mark of the 2nd frame as Chase Stevenson scored in his first game back in the lineup in 18 contests. Stevenson jammed in a loose puck in the crease on a scramble for his 8th goal of the season and once again tied the score, this time at 4-4.
The scoring wasn’t as fast and furious as the next goal came halfway through the 3rd period and was the eventual game winning marker. Trevor Adams found a loose puck in the neutral zone and raced into the Warriors end of the ice on the right wing, letting a shot go from the top of the face-off circle and beating Demers on the blocker side for a 5-4 Silverbacks lead.
Despite some chances down the stretch, the Warriors couldn’t find the tying goal as the Silverbacks skated away with their 7th straight victory.
Nik Amundrud started in the game for the Warriors, making 12 saves on 16 shots before being relieved by Cole Demers, who stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced in the loss, his 8th of the season. Kyle Dumba turned aside 34 of the 38 shots he faced in the game for his 8th win of the season.