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West Kelowna Warriors hold on to edge Silverbacks

Warriors up three with five minutes to go, give up two late goals but end up with 5-4 BCHL win over Salmon Arm
West Kelowna Warriors forward Damon Jugnauth (left) speeds away from rival No. 22 Drew Bennett of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks during the Warriors’ 5-4 B.C. Hockey League pod play win Wednesday, May 5, at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place. (Tami Quan Photography)

Giving up five goals on Cinco de Mayo sunko the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Wednesday.

Scoring twice in the final five minutes wasn’t enough as the Silverbacks fell 5-4 to the West Kelowna Warriors Wednesday, May 5, in B.C. Hockey League pod play at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place.

The Backs drop to 9-6-3 on the season and remain three points back of the first place Vernon Vipers with two games remaining each. The Warriors improve to 7-9-2.

Vernon can win the pod Friday, May 7, with a victory over the Gorillas. Salmon Arm needs to win both games and hope Vernon loses to West Kelowna Sunday to take the pod.

“We definitely didn’t control the pace of the game as much as we’d like to and I don’t think we started nearly good enough,” said Salmon Arm assistant coach Carter Cochrane. “It’s one where it’s tough and it stings, but we’ve got two big ones coming up this weekend where we’ve got to take care of business and still have a shot at winning the pod here.”

The first half of the opening period was fairly even, although the Warriors had more dangerous looks and just couldn’t capitalize.

Nick Ardanaz, Riley Sharun, Carter Schmidt, Skyler Cameron and Carter Wilkie scored for the Warriors, who overcame a 1-0 first-period deficit with three consecutive markers for a 3-1 bulge in the middle frame.

After Salmon Arm got to within a goal, West Kelowna looked to have put the game away with two markers, Wilkie’s coming with 5:27 left in the contest, for a 5-2 lead.

Warriors captain Elan Bar Lev Wise was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty immediately following Wilkie’s goal and soon after Zach Brooks was called for the same infraction, giving Salmon Arm a five-on-three advantage for 1:21. Sixteen seconds after the two-man advantage began, Hunter Sansbury rocketed home a one-timer blast to make the score 5-3.

While Salmon Arm couldn’t score on the second power play, Warriors forward Riley Sharun was soon whistled for delay of game after purposely falling on and covering the puck in the defensive zone. This time, the Backs were able to capitalize on the power play again. A strong zone entry from Cameron Recchi led to a heads-up pass from Sullivan Mack to Simon Tassy, who sniped a shot to the top corner to make it a 5-4 game with 2:17 remaining in the game.

The Gorillas were unable to find the equalizer, as Johnny Derrick shut the door on Noah Serdachny in the dying seconds to secure the victory for West Kelowna.

Danny Ciccarello and Logan Shaw had the other goals for Salmon Arm, who got a 28-save performance in goal from Owen Say. Derrick finished with 34 saves for the Warriors, who play Salmon Arm Saturday and Vernon Sunday to close the pod season.

There are no playoffs in the BCHL this season due to COVID-19.

READ MORE: Kelowna chef to compete on the Food Network’s Fire Masters

READ MORE: Salmon Arm Fire Department take a walk on the wild side

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