The Penticton Vees had their two-game win streak snapped Sunday afternoon in a 5-2 loss to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks at the Shaw Centre.
It was just over five weeks ago, back on Dec. 17, when the Vees were also beat 5-2 by the Silverbacks in the North Okanagan, and just like in that game the Vees didn’t have an answer for a Silverbacks rally.
Matt Gosiewski and Nicholas Jones scored to put the Vees up 2-0 after 20-minutes, but the Silverbacks scored five unanswered, including four in the third period, to pick up their third win in four games against Penticton this season.
Nolan Hildebrand suffered just his second career loss, as he stopped 34 of 39 shots. His only other loss this season came in Salmon Arm last month.
Elijiah Barriga, who’s had the Vees number in his two years in Salmon Arm, scored twice, and Justin Wilson, Ryan Hogg and Nathan Iannone also lit the lamp.
The game also feature a 40-minute delay in the first period, as the arena staff fixed a broken stanchion in the Vees’ zone.
Sunday’s matinee started well for the visitors, as Gosiewski scored on a rebound at the side of the goal just past the two-minute mark. The puck came back out front after skipping off the boards behind the net, and Gosiewski tucked it in at 2:12; his second goal in the last three games coming on the Vees’ second shot.
Right after Gosiewski scored, the game paused for a lengthy delay, as one of the stanchions on the glass behind the Vees’ net needed to be replaced. Once play resumed, the Vees showed no signs of rust from the prolonged stoppage, as they doubled their lead.
Jones followed Chris Klack’s shot to the net and from the edge of the crease, managed to poke the rebound underneath Nic Tallarico for his 19th at 11:35. Penticton took a 2-0 lead into the intermission.
Salmon Arm started to chip away at the deficit in the second and got on the scoresheet courtesy of Barriga. On a Silverbacks’ power-play, Riley Hayles point-shot hit someone in front of the Vees’ net, bouncing right over to Barriga for the easy tap-in.
The Silverbacks broke through early in the third period, as it was Barriga, again, the catalyst. Penticton turned the puck over at the centre-ice red-line and that created an odd-man rush the other way for Salmon Arm. Carson Bolduc put a great pass onto the tape of Barriga, who went upstairs over a down-and-out Hildebrand at 1:56.
Then the Silverbacks kept coming.
They grabbed their first lead of the afternoon right after a Vees’ power-play expired. Justin Wilson stepped out of the penalty-box, took a pass from Bolduc and broke in alone from the blue-line. Wilson showed great patience, outwaiting Hildebrand and tucked the puck around the goalie’s pad at 9:28. Wilson’s breakaway goal turned out to be the game-winner.
Things snowballed from there, as the ‘Backs scored three-minutes later on a power-play to make it 4-2. Ryan Hogg got the puck in the circle, spun back onto his backhand and put the puck inside the post at 12:29. They then sealed the win with an empty-net goal by Nathan Iannone with less than three-seconds left on the clock.
Following the game the ‘Backs hosted a public skate with the team, shown at the end of the slideshow above.
The loss drops the Vees’ record to 32-10-0-1 and they fail to make up ground on first place Wenatchee; their nine points back of the Wild. Sunday marked just the second time the Vees lost when leading after two periods, as they’re now 22-2-0-0. With his two goals Sunday, Barriga now has 10 goals and 14 points in 12 career games against the Vees.
Penticton is off until next Wednesday, when they host the Vernon Vipers at the SOEC, on another BCAA Wicked Wednesday. Tickets are just $5 for adults and seniors, and local students and children (18 and under), get in FREE courtesy of Peter Bros. Construction. Tickets are available at the Valley First box office at the SOEC.