A battle of the two youngest teams in the BCHL went Salmon Arm’s way Saturday night at Prospera Centre as the Silverbacks skated off with a 4-3 win over the Chilliwack Chiefs.
Matthew Verboon and Hudson Schandor had two points each for Salmon Arm, which improved to 12-7-1-0 while the Chiefs fell to 16-7-0-0.
The home team got off to a fast start in this one, opening the scoring just 49 seconds in.
Carter Wilkie did the spadework on a goal by Skyler Brind’Amour. Aggressively forechecking along the right-wing boards, Wilkie fired a weak shot that hit the side of the Salmon Arm net. The Calgary kid stayed on the puck, forcing a turnover that took a friendly bounce into the goal-mouth.
Brind’Amour was waiting to pop it past Silverbacks goalie Ethan Langenegger for his fifth of the year.
The visitors got that one back at 5:12.
A wrist shot from the point led to a goal-mouth scramble, with Chilliwack netminder Mathieu Caron trying to cover the puck and Salmon Arm’s Verboon and Schandor taking whacks at it. As the net started to come off its moorings, Schandor shoved the puck across the line.
The Silverbacks took the lead at 17:11 on a bit of a lucky one.
Defenceman Wyatt Marlow started the play with a slapper from the point. He missed the net to the left, but the carom off the end boards found the stick of Yewta Plamondon, who slipped a sharp-angle shot between Caron and his goal-post.
The Chiefs looked flat as a pancake to start the middle frame, and when Salmon Arm went to the power play for the first time at 8:13, things didn’t look good.
But at the tail-end of the penalty kill, Kevin Wall came through with a huge shorthanded goal.
The BCHL goal-scoring leader poked the puck away from point-man Andy Stevens and took off on a breakaway. With Stevens nipping at his heels all the way to the Salmon Arm net, Wall finished with a move to his backhand, lifting the puck over Langenbrunner’s shoulder for his 17th of the season.
The Silverbacks out-shot the Chiefs 17-4 in the middle frame and 29-13 through 40 minutes, and kept coming in period three.
Salmon Arm regained the lead with 11:47 to play on a goal by Verboon.
Trevor Adams started the play, jarring the puck loose from a Chilliwack player behind the net with a crunching check. Schandor snagged the loose puck and fed it into the slot where Verboon beat Caron with a lightning-quick wrister.
Nick Unruh added insurance at 10:22, taking a pass from Akito Hirose and roofing a top-shelf shot over Caron.
Salmon Arm needed that breathing room because Harrison Blaisdell got the Chiefs back within one with 6:19 to go, taking a pass from Cole Donhauser and ripping a rocket shot over Langenegger’s glove from the very high slot.
Chilliwack had a late power play and pulled Caron for an extra attacker with 1:43 to play, but the Chiefs ran out of time.
The three stars were Schandor (first), Caron (second) and Verboon (third).
The Energy Player of the Game was Carter Wilkie.
Chilliwack is back in action Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. hosting the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.