West Kelowna Warriors forward Tyson Jugnauth (left) avoids a check from Salmon Arm defenceman Hunter Sansbury during the Silverbacks’ 4-1 B.C. Hockey League pod play win Sunday, May 2, at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place. (Tami Quan Photography)

West Kelowna Warriors forward Tyson Jugnauth (left) avoids a check from Salmon Arm defenceman Hunter Sansbury during the Silverbacks’ 4-1 B.C. Hockey League pod play win Sunday, May 2, at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place. (Tami Quan Photography)

Salmon Arm Silverbacks win third straight, 4-1 over West Kelowna

Victory moves Salmon Arm to within one point of Vernon Vipers in BCHL pod play, each team has three games left

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks moved to within one point of the pod-leading Vernon Vipers in B.C. Hockey League action Sunday afternoon, May 3, with a 4-1 romp over the West Kelowna Warriors.

The Silverbacks, now 9-5-2-1 for 21 points, have won three in a row. The Warriors dropped to 6-8-1-1 with four games left in the pod season. Salmon Arm has three games remaining.

The Vipers are 10-5-1-1 for 22 points and have three games left.

“We kept it simple as best we could and tried to limit their opportunities off the rush and in transition and we were extremely disciplined to keep them off the power play, which is kind of becoming a hallmark of our game,” said Salmon Arm assistant coach Carter Cochrane. “It was just a really solid, mature win from our group where we didn’t let them get much and we capitalized on the opportunities that they gave us.”

Similar to Saturday’s 6-2 drubbing of the Vipers, the Backs had a strong first period Sunday, generating plenty of scoring opportunities and out-shooting the Warriors 17-9.

Nathan Morgan opened the scoring on a power play for Salmon Arm with under two minutes to play in the opening frame, after receiving a pass from Drew Bennett at the right face-off dot and quickly releasing a shot past the blocker side of Warriors goalie Johnny Derrick.

Under three minutes into the second period, Salmon Arm increased its lead when the line of Mathieu Bourgault, Danny Ciccarello and Philippe Jacques connected on a goal off the rush. Ciccarello entered down the right-wing side and fed Jacques in the middle who then passed off to his right to Bourgault, who one-timed it past Derrick right along the ice for his second goal of the season.

The Warriors would cut into the lead just under six minutes later thanks to Porter Dawson’s second goal of the season, but not long after the Sullivan Mack, Noah Serdachny and Simon Tassy line responded.

Silverbacks defenceman Tucker Hartmann started the play by activating in the offensive zone and trying to take a puck from the corner to the front of the net. While the puck went through the crease and out the other side, Mack was able to pick it up and quickly spotted Simon Tassy open in front of the net. The pass from Mack to Tassy happened before the Warriors could react, and it was 3-1 Salmon Arm.

The Backs were able to effectively shut down the Warriors in the final period. They killed off a key penalty with just under seven minutes to go and then Tassy scored his second of the game into the empty net with 1:35 remaining in the game. Tassy now leads the entire BCHL in goals with 15.

Owen Say finished with 32 saves on 33 shots and won all three starts this past week. He stopped 93 of 97 shots he saw in the three games for a .958 save percentage. He has been named the BCHL’s FortisBC Player of the Week.

Derrick ended up with 38 saves for West Kelowna.

The Silverbacks only have three games remaining in the BCHL pod season: Wednesday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m. against West Kelowna; Friday, May 7, at 7 p.m. against the Vernon Vipers; and Saturday, May 8 at 6 p.m. against the Warriors.

Vernon plays West Kelowna Monday, May 3, and Sunday, May 9 to wrap up the pod schedule.

READ MORE: Okanagan Indigenous athletes recognized for excellence

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