Salmon Arm hammers Chiefs in upset win

The offensively-challenged Salmon Arm Silverbacks scored five times to beat the Chilliwack Chiefs 5-1 Saturday night at Prospera Centre.

A team Chilliwack absolutely dominated in 2011-12 earned a small measure of revenge Saturday night, as the Salmon Arm Silverbacks toppled the Chiefs 5-1 at Prospera Centre.

Chilliwack beat the Silverbacks all seven times they met last year as Interior conference foes.

In their first meeting of 2012-13, Salmon Arm stopper Adam Clark was the difference, stopping 33 shots to help his team to an upset win.

A letdown might have been expected after last night’s emotional tilt with the Surrey Eagles, and Chilliwack came out flat in this one.

The shot clock looked nice in period one, favouring the home side 15-8.

But everything else looked out of synch against a Salmon Arm team that forgot to roll over and die. The Silverbacks had a 2-0 lead 15:06 in on goals by Alex Gillies and Jordan Levesque.

Gillies opened the scoring with a power play goal at 3:51.

Carter Lukenda earned the assist, stepping around Chiefs D-man Kiefer McNaughton on a foray down the left wing. Lukenda fed a pass across the goal mouth, where Gillies one-timed it past Chilliwack keeper Josh Halpenny.

Levesque put the Chiefs two in the hole, darting into a goal-mouth scramble to sweep a backhander past Halpenny.

It was the big line and an unexpected sniper getting Chilliwack back in it at 18:58.

Austin Plevy started the play, forcing a turnover a foot or two inside the Salmon Arm blueline. Plevy fed Philip Zielonka, who found Ben Masella uncovered at the right point.

Masella’s shot squeaked through Silverbacks netminder Adam Clark, dribbling across the goal-line.

The Chiefs picked up their game, somewhat, in the second. Though they still weren’t at their best, they generated plenty of scoring chances.

Plevy had the best, stealing the puck off Blake Box and getting a breakaway from the red line in. Plevy went with the backhand-forehand deke, but Clark snapped the pads shut as Plevy tried the five-hole shot.

Clark made a glovely stop on Zielonka, who thought he had a shot labelled for the bottom right corner. And Clark had Josh Hansen’s number, thwarting the Chilliwack kid on a couple glorious chances.

Through 40 minutes, the Chiefs out-shot Salmon Arm 25-17, but the score remained 2-1.

The third period couldn’t have started worse for Chilliwack, with the Silverbacks scoring just 12 seconds in. Alaska native Ryan Schwalbe did the damage, netting his sixth of the year with assists to Levesque and Jordan Orr.

Levesque added the dagger with 10:16 remaining, snapping a shot over Halpenny’s blocker to put the Silverbacks up by three.

Gillies iced it with 3:42, putting a puck through Halpenny for his second of the game and 16th of the year.

Chilliwack generated nine third period shots. Aside from a Cooper Rush slapper off the base of the left post, none of them were all that dangerous.

The three stars were Levesque (first star), Clark (second) and Brayden Sherbinin (third).

The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Zielonka.

Announced attendance was 2,272.

Chilliwack’s next home game isn’t until Feb. 9 when they host the Prince George Spruce Kings.

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